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Misogyny in Theogony Essay

In Theogony, Hesiod expresses misogynistic notions and shows the triviality of the creation of women. Hesiod portrays the insignificant role for women. He uses marriage as a light-hearted yet serious judgment and stereotypes against all women. Hesiod explains the most misogynistic attitudes in the story of Pandora. He works misogyny into female monsters and goddesses that use their tricks on men. Hesiod displays the dominance of the male sex in his poem, Theogony.

Hesiod touches on his feelings toward the idea of marriage. Referring to Theogony, he states that the man who avoids marriage arrives at an old age with no one to look after him and distant relatives share out his living. The man who finds a good wife spends a life, “that is balanced between evil and good, / A constant struggle.”(393-394) While the man who gets an awful wife lives with, “He lives with pain in the heart all down the line, / Pain in spirit and mind, incurable evil.”(395-396) Hesiod’s idea of marriage is more of a teaching process with the man as dominant and the woman is to be controlled.

The very creation of women was a punishment to mankind. Out of Zeus’ anger toward Prometheus, came Pandora, the first woman. Hesiod explains the thoughts of immortal gods and mortal men as they first glanced at the beautiful creation as “sheer deception, irresistible to men. / From her is the race of female women, / The deadly race and population of women, / A great infestation among mortal men.” (373-376) The only reason women live in this world is because of the sins of one male figure. Women have no other purpose in Hesiod’s words than to be the bad that upsets the good in the world.

In Theogony, Hesiod mentions the monster Echidna stern of heart, “who was half nymph with fair cheeks and curling lashes, and half a monstrous serpent, terrible and huge, glinting and ravening, down in the hidden depths of the numinous earth.” This monster that Hesiod describes seems to parallel with his image of women: beautiful but deceiving. Theogony also describes Aphrodite as a modest and beautiful goddess. Although she is the goddess of intimacy, tenderness, and pleasure, she is also the goddess of deceptions. Aphrodite claims she is the most powerful because she can influence all other gods.

Hesiod wrote this poem with a lot of misogynistic thoughts in mind. The idea of marriage is irrelevant except for the matter of reproduction of strong and courageous men in Theogony. The creation of women was originally a punishment to Prometheus but Hesiod shows that this is a punishment to all mankind. Women are also often compared to monsters and evil creatures. Hesiod states throughout his poem that women are often insignificant and trivial to the lives of men.


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