Odyssey vs. Rustling Rhapsody
Comparison of the Role of Women
‘A woman is very unpredictable. She is romantic, sensitive and caring; however, underneath she is convoluted, deceptive and dangerous.’;
-Erin Perrizn (1963 -)
One would automatically assume that the female character in a heroic story takes the preconceived role of an object at the disposal of the male protagonist. The female character in a heroic story holds the stereotype that she is obtuse, and will repeatedly flock to the most handsome man. ‘Rustler’s Rhapsody’; is a sardonic parody of the western film stereotypes: the women play very small roles other than Rex O’Herolan’s personal cheerleaders. However, in the epic poem, The Odyssey, Homer gave souls and personalities to his female characters. Women are not in the story just to please Odysseus; they are important and independent characters that help him on his heroic journey. The women in The Odyssey are essential in Homer’s poem: they not only act as a voice of reason and care, but are the deceptive and deceiving characters that add an intangible mystery.
In ‘Rustler’s Rhapsody’;, Miss Tracy and the C.B.’s daughter are the only female characters. They both portray the stereotype of incipit debutantes who are instantly attracted to the handsome hero. The C.B.’s daughter is an inept character who gets dragged across the desert by her horse ‘Wildfire’;, only to be saved by Rex O’ Herolan. In that particular scene, she attempts to seduce Rex by flirting and engaging in small talk about a blanket. Miss Tracy, the town prostitute, is even more direct than the C.B.’s daughter. She comes in her underwear trying to persuade Rex to sleep with her. Although this may seem like some characters in The Odyssey, Miss Tracy has no other role in the plot other than to sleep with Rex. The two women did not shed a tear when Rex said good-bye: they had almost no feeling at all. The two weren’t jealous of one another; it seems strange that two girls could share one hero. Miss Tracy and the C.B.’s daughter both have identical shallow character. Personality is a characteristic missing from to their female stereotype; they are merely used as the Rex’s trophies after defeating Bob. Other than that, the two women had no role in the story.
On the other hand, Homer uses the female character to provide reason and care for the protagonist, Odysseus. Despite the number of unimportant female characters, Penelope, Circe, Calypso, and Pallas Athene all have unique personalities that are essential to the development of Odyesseus and Telemachus. Although three of the four women had sexual experiences with Odysseus, they are not Odysseus’s trophies. The women are not just instantly attracted to the most handsome man in the world. Odysseus had earned their love with his courteousness, courage, and character. Some women even found Odyesseus repulsive: Nausicaa did not like Odysseus initially, which proved that not all women gaze at the protagonist confessing their love and undying devotion. The stereotypical female character is more than often quite stupid; however, the four female characters are all intelligent and independent. Calypso, Circe and Athene are all goddesses who are better than any mortal man. All men, women, and children sacrifice to the Gods and pray to them. Unlike ‘Rustler’s Rhapsody’; where man is looked upon as superior to women: these female characters in The Odyssey are greater than any mortal man. Circe tricks men, and changes them into barnyard animals for her own pleasure. Pallas Athene, the goddess of war and wisdom, fights against men and does not need their ‘protection’;. She is the most intelligent, and does not fall into the stereotype of a debutante. Underlying Queen Penelope’s beauty, there is a sagacious character that tricks almost every suitor that is leeching off her family’s wealth. She is loyal to her husband, and deceives all the profligate suitors into believing that she has given up hope. She tells them that once she is finished her tapestry, she will choose a suitor to be her husband; however, she burns her work every night always retracing her steps. Her acuteness arises once again when she tests Odysseus. Pallas Athene is the most important secondary character The Odyssey. She is the mentor of both Odysseus and his son Telemachus. She is the one who guides him through his heroic journey and brings Odysseus safely to Ithaca.
Consequently, these female characters are very important to the story. Their roles have great impact on the development of Odysseus’s character. His mentor is Pallas Athene, who guides him on his journey. He is married to a woman that is shrewd, yet still remains loyal to him. If these women were given personalities, and stereotypical characters shown in ‘Rustler’s Rhapsody’;, The Odyssey would not even be studied in high schools in modern day. The women of The Odyssey are the most important characters in the poem. They not only act as the mentors and intellectuals, but as the sensitive lovers that has been stereotyped throughout.