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Punishment and the Damned

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  1. Introduction
  2. Greece and Rome: Division of the world into gendered spheres
  3. The idea of the warrior woman and Ovid
  4. Control over the life of a woman in Greece and Rome
  5. The need for a woman to prevent her own rape
  6. The women escaping sexual dominance
  7. Conclusion
  8. Work cited

It can be questioned whether the Greek and Roman people ever believed in their own gods. However, even such questioning cannot undermine the didactic value of their religion. Greek and Roman mythology thrived on storytelling; bards assumed the role of primitive priests, teaching moral reasoning to those who listened. The poets, the playwrights, and the satirists provided the ruling class with a never-ending flow of excuses for the decisions of their courts and forums. Greek and Roman leaders fought hard to sustain a patriarchal system, and it is no accident that women in these myths were either completely docile or utterly brash. They were examples from the government to the Greek and Roman women of proper behavior, of legal behavior, and of the consequences of defiance. Women listened, for these examples, shrouded in religious connotations, transformed disobedience into sin.

[...] Hermes reminds him of his destiny, and unlike the desperate queen, he abides by duty over wantonness of the spirit. you think you could slip away from this land of mine and say nothing? Does our love have no claim on you? Or the prospect of Dido dying a cruel death?? Dido spits in Aeneas' face, all too aware of his intention to resume his journey (Virgil 4.305 -310). Her childish guilt trips quickly turn to pleas, and she begs him to stay in honor of the oath that only she honors. [...]


[...] A similar situation of woman seducing man is evident in the meeting between Odysseus and Calypso. He washes up at the foot of her caves, and her caves are all he sees for seven long years. Calypso, the ?bewitching nymph, the lustrous goddess, [who holds] him back, deep in her arching caverns, craving him for a husband? rapes him every night, ignoring his pleas, promising him the world and immortality (Homer 1.16 -18). Like Circe, she is isolated from men, and she exhibits no respect when one arrives by process of unholy providence. [...]

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