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Call, Enos, and Thomas 1
Women in Mythology
Stacey Call
Clarissa Enos
Crystal Thomas
Prepared for
February 10, 2012
Dr. Karen C. Holt
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Call, Enos, and Thomas 2
Women have had a large part in the life history of mythology in many ways.
Traditionally, women were the ones in charge of teaching the next generations the culture,
religion and knowledge of the previous ancestors. The women were the essential teachers and
caretakers of the future rulers of their cultures. Women were also the subject of many of the
myths and lessons they passed on. Historically, women in mythology and ancient literature have
generally been placed in one of three categories: fearsome, meek, or seductive.
This paper hopes to explore the three categories as they are represented in the
mythologies of the Celts, Greeks and Norse and how these groups have influenced the
classification of women in our modern time. Representing the Celts, this paper will discuss the
attributes of Aine, Boudicca and Brigid. For the Greeks, Helen of Troy, Hestia and the Amazons
will be analyzed. The Norse will provide Brynhilde, Frigg and Grimhild for the same
Fearsome Roles defines fearsome as “causing fear, awe, or respect.” Masculine is defined
as “pertaining to or characteristic of man or men; having qualities traditionally ascribed to men,
as strength and boldness.” These phrases characterize the characters from Celtic, Greek, and
Norse mythologies: Boudicca, the Amazons, and Brynhilde. The Amazon Queens mentioned all
lead battles, as did Brynhilde, and Boudicca. All of them had masculine qualities, such as
strength and boldness. They also all caused fear, awe, or respect in some form or other. In this
way, all three: Celtic, Norse, and Greek mythologies or cultures, were the same.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 3
Anyone who has ever studied the history of England has heard of the British warrior
queen, Boudicca. She is one of the few historical figures who can also be included in the
mythology of the Celts. She may be a familiar figure in the history of England, but at the same
time, not much is known about her, despite our constant research of her for over five centuries
(Hingley and Unwin XV).
What we do know is fairly concrete; the rest is left to speculation. We do have records of
her biggest fight in the form of narrative stories. Boudicca means ‘Victory’ and she was the wife
of the king, or leader, of her tribe (the Iceni).
Boudicca was a member of the aristocracy of an Iron Age tribe in a society where women
could lead. (Hingley and Unwin XVI). When Rome invaded Britain and took over, they had her
husband sign a will saying he could lead until he died, but he could only pass the leadership of
his tribe and lands to a male relative because women were seen as property and not eligible to
rule in Rome. When he died, he tried to give his lands to his two daughters but, because he
signed the will, they were not able to take the lands (Hingley and Unwin 38-39). Boudicca’s
daughters were raped by the Romans and Boudicca became very angry. She chose to rebel
against such an unjust government and started the rebellion in Britain (Hingley and Unwin 160).
Seventeen years after Britain was invaded by Rome, she led an army of men and women
as their warrior queen against the Roman government after her husband died. After causing the
destruction of several towns and the deaths of thousands, the Roman army defeated her and her
army. She died soon after of either ill health or suicide (Hingley and Unwin XV-XVI).
The Amazons
Call, Enos, and Thomas 4
The Amazons were a race of women, fictional or literal, who were often the antagonist of
the Greek’s mythology. The article "Amazons" explains the Amazons as a fearsome race of
women who played many roles in Greek folklore. It is said that they came from the area around
the Caucasus Mountains and from there invaded many of the different surrounding countries,
including Asia Minor, Greece, Arabia, Egypt and Libya. Male children In Amazon society were
either exiled or put to death while their female children were brought up in the arts of "war,
riding, hunting, and cultivating the land; but each girl had her right breast cut off" (par. 1). These
women were extreme in a male-dominant society. They were not women to stay home and tend
the house, and their rigorous life style often had them fighting in battles or hunting. Hellanicus, a
fifth century BC Greek historian, described them as, “golden-shielded, silver-sworded, manloving, male-child-killing Amazons” (Cross and Miles 8). Homer in the Iliad called the
Amazons, “’antianerirai’…those who go to war like men” (Leadbetter par. 1). They were a
strictly matriarchal society where “control of the social and political organization—a masculine
function among the Greeks and other peoples—was in the hands of women” (Blok 1). This was a
concept alien to the civilized nation of Greece and other surrounding countries at the time.
