ABSTRACT. This article explores female alterity in the Iliad and the Odyssey in an attempt to show how women’s marginalization is already present in these early works, which have had such a lasting influence on Western literature and thought. First, I analyze how men treat aristocratic women, who are systematically excluded from war and speech despite their idealization as heroines. Then, I focus on women who fall into the category of slaves or concubines to illustrate women’s absolute objectification and to demonstrate how the violence of this exclusion structures women’s experiences. Through an interdisciplinary framework, I study Greek antiquity through combining contemporary alterity studies with literary analysis. I argue that Western society has been structured in a patriarchal and androcentric way since its beginning. Thus, my objective is to suggest, through the lens of the philosophy of alterity, how we might reach a more ethical consideration of the Other in the study of classic literature.

Keywords: Homer; epic poetry; female alterity; patriarchy

How to cite: Álvarez Rodríguez, Bárbara (2017), “Alterity in Homer: A Reconceptualization of Female Marginalization,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 7(1): 83–122.

Received 3 December 2016 • Received in revised form 21 February 2017
Accepted 21 February 2017 • Available online 10 March 2017


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