Such was the power of the goddess of love. Though this is true, Helen was still portrayed as a cause of the Trojan War since she abandoned her husband, family, and kingdom in favor of a younger, more virile lover. Her beauty was a curse. Paris desired to have Helen as a lover because she was the most beautiful woman in all the world; Menelaus, his brother Agamemnon, and their individual armies followed Helen to the shores of Troy in order to bring that beauty back to where she belonged.
Even Helen recognized her depiction as the downfall of the city and a punishment to men. Brother-in-law to a slut. If Helen has already been designated as a slut, a scourge to Troy, and a punishment for all the men fighting for her, how is she still the glory of women? This effectively placed all other women below her in terms of male expectation of obedience. If Helen was promiscuous, so were all other women; if Helen caused destruction and devastation, so could all other Greek women; if Helen had the ability to cause a war and bring turmoil to the entire Greek world, so did all other women.
In order to keep their world from repeating the disastrous fate of the Trojans, men needed to censor and separate women from the public realm; only then could there be any possibility of a relatively peaceful life.
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According to K. The story of Helen of Troy explained to men, quite clearly, the consequences when this segregation was not enforced.
With this history in mind, Classical Greek noblemen strictly imposed the misogynistic policy. Preventing this from taking place was paramount to any Greek male. The solution? Cultural portrayal of women in ancient Greek mythology is both a representation of and an influence on the treatment or place of Greek women within society. Men were in charge; women, even those of a comparable status, were never seen as equal to their male counterparts.
In part, this reality was due to the lessons imparted through instructional literature. There is no doubt that ancient Greek instructional texts were meant to keep elite men in charge. In fact, in the texts examined above, not once do the women discussed have their own voices. All the texts were written about men and only had male characters in them. The degree of male control over the female population, especially amongst the elites, was astounding.
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Ancient Greek elite women were a necessary evil, filled with undesirable characteristics necessitating their complete and utter domination. Instructional literature drew upon the negative characteristics of women in mythology like Pandora, Aphrodite, and Helen of Troy. Women in mythology were commonly portrayed as devious, manipulative, hazardous to men, and deceitful.
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This is the beginning of "a blame game. Again, she is the subject of the verb. Day after day Joseph refuses her advancement when she spoke to him Again she is the subject of the verb as she speaks to her husband. In she is also the subject of the verb "raised" when she raises her voice The African woman is the subject of the many verbs speaks, cry out, raises her voice , most of which are associated with speaking and conveying ideas regardless of whether it is true or not.
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Her actions of grabbing and crying out reverse the roles of the women in Genesis because most of them never had the privilege of choosing her sexual partners and those who carry out actions for sex do so for procreative purposes. This African woman was in a position of power with her words.
What she says was more powerful than Joseph's or her husband's action. Nothing is withheld from him except "her" ; Joseph did not agree with her proposition to lie with "her," to be with "her" ; his garment remains with "her" In some cases the African woman places herself as an object when she relates the story to her household, and says, he came to lie with "me" ; and he left his garment with "me" ; he came to play with "me" ; and she recounts what the slave did to "her" Wilfred Warning listed some specific terminological patterns in Genesis Believing that the story in Genesis is historically authentic, William Ward discusses the 14 Egyptian [African] titles in them.
My concern here is to trace how the story of Joseph and Potiphar has been told, retold and elaborated among the Jews, Christians and Muslims with great fascination. Since it is impossible to deal with all the Jewish, Christian and Islamic literature concerning Joseph and Potiphar, this will be selective, choosing, the Legends of the Jews, the Christian representation in art, and the Quran. Even though the African wife of Potiphar is nameless in the Old Testament, Jewish literature gave her a name, Zuleika. She was filled with an "invisible passion" for Joseph who was a slave in the house of Potiphar or Potiphera, an idolatrous priest in Egypt.
Her longing to have a child through Joseph was heightened by the astrologic forecast that she was destined to have a descendant through Joseph according to what has been read by the stars. Unfortunately, she misunderstood that prediction which was to be fulfilled in Joseph marrying her daughter, Asenath, later on with many children. According to the Legends of the Jews, since Zuleika did not have a son, she pretended she wanted to adopt Joseph as her son and she was demonstrating her affection by going to Joseph at night trying to persuade him.
When Joseph eventually knew her trick, he prayed to God to divert her attention from him.
Zuleika did all she could to persuade Joseph to make love to her. She talked well of Joseph before Potiphar, her husband. She requested from Joseph to teach her the word of his God and that she and her husband would change to his God if Joseph did her wish. She promised to kill her husband, so that she could marry Joseph. She sent to Joseph a dish prepared with magic in order to captivate him, but he refused to eat her food. Her unholy passion so overwhelmed her that she got sick and when her husband asked her, she replied, "I have a pain at my heart, and the groaning in my spirit oppresses me.
Zuleika lavished great gifts on Joseph. But Joseph refused to lie with her. When Joseph would not yield, she threatened him with false accusations before his master. She continued her threat:. Zuleika took Joseph to the chamber and covered the idol in the room so that Joseph will not see it.
But Joseph saw it and told her that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro. She told Joseph exactly in unmistakable language what she wanted and when Joseph still refused, she asked him, "Why dost thou refuse to fulfill my wish? Am I not a