Penthesilea, an Amazon queen, is well known for her fighting in the Trojan War. After
killing another Amazon, Penthesilea sought to restore her honor in the Trojan War, because war
was the only way an Amazon could gain glory again. (“Penthesilea” par. 3). She and thirteen
dedicated warriors entered the Trojan War in the final year, boosting the Trojan’s ranks, see
figure 1. Fierce on the battlefield, they soon became the bane of the Greeks. After fighting many
battles, Achilles sought Penthesilea out because of her success. Achilles eventually killed
Penthesilea. Impressed by her skill, he took off her helmet and saw he had killed a woman, a
beautiful one at that. Achilles immediately fell in love with her and sorrowed for her loss.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 5
“Penthesilea was a revered warrior in a time when men were dominant. She excelled in a man’s
game (war), while at the same time she retained a feminine virtue (beauty)” (“Penthesilea” par.
Figure 1. Relief of the Amazons fighting the Greeks in the Trojan War: Achilles holds the body of
Penthesilea. Raia, Ann R., and Judith Lynn Sebesta. "Publius Vergilius Maro, Aeneis 7.803-817."
The World of State. Oct. 2007. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.
Penthesilea was an excellent example of an Amazon; she was fierce in battle, concerned
at having glory and dedicated in her duties. The Amazon tribe has many examples and principles
of dedicated, extreme women. Fighting in all of the surrounding countries was left to the men,
yet the Amazons trained and taught themselves how to fight. They were also well set in their
ways, despite being mothers, abandoning their male children and favoring their female children.
There are various accounts of the Amazons mutilating themselves, whether for practicality sake
or religion is unclear. The Amazons in all aspects of their lives were fearsome.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 6
Traditional Norse mythology is filled with women that resemble their male counterparts
in strength and in fierceness. Norse women could possess the same blood thirst and desire for
vengeance as any male hero. Many women are told to have fought alongside their men in key
battles in Norse history as well as in their mythology.
These warrior women were repeatedly recognized as Valkyries within Norse Mythology.
According to Andy Orchard, a member of the Centre of Medieval Studies in Toronto, Valkyries
were feminine figures who were connected to Odin and whose job it was to select warriors slain
in battle for the great hall, Valhalla, where they will await to fight in Ragnarok, the final battle
between good and evil at the end of the world. Thirteen women were attributed to being
Valkyries within Norse mythology (Orchard 376). Snorri Sturlson, a 12th century Icelandic
writer, adds:
There are still other women [other than the original thirteen], whose task is to
wait in Vahall[a], serve drink and take care of the tableware and drinking
vessels…these are called Valkyries. Odin sends them to every battle; they allot
death to men and decide on victory. (qtd. in Orchard 376)
In the Poetic Edda, a poetic retelling of Norse myths by Snorri Sturlson, Brynhilde (also written
as Brynhildr, Brynhil or Hildr) is attributed to being a Valkyrie.
Brynhilde’s famous folktale begins with her disobeying Odin. The reason for her
disobedience is unknown, but Odin punishes her by putting her in a deep sleep, doomed to sleep
forever in a fortress surrounded by fire. Only those who have no fear can enter into the fortress
through the sacred flames. Before being cursed, Brynhilde swore to marry the man brave enough
to endure the flames surrounding her fortress and awaken her.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 7
Sigurd (also called Sigard or Siegfried), a Norse warrior and dragon-slayer, goes riding
and comes across the flame encircled, braved the fire with the help of his horse, and cut open
Brynhilde’s armor. After discovering that the armored figure was a woman, he fell in love with
“her beauty and intelligence” and awoke her. In the fortress surrounded by fire, they pledged
themselves to each other in mutual faith (Page 75). Sigurd, however, was fated to marry
Gudrún, the daughter of witch Grimhild. Sigurd called off the engagement to Gudrún and gave
Brynhilde a golden ring as a symbol of his faith and devotion.
