Lefkowitz' Women in Greek Myth
Chapter 3: The Heroic Women of Greek Epic

As you read, this chapter, identify each of the following women. Briefly describe their roles in the epics and what their roles suggest about the status of Homeric women.
Meleager's wife

1. Why does Lefkowitz say that "any discussion of the status of women of ancient Greece must begin with Homer"?

2. In what ways does Lefkowitz say that the legal rights of Greek women were severely limited?

3. Why does Lefkowitz think that "Homer's women ... manage to exert a significant moral force"?

4. What does Lefkowitz think that the Iliad and the Odyssey would have been like without women? Why?

5. What is the moral dilemma Helen faces in Iliad 3? How does she respond to it? How does her response compare to the responses of other mortals in Greek literature when they are confronted with moral dilemma?

6. What is Andromache's moral dilemma? How would you have responded in a similar situation?

7. What does Lefkowitz suggest that Homer's description of Andromache's dilemma illustrates about Homeric women in general?

8. Give several examples of the ways that war affects the lives of Homeric women. How do these women respond to these situations?

9. What does Lefkowitz find significant in the laments of Hecuba and Andromache in Iliad 24?

10. Why does Lefkowitz think that Homer ended the Iliad not with the fall of Troy but with the funeral of Hector?

11. How does the portrait of Helen in Odyssey 4 explain to Lefkowitz why Menelaus accepted her back as his wife after the war?

12. Why does Homer contrast Penelope with Clytemnestra in the Odyssey?

13. Comment on this statement by Lefkowitz on pg. 36: "Women by their very nature cannot be heroes, because heroes get their title by killing, destroying , or accomplishing something extraordinary, like founding a city."