Women, I tell you, are no longer to be trusted- Agamemnon.
Discuss this statement in reference Homers Odyssey books 1-12.
Women play a very important role in shaping the travels of Odysseus and his son Telemachus in Homers The Odyssey .Oddly enough, women in this book are not only given authority, respect, power are feared which in this culture, was virtually unheard of, but they are also given in depth, detailed characters. The female characters are used by Homer to pivot the story from one obstacle to another, to move the characters on their ways and also to lead, guide and use their influence to them into doing what they wish.
Women in the Odyssey are not to be trusted because of these things, they not only cause problems in the case of Helen through ignorance and her difficulty to be loyal, but they also pose as obstacles in the case of Circe, Scylla and Charybdis. Women in this book are deceptive, powerful and manipulative and use their power to do whatever they want.
A woman, Helen, is the sole reason why Odysseus left his hometown of Ithaca in the first place. When the noble prince of Troy, Paris, came to Sparta with the intention of seducing Helen and bringing her back to Troy, she followed. Her actions angered Menelaus, second king of Sparta and eventually stirred up the whole of Greece, including the Phaeacians who left their homeland and fought the ever-famous ten year battle on the plains of Troy. This one act by the ignorant and easily seduced Helen, ended up being the variable which created the story of the Illiad, which is the prequel to The Odyssey.
Helen is untrustworthy to Menelaus as she severely betrays him and his trust. She breaks her marriage vows and is not to be trusted. In the book the tension is shown through conversation, almost skipping around the topic when it arises in discussion. Helen is the cause of many problems for many men and women throughout Greece and because of her past actions cannot be trusted.
Another woman vital to the story of the Odyssey is Penelope, the loving wife of Odysseus. Without her presence, Odysseus may have never be inclined to ever wish to return home to Ithaca. Without his longing for his beautiful wife, Odysseus may have never wished to ever leave the beautiful island of Ogygia where he was treated like a God by the nymph Calypso and was offered immortality, despite the offer of these prospects still yearned for his home town and his wife.
No other female in the book is described as being quite as complex as Penelope. She is both the loving, effeminate mother like figure but at the same time is a seductress, teasing and playing the suitors by lying to them about her progress on her funeral shroud for Laertes, the father of Odysseus. She is described by the suitors as possessing god like cunning and wit and being able to get what she wants. Penelope is cunning and leads the suitors on with her trick for an unknown reason, whether it to be to satisfy her own boredom or appeal to her...