Female characters in the Iliad are often given voices in contexts of formal lamentation, where their grief at the loss of husbands or sons is presented not merely in emotional terms but also as articulate commentary on the events of the poem. (This is brought out with particular clarity in Books 6 and 24.) Women are also given a role as creators: their domestic handiwork as weavers, which sets them in contrast with the men, active in war and public life, is sometimes used as an analogue for the creative work of the poet, as the medium through which human beings are given kléos. The Iliad thus gives unexpected authority to what women say and create, and later writers could find models here for making female speakers express thoughts that their society might "officially" think them incapable of formulating.


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pp. 145-151
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