• Marriage and abduction myths of the ancient Greeks: a means of reinforcing the patriarchy

      Alwang, Camryn (2021-05)
      Greek mythology is filled with stories of abduction and marriage, which played an important role in reinforcing patriarchal societal structures. My Honors thesis will analyze these myths through a feminist lens and examine how they functioned in Greek literature and visual culture. I will be observing how these narratives seem to have acted as guides in a girl’s ritual transition to adulthood and advocated the virtues of an ideal wife by reminding women of their expected place in society. Specifically, I will look at representations of women in Homeric epics and Greek plays as well as focus my visual sources on painted vases, taking into account the context in which these objects would be found. Of particular interest are the narratives of three mythological women. First, Persephone, the daughter of the goddess Demeter who was forcefully abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. Second, Helen, who was abducted by Athenian Hero Theseus as a girl and more famously known as the woman who sparked the Trojan War. Third, Thetis, a Nereid prophesied to give birth to a child greater than their father and thus forced to marry a mortal. In addition, I will examine myths about women like the Amazons who refused to conform to expectations set upon them and form cautionary tales for Greek women.