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What Role Do Women Truly Play In Greco Roman Myth?

1630 words - 7 pages

Throughout the span of ancient Greco-Roman culture, women have played a vital role in the importance of myth. In the Works and Days and Metamorphoses, women are either punished by Hera’s jealousy, raped by Zeus or another god, unable to speak their minds, or all of the above. Women throughout myths have been given the short end of the stick. For example, God gave women a harsher punishment then men after they were casted away from the Garden of Eden. They have menstrual cycles, painful childbirth, and much more. While in Greco-Roman mythology they are pawns in the scheme of these stories. They are mothers who watch their child be taken from them, crafted as objects of male desires, revengeful of their husband’s infidelities, and etc. In these myths, women are portrayed as however males see fit and not as their true selves. They will be playing the roles of damsels in distress, (the cause of) evil in the world, unsympathetic and jealous wife(s), and etc.

As Glinda the Good Witch says in The Wizard of Oz, “It’s always best to start at the beginning.” But that would take to long so it is best to skip a few chapters ahead. After Prometheus took fire to the people, Zeus became livid and revengeful. He instructed the god of crafts, Hephaestus to create the first human woman. Pandora was the perfect form of revenge for humankind. Hephaestus molded her out of clay, Athena taught her needlework and weaving, Aphrodite shed grace and desire onto Pandora, and Hermes gifted her with speech and “Fashioned lies and wheedling words and a thievish character” (Hesiod Works and Days 78). For Zeus’ final revenge, he sent her down to Earth to marry Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus. He gifted Pandora with a box that housed a ginormous lock. Zeus then gave Epimetheus the key to the locked box, hoping his curiosity would get the best of him and be tempted to find out what was hidden inside. In a turn of events, the one whose curiosity of what was held inside the box was not who Zeus had imagined. One day while Epimetheus was asleep, Pandora’s deviant mind stole the key and unlocked the box. When she opened the lid, disease and all that was evil escaped into the world. Low and behold hope escaped from the box as well. Leaving the world that now had envy, hate, disease, evil, and hope.

Throughout this story Pandora doesn’t get a chance to speak a word of what is on her mind or express how she feels about being a tool for Zeus’ revenge. It is ironic that Hermes gives her the gift of speech yet she doesn’t use it. This is evidence that woman in ancient times were unable to show or speak of what was on their minds due to the fact that men didn’t find what women had to say as important. Pandora was the weapon to Zeus’ revenge against Prometheus and humanity. Her role in myth was for the sole purpose of bringing evil to the world and she was nothing more than a pawn in the scheme of things. Pandora’s creation was to harm men and bring them pain and suffering. This is a...

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