Title Of Paper 2nd Class Citizens

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Title Of Paper : 2nd Class Citizens In Greek Society Essay, Research Paper Grade Received on Report : 94 Throughout human history the roles of women and men have been defined in part by physiology and in part by the attitudes conveyed by those who hold power and influence. In ancient history, societies were centered around women and the worshipping of goddesses. These roles changed quickly as hunting and warfare became increasingly more important and women’s less powerful physique placed them in a weaker position. Just prior to the Hellenistic Age, three men wrote of their times, and of their perceptions, attitudes and ideas regarding men, women, and civilization. In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles we get a glimpse inside the life and tragic misfortunes of a royal family.

Thucydides wrote a history of the Peloponnesian war, and in his recounting of Pericles’ Funeral Oration the duties and benefits of Athenians were revealed. Plato’s The Republic, was a philosophical dialogue covering the times as they were and how he felt they possibly could be better. In each of these works t! he roles of women are revealed not only through their position within the community but also through the relation of the benefits and rights men enjoyed which women were denied. During the time of Sophocles, the Greek population led a simplistic life enjoying a dynamic life of festivals, light work loads and the attendance of compulsory dramas paid for by the state for human enhancement. The Greek population consisted of free men, free women and slaves. Men were at the

top of the hierarchy enjoying all the benefits provided by their civilization; involvement in politics, ownership of property, influence, and the freedom to chose their actions. Women on the other hand were primarily delegated to keeping up and nurturing the appearances of society; care of the home and children, upkeep of possessions, and more importantly upkeep of their husbands reputations and honor. Throughout Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex the values that make a good citizen (that being a free male) are introduced. These include being humble before the gods, being responsible for your actions while having respect for humans and for the instructions of the gods. The expectations and roles of women are also shown through the actions of Jocasta the queen in comparison with the actions

of her husband Oedipus. Jocasta is not entitled to as much public power as her husband, her role is in the background, helping direct him privately and always caring to keep up his reputation. She says during one of Oedipus’s public outbursts, “Into the palace now. And Creon, you go home. Why make such a furor over nothing?”1, while at another time she submissively says, “…But do let’s go inside. I’d never displease you, least of all in this.”2 This weak and dependent perception of women is evidenced even more when hearing Oedipus talk of his children to Creon, “… my daughters, my poor helpless girls, clustering at our table, never without me hovering over them … take care of them, I beg you.”3 He continues saying to his children; “How I weep for you

…just thinking of all your days to come, the bitterness, the life that rough mankind will thrust upon you. Where are the public gatherings you can join, the banquets of the clans? …And when you reach perfection, ripe for marriage, who will he be, my dear ones? … Who will marry you then? Not a man on earth. Your doom is clear: you’ll wither away to nothing, single, without a child.”4 When Jocasta and Oedipus finally hear that their fate has indeed come to pass, the actions of each are very different, but also very indicative of their perspective roles. Oedipus takes a powerful stance by inflicting a life-long punishment on himself. Jocasta takes the meeker route, by hanging herself she saves herself from the dishonor of having to live with the knowledge of her fateful