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Penelope, Helen, and the Ancient Greek Spectrum of Femininity: Observations of Womanhood in the Homeric Epics

posted on Jul 16, 2021
By Jenn Beardsley - Although most Ancient Greek literature focused on male characters, a literary analysis of Homeric poetry reveals an inquisition of femininity, motherhood, and what it meant to be a woman in Ancient Greece. Throughout the epic The Iliad and its sequel The Odyssey, the Homeric poets created a spectrum of ideal versus unideal femininity, with notorious Helen on one end and faithful Penelope on the other. Dissection of each epic unveils an exploration into this spectrum of femininity through the use of motifs, or the repetition of a theme throughout a narrative. Specifically, the poets utilized the...

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