Gender Roles in Ancient Greece

Document Type:Term Paper

Subject Area:Literature

Document 1

Moreover, ancient society was so consumed with gender roles to the extent that they related concepts such as virtue to gender so that the definition of the term varied depending to the gender of the person in question. This paper seeks to analyze gender roles through the prism of ancient Greek societies. It argues that the assignment of gender roles might have been punitive and led to social stratification in terms of gender supremacy. This alignment was unnecessary at the time. This hypothesis is supported by the analysis of Ancient Greek Literature. and R. S Bluck). This sparks the two to engage in a conversation, in which they attempt to find the definition of the term virtue. It is imperative to note that the definitions are made with specific reference to the variances of the definition between men and women.

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The conversation creates the impression that what is virtuous for men is not the same as what is virtuous for women. and R. S Bluck). Meno then defines virtue as a person’s ability to govern men (Plato. and R. S Bluck). On the other hand, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is a comedy play about war. In the play, the women, who are mostly wives of the men fighting, barricade themselves, in what they consider a sex strike in a bid to force the men into ending the war (Aristophanes. and Dudley Fitts). This overview already brings into perspective the view that the society held of women and men. Women were necessary for sexual pleasure while men were responsible for keeping the society safe from intrusion.

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He demonstrates that a woman can take on roles of a man such as controlling political power and arguably does it better. This is because the vision that the women outdid the vision that the men had for the society. In Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, the women are treated in a similar manner as any other Greek society used to treat women. In the book, Thucydides gives an account of the war in which he was a part. In his book, Thucydides informs that he rose up to the rank of general. He further asserts that these women were fighting with a courage that was past their gender (Smith, Charles Forster, and Thucydides). This statement speaks volumes about the ancient Greek societal attitude towards women.

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It implies that women were not considered to be brave enough to engage in warfare, which may be the primary reason why men went to war as the women stayed back at home to tend to the house. Since the women were forced to engage in activities that were not designated for their sex, it was implied that doing so meant that they had to abandon the fact that they were women. This was such a rigid attitude; a woman is defined by what she does, and not her biological composition. The role of women in most sectors is still passive; sports, politics and business, yet when they take on an active role, it is not given enough recognition. Women are still assigned roles in the present society; taking care of the home while the men are termed the breadwinners.

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Although women have worked hard to bypass this reality, they still have a long way to go. However, the fact that the women are working tirelessly to achieve an active role in the society is projected to yield results in the near generation. It is evident, however, that the women have made significant milestones in achieving equal recognition as men.

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