Women play different roles in early literature. In The Illiad, Gilgamesh, and Oedipus Rex, their roles determine the different amounts of power they possess and how they use the powers to influence the events that occur. In The Illiad, the women throughout the story are treated as prizes. Homer expresses this when he writes: I refused that glittering price for the young girl Chry seis. Indeed, I prefer her by far, the girl herself, I want her mine in my own house! I rank her higher that Clytemnestra, my wedded wife- she’s nothing less in build or breeding, in mind or works of hand. But I am willing to give her back, even so, if that is best or all (1.
There is no strong bond of love towards Agamemnon’s wife. He is very easily willing to trade in his wife for another woman. Second, in Gilgamesh, women are viewed as a powerful temptation who is able to easily control any man. The trapper’s father speaks: Go to Uruk, find Gilgamesh, extol the strength of this wild man.
Ask him to give you a harlot, a wanton from the temple of love; return with her, and let her woman’s power this man (3. 14).
This shows how the women were used as a powerful distraction to seduce a man and take his mind off of what he should be doing. Finally, In Oedipus Rex, the role of women shows the power of royalty and persuasion. Jocasta, Oedipus’ wife and mother, speaks: And as for this marriage with your mother have no fear.
... the land. In other ways the men do have control over the women. The women cannot be disobedient to her in-laws ... the husband's father's death, or if the wife has no relatives to turn to or if the husband ... was poor and when he married his wife he became rich. The women do not have the right to divorce ... makes the man's family look bad therefore the man's family has to make sure that the wife is not ...
Many a man before, you in your dreams, has shared his mother’s bed. Take such things for shadows, nothing at all- Live, Oedipus, as if there is no tomorrow! (1073-1079).
Here shows the power of persuasion that Jocasta has over Oedipus. The women in these stories show power and use this to their advantage.
They greatly influence the events that happen in these stories. These women range from royalty to harlots, however they all have the same influences over the men that they come in contact with.