by Kirk Ormand
University of Texas Press; June 1999
To claim citizenship, in the aftermath of the famous Periclean law, an Athenian had to prove both his parents were astoi. While for the father, being astos meant he was an Athenian citizen, it didn't for the mother. Women were never citizens, but only the transmitters of the rights of citizenship to their sons. Such contradictions in the roles and rights of women is the focus of Kirk Ormand's Exchange and the Maiden: Marriage in Sophoclean Tragedy.
Before presenting the cases of individual Sophoclean women, Deianeira, Antigone, Jocasta, and Tecmessa, Ormand looks at Greek marriages and the marital conflict presented in the sources. Ormand uses the term "homosocial" to explain the competitive world in which men lived, where women were little more than bargaining chips and fields to be cultivated. In this homosocial world, women were so insignificant that a woman's part in adultery could be ignored, since the act of treachery was an almost insignificant part of the ongoing competition between men. Not even marriage was strictly heterosexual; instead, it was a contract cementing the relationship between two men. Since, as objects in the exchange, women could be returned, their loyalty was always in doubt.
Next Page: The Women of Tragedy
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