Myth and the Role of Women: Dignity and Fidelity

In the last weeks I have explored the roles of women in classical literature.  Granted this is a topic that is beyond what this little study could possibly cover; however, I am convinced that we can learn a lot about the how women are portrayed in society.  Though they are often looked down upon there are moments and situations where a woman’s virtue and character are needed and demanded by the leaders and rulers.  This is not the presumably negative understanding of women.  If you look closely, these moments in literature show the complete weakness and failure of the men and exonerate the virtue of women.

I have also demonstrated the importance of women and their relationship to children and sisters as a means of knowing the character and virtue of women.  Once again this topic reveals the good and the ugly about women but with the hope that upon revealing the ugly side of ones character we can learn how to improve.  This is what Orual most learn in order for her to find redemption.

I have also discussed how women, mainly Orual, perceive men and how women love not only others but themselves. Orual’s self loathing made it impossible for her to love, while Psyche’s selfless love made her irresistible.

Fortunately, the classical culture does not despise woman, nor disparage their womanhood before men. Penelope and Nausikaa are examples of women who kept honor, dignity, and fidelity throughout all of their dealings with man and with women.  Psyche and Ansit, despite Orual’s failings, still manage to preserve their love and households.  This is a testimony to the strength and fortitude of these women that, despite the pain, the suffering, they preserve their households and they perform their duty. The place of the woman in the household is not one of submission to the man or one that is subservient.  It is about companionship, respect and love.  Homer’s champion women are no doubt Nausikaa and Penelope.  They exhibit all the virtue of leadership among their peers, honor and prudent speech among men, and show enduring faithfulness to their household.   So too, Lewis’s Psyche and Ansit reveal such virtue of a woman knowing how to love woman to woman, woman to man.  And Orual for all her blundering and internal struggle with her duty as daughter, sister, lover, and Queen, learns mainly through the examples of Psyche and Ansit who she is and reconciles herself with what it means to be a woman in her world.


About LizzyBeth

There is a Story inside of me that I must give a voice. I write so that imagination can take me to Faerie and I can catch a glimpse of the Otherworld and hopefully so will you.

Posted on September 9, 2011, in Authors, Books, C. S. Lewis, Homer, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Literary Criticism, Myth, Rachel Burkholder and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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