When he returns home once again to prepare for his marriage to Brynhilde, the dragonslayer is tricked into drinking a magic potion which erases the memory of Brynhilde and his vow
of love they had shared. Giuki offered his daughter’s hand to Sigurd once again and, blissfully
oblivious of his love for the Valkyrie Brynhilde, Sigurd accepts Gudrún as his wife. The two
have a grand wedding.
After the wedding, Gunnar, Gudrúno’s brother, wants to court Brynhilde, but she refuses
to marry anyone but Sigurd. Sigurd offers to help his brother-in-law by lending his warhorse,
Grani, to Gunnar in order to pass through the flames. However Grani refuses to obey anyone but
his master. Grimhild aids Gunnar and Sigurd by casting a spell to exchange appearances and
Gunnar, appearing as Sigurd, rides through the flames on Grani and asks for Brynhilde’s hand.
She accepts, thinking he is Sigurd, and welcomes him into her bed. While the new couple sleep,
Sigurd lays his sword between them and exchanges the great gold ring he gave her for another.
At the wedding feast for Brynhilde and Gunnar (who still appears as Sigurd to
Brynhilde), Sigurd (in the guise of Gunnar) regains his memories of his oath to Brynhilde but he,
realizing he was too late, remained quiet. Soon after her wedding, Brynhilde begins a quarrel
with Gudrún over whose husband is greater and Gudrún accidentally reveals the story of how
Call, Enos, and Thomas 8
Sigurd was deceived and how Brynhilde had married Gunnar instead. Enraged, Brynhilde began
plotting her vengeance on Sigurd and Gudrún, the two people who had “shamed her” (Page 76),
and on Gunnar, the man who had deceived her into marriage.
Brynhilde talked to her husband, cautioning him about the danger of having Sigurd
Back shall I go where I used to be,
Living together with my father’s kin.
There will I sit and sleep my life away
Unless you make sure of Sigurd’s death,
Unless you become a prince greater than all others. (qtd. in Page 76)
Gunnar convinced his youngest brother, Guttorm, to murder Sigurd. Guttorm does the deed, but
is cleaved in two by Sigurd before the dragon-slayer dies. Upon hearing Gudrún’s cries of
misery, “Brynhilde laughed aloud” (Page 77). As Sigurd is placed on the burial pyre, Brynhilde
stabs herself then throws herself on the burial pyre, “usurping in death the wifely role she had
been denied when she lived” ( Orchard 77) in the eternal ritual of suttee. According to Orchard,
suttee is the tradition of a fallen hero’s wife burning with her husband in the funeral pyre
(Orchard 337).
This tale and many others portray Brynhilde as a fearsome rival, a vengeful lover and a
powerful warrior. Her power and battle prowess filled the ancient literature of the Norse with
many of her legends rivaling the men she meets in power and prowess.
Meek Roles
Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines meek as “not proud or self-willed; piously
humble; patient and uneventful under injury or reproach; (esp. of a woman) demure, quiet.” In
Call, Enos, and Thomas 9
ancient Celtic, Greek, and Norse mythology, there is a goddess who portrays these characteristics
that emphasize the more traditional roles of women. With the Norse, Frigg is the goddess of
marriage and fertility and ultimately reinforces her husband’s superiority by going with his
wishes. The Greek goddess Hestia is the goddess of the hearth, watching over the home and
keeping its inhabitants and guests happy. While most goddesses are exposed as being violent,
vengeful or heartless in their ways, these three goddesses generally try to help heroes and never
overly draw attention to themselves.
