Modern Hebrew poetry, like modern western poetry, often uses ancient mythological motifs as ground materials. A great many modern Hebrew poems are based on motifs from the Odyssey, and a considerable number of these have been written by women. The first part of this paper points out the revisionist reading of myth as the main tactic of women's writing. It focuses on poems concerning minor female characters in the Odyssey. These poems uncover the 'hidden' side of those characters, who are traditionally assigned a castrating role, and offer their revised images from a feminine point of view. The next part centers on a group of poems in which the main character is Penelope. This theme did not emerge in Hebrew women's poetry until the 1970s. Penelope is pictured not as a passive woman but rather as a person with inner strength, sometimes even a crossbreed of male and female. The emergence of this revised image reflects both the gradual enhancement of women's status in Israeli society after the 1973 war and the establishment of the feminist movement in Israel. The concluding part of the article comments on the perception of the female characters of the Odyssey in poems by men, which appear to reflect a stereotypical attitude. The treatment of mythological themes proves indicative of how poets relate to stereotypes. It also mirrors socio-cultural changes which are encoded through these themes and cannot yet be manifested otherwise.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Odyssey Through Female Eyes|
|Journal||מחקרי ירושלים בספרות עברית|
|State||Published - 1997|