The Odyssey is the product of a society in which men played the dominant role. In ancient Greece, just as in the whole of the ancient world, and in America and Western Europe until the last century, women occupied a subservient position. Society was organized and directed by men, and all of the most important enterprises were arranged and implemented by men. Women were valued, but they participated in the affairs of the world only when they had the tacit or open approval and permission of the men who directed their lives.
The literature of this sort of masculine society, of which the Odyssey is an example, aptly illustrates these social conventions. The focus of the Odessy centers on traditional interests of men; warfare, hunting, the problems of the warrior and ruler, and so forth. That which would concern women, such as domestic affairs, is not involved in this literature, or is dealt with only casually. Keeping in mind this important attribute of epic poe...