In The Odyssey, what is the double standard suffered by Calypso that is reflective of Greek society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There might be a couple of double standards featured here.  One would be the dynamic between Odysseus and Calypso.  The obvious distinction between men and women is highly evident.  Odysseus is able to be quite fluid in the nature of relationships, as he can sail between islands and from place to place.  His level of emotional commitment is not present at all. It is not required nor is it expected.  It is at this point where the double standard is evident, for Calypso is expected to hold up a higher emotional expectation.  She offers immortality to him, a form of emotional commitment, and must assume passivity when he is able to escape from it by grace of Zeus.  There is little in way of reciprocity in this domain.  The larger issue is that women and men do not have to adhere to the same emotional commitment, with the more binding realities applied to women while men can sojourn and escape with relative ease.  This is a double standard because it creates opposing standards with regard to how men and women act in the same situations.  I think that this might reflect how the structure and composition of Greek society was one where men enjoyed different sets of benefits that women did.

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