Brigid is the goddess of fertility. Her job was to bless the crops and harvests as well as
births of babies. Oftentimes people assume Saint Brigid and the goddess Brigid are the same
person, because Saint Brigid embodies everything Brigid is. Her name means “exalted one” and
she is the daughter of the Dagda and the Tuatha De Danann. Her husband is Bres of the
Fomorians and she has a son named Ruadan. She is also what is known as a “triple” goddess,
because her sisters have the same name as her (Jones).
Some of her other duties include smithing and healing. She is worshipped on Imbolc, a
day of festivals and one of the four main days of the year (Jones). She has three aspects, one as
Maiden, one as Mother, and one as Crone. Her Maiden aspect inspires and deals with poetry, her
Mother aspect works as a mid-wife and a healer, and her Crone aspect deals with hearth fires,
smithies and crafts. Some of her symbols include a cow, brazier, chalice, mirror, cross, and a few
other small things (Alexander, Davitt-Cornyn, and Gerrard 55).
On Imbolc (February 2nd) where she is worshipped by believers, fires are lit in her favor
and cared for all day long. Special woods are put on the fire in order to keep it going, including a
Call, Enos, and Thomas 10
special rowan rod that is put at the center of the fire. If the fire is pleasing to Brigid, she would
leave a symbol in order to show her pleasure. A goose or swan’s footprint near the fire was a
common sign. This family is then said to be blessed with children, lambs and crops in the
upcoming year (Alexander, Davitt-Cornyn, and Gerrard 55).
To be meek can also mean to be humble, gentle, docile, modest and mild. Hestia, the
goddess of the hearth and home, the First and the Last, and as described by Lindemans the
“gentlest of all the Olympians” (par. 2). She protects the home, leaving it happy and wellfunctioning. She inspires hospitality, warning people against taking advantage of their guests.
Instead of putting herself first and selfishly choosing her a husband among her powerful rival
suitors, she chose to be a virgin goddess.
Hestia was a great beauty and her hand in marriage was sought by both Poseidon and
Apollo. Recognizing that competing formidable gods as suitors could cause a war, she swore to
remain an eternal virgin. Zeus, for her wisdom, gave Hestia the keys to Olympus, the God’s
home. She thus became the protector of the home, the perfect hostess. Her symbol was the
hearth, the center of domestic life. She “presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation
of the family meal” (Atsma par. 1). “Hestia, Greek Goddess of Hearth and Home” mentions how
she did not need excitement and adventure to fulfill her life, like Athena and Artemis, the other
“virgin goddesses”, Hestia was satisfied at staying home, attending the fire and welcoming the
others home (par. 14).
To finish the “…virtues [that] define[s] the goddess Hestia: mild, gentle, forgiving,
peaceful, serene, dignified, calm, secure, stable, welcoming, and, above all else, well-centered”
Call, Enos, and Thomas 11
("Hestia” par. 6). Hestia was not particularly concerned with power. She was not intense or
extreme in anyway and she did not curse or doom any heroes which was common among the
Greek gods and goddesses. Hestia always strove to keep the home happy, and the fire well-lit
and warm and inviting.
Over the years, the Norse Pantheon has been divided into two groups: the Æsir and the
Vanir. Æsir is a Norse term for the major gods and goddesses of the Norse Pantheon,
including Odin, Frigg, Tyr and Thor, but the Vanir were a “race of gods responsible for wealth,
fertility, and commerce and subordinate to the warlike Æsir” (Lindemans “Vanir”).
The goddess Frigg (also called Frigga, Fiia, Frija or Frea) was the goddess queen of the
Norse Pantheon and of the Æsir because she was the wife of Odin, the Alfödr [Norse for “father
of all”] and ruler of the Æsirian gods and goddesses. Together they had a son in the tragic god,
Baldr, the god of light, purity, beauty and reconciliation. Frigg’s dominion laid in the promotion
of marriage and of fertility, like her counterparts the Greek goddess Hera and the Celtic goddess
Aine. Andy Orchard explains that, as the goddess queen, Frigg was allowed her own hall in
Asgard and even had her own set of servants in Fulla (sometimes called Ful) and Gnà
(sometimes called Na or Nanna) (parentheses added; Lindemans “Frigg”). She is often portrayed
spinning clouds, like in Hélène Adeline Guerber’s portrait Frigga Spinning Clouds, see figure 2.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 12
Figure 2. “Frigga Spinning the Clouds.” Guerber, H. A. (Hélène Adeline). Myths of the Norsemen
from the Eddas and Sagas. London: Harrap. Print.
Frigg is commonly represented as showing interest in the lives of men alongside her
husband, Odin, and is told to possess the power to foretell the fate of men and her fellow deities,
but rarely actually intervenes in there their fates. Among the many accounts and versions of
Frigg, she is mainly depicted as a “wife and mother” (Lindow 128). In this light, she takes on the
role all women take at some time or another.
The most famous tale of Frigg appears in Gylfaginning, one of the first written
collectives describing the Norse Pantheon written by Snorri Sturlson. The tale begins with Odin
preparing to leave Asgard, the realm of the Æsir, to contest with Vaftrúdnir, the wisest giant.
Frigg warns Odin not to go against the giant, but ultimately wishes him success when he persists.
Odin outwits the giant in the end (Page39) and returns safely to Asgard.
In Gylfaginning, Sturlson tells how Frigg, in another incident, tries to protect Baldr. She
gets an oath from everything in the world that they would not harm her son. Unfortunately she
Call, Enos, and Thomas 13
mistakenly forgets mistletoe, thinking “it was too small to ask for an oath” (Lindemans “Balder”)
which leads to Baldr’s death. Loki, the lord of fire and magic, deceived Baldr’s twin brother
Hod, the blind god of winter and darkness, into throwing a mistletoe dart at Baldr. In her grief
over the death of Baldr, Frigg sends Hermód, a servant of Odin, to Hel (the Norse form of Hell,
but also the name of the goddess of death (Orchard182)) to retrieve Baldr. The goddess Hel was
moved to release Baldr, but only if everything in the world wept for the dead god. Everything
and everyone began to weep for Baldr except for the giantess Thokk (Page 49-50).
Frigg mourned the death of her son and accompanied the other gods as they dressed
Baldr for his burial pyre. Andy Orchard explains: “In Snorri’s account of the funeral of Baldr,
Nanna [the wife of Baldr] collapses with grief and dies as Baldr is brought out to the pyre, and
she joins him there, an example of the Norse practice of suttee that is far from unparalleled”
(Orchard 260-1).
Like a dutiful and traditional wife, Frigg first warned her husband of impending danger,
but ultimately surrendered to his superiority. She also tried everything within her power to
protect and rescue her son but ultimately helped bring about his death. Frigg is one of the few
women in Norse mythology that actually brings about the traditional role of a wife and mother as
we see it today.
Seductive Roles
In the seductive classification, there are many ways in which a woman may display her
seductiveness. Merriam-Webster defines seductive as “having alluring or tempting qualities.”
These qualities may be displayed in the traditional sense where a woman uses her sex appeal as a
weapon or lure. Seductive qualities can also be shown in a mental fashion by luring someone
into a direction or situation that they normally would not go.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 14
The mythology of the Celts has had a turbulent history. There is not much left of the
original myths for it was taboo to write them down and the stories were passed down by the
druids by word of mouth. These stories changed over the years, until what was left was finally
written down into Celtic literature. MacCulloch writes in his introduction to Celtic Mythology:
“A few sentences of Classical writers or images of divinities or scenes depicted on monuments,
point to what was once a rich mythology. These monuments, as well as inscriptions with names
of deities, are numerous there as well as in parts of Roman Britain, and belong to the RomanoCeltic period” (Gray, and Máchal 7). Unfortunately, in the sands of time, the rich mythology of
the Celts has been mostly lost, but what little we have, points to the idea of a mythology full of
mythic figures, magic, Gods, and Goddesses.
MacCulloch states in his introduction to Celtic Mythology, “It would be difficult, in the
existing condition of the old mythology, to say this is of Celtic, that of non-Celtic origin, for that
mythology is now but fragmentary” (7). While writing about Bouddica is fairly straight forward,
because she actually existed and is a part of history as well, there are only fragments of the
mythology surrounding the characters Aine and Brigid.
Aine was the Irish Goddess of the Sun, but was also seen as a love goddess in other
myths that are still around today (see figure 3). The list of her lovers is a very long list, full of
other Gods and mortals alike. There are several good stories, which can be found in bits and
pieces in The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore by Patricia Monaghan.
One myth tells of one of her mortal lovers. He stole her cloak while she was bathing in a
lake, in order to capture her. They married, and she bore him a son they named Geroid Iarla, or
Call, Enos, and Thomas 15
Gerald the Waterbird. She warned her husband not to be surprised by anything their son did, or
else she would be freed. He managed to not be surprised for years, until Gerald was an adult and
was able to shrink so much that he was invisible. When her husband showed surprised over this,
she was set free and their son left to wander the forests (Monaghan 11).
Figure 3. Midsummer Eve from Hughes, Edward Robert. Midsummer Eve. Cir 1908.
Another of her stories tells of the Sea God, Manannan Mac Lir, who was in love with her.
Her brother, Aillen, was in love with Manannan’s wife, so the two gods traded. Aillen got
Manannan’s wife and Manannan got Aine (Monaghan 11).
In all of Greek mythology there is only one woman who started a war that lasted ten
years; only one woman whose actions have caused many heroes’ deaths and a sacking of a city,
and it was all because of her beauty. When beautiful Helen came of courting age, an oath was
Call, Enos, and Thomas 16
made between her suitors, which were many. To avoid being carried off by one, they all agreed
to defend her honor. If she was ever taken, these kings and princes would bring their armies
against the man who kidnapped Helen. Such was her beauty and there lies the basis of the Trojan
War. King Menelaus was chosen to be Helen’s husband.
Paris, prince of Troy, was sought out by the three goddesses: Hera, Athena, and
Aphrodite. He was to choose the fairest of them all. Hera offered him power; Athena would give
him wealth, and Aphrodite would give him the most beautiful women in the world. Paris chose
Aphrodite, and she told him about Helen of Sparta, whom he traveled to make his bride. “In
Sparta, Menelaus, husband of Helen, treated Paris as a royal guest. However, when Menelaus left
Sparta to go to a funeral, Paris abducted Helen (who perhaps went willingly) and also carried off
much of Menelaus’ wealth” (“History” par. 5).
Menelaus was furious when he came home and found out that his wife had run off with
another man and his treasury. Menelaus evoked the oath made by the suitors and the Greek fleet
set off for Troy. Ten years of battle and carnage went by; deaths included Achilles, Hector,
Priam, Paris and Penthesilea the Amazon queen. After ten years of war, Menelaus finally met his
wife Helen again. “Menelaus, who had been determined to kill his faithless wife, was soon taken
by Helen’s beauty and seductiveness that he allowed her to live” (“History” par. 30).
In most Norse mythology, women are categorized into the seductive field differently than
with other common mythologies. The physical appearance of women in written Norse myths is
usually described generally, not in detail. Norse women are often described as “beautiful,” but
their myths are more deed or event based. The seductive qualities of most Norse women are
Call, Enos, and Thomas 17
more character based and can generally be described as deceptive. The famous witch Grimhild,
who was mentioned in the tale of Brynhilde, is a perfect example of the Norse’s popular
definition of seductive. Grimhild is first mentioned in the Poetic Edda by Snorri Sturlson and her
tale and death is greatly entwined with Brynhilde’s.
After Grimhild hears that Sigurd is calling off his marriage to her daughter, Gudrún,
Grimhild takes matters into her hands. The witch manages to seduce Sigurd into drinking an
enchanted potion that wipes his memories of any affections he has towards Brynhilde. The witch
happily sees her daughter married to the dragon-slayer and aids in sending him off pirating.
As soon as Sigurd returns with his pirating loot, Gunnar comes to his mother, Grimhild,
for aid in gaining the affections of Brynhilde. Gunnar wants to woo Brynhilde, but she refuses.
Grimhild, wanting nothing more than for Brynhilde to marry Gunnar and forever bar her from
interfering with Gudrún’s marriage to Sigurd, casts a spell upon Sigurd and Gunnar to allow
them to trade identities (Orchard 144).
After Brynhilde discovers the treachery of her in-laws, Grimhild is “instrumental in
persuading Gutthorm to kill Sigurd” (Orchard 145). Gutthorm is slain while killing Sigurd and
Gudrún is left to grieve for both her brother and husband. In order to erase Gudrún’s grief,
Grimhild administers a potion similar to the one she seduced Sigurd into partaking (Orchard
Grimhild’s fate is not known. After her part in the story of Brynhilde and Gudrún, she
seems to fall out of existence. However, her deceptively seductive ways are immortalized in
Norse mythologies forever. She may not have used her sex appeal to lure men into her plans, but
she was cunning and seduced them mentally.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 18
Modern Women
As we see in mythology and sometimes history there are many examples of women who
fit into these categories; the Amazons, Frigg and Aine. Moreover, if we define the characteristics
that make these women fearsome, meek or seductive and apply them to the modern world we
find many of the same archetypes still in media and society. Women, who are described as
fearsome, are ruthless and nothing stands in their way. This woman does not spare a person’s
feelings or make exceptions for anything or anyone. The iconic businesswoman who fights her
way to the top of the business ladder is a frequent portrayal of today’s modern fearsome woman.
Meek or traditional women are usually downplayed, not discussed, or viewed as archaic. When
they are mentioned they are almost always associated with a home setting, complete with an
apron, dinner table set for supper and the perfect home. Women today who fit in the seductive
category use her sex appeal or deceit to accomplish her goals.
Looking at these types of women the characteristics are still around, but the portrayal is
different. In their time the seductive women were looked down upon and upheld as a bad
example. Fearsome women were monstrosities and ostracized and meek women were held up as
the perfect example. Today however these characteristics have somewhat been reversed.
Seductive women are more common in modern media, while the meek woman has taken the
position of being ostracized and down played.
All of these women discussed previously from ancient mythology have the traits that
place them into one of the three categories. The fearsome women were strong and ferocious in
battle, and their talents caused them to be respected, at least to a degree. The goddesses Brigid,
Hestia, and Frigg represent the values of their respective cultures which today would be
Call, Enos, and Thomas 19
characterized as meek, gentle and unassuming—the traditional role of a women. And the women
who caused mischief and destruction through their actions are seductive, destroying men through
their wiles.
Call, Enos, and Thomas 20
Works Cited
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Christian Saint?". Sacred Cosmos. Mar 2003: 53-59. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.
“Amazons.” Myth Index, Greek Mythology. n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.
Atsma, Aaron J. "Hestia: Greek Goddess of the Hearth & Home." Theoi Greek Mythology,
Exploring Mythology & the Greek Gods in Classical Literature & Art. Theoi Project. n.d.
Web. 31 Jan. 2012.
Blok, Josine. "The Amazons: The Construction of an Image." Introduction. The Early Amazons:
Modern and Ancient Perspectives on a Persistent Myth. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995. 2. Print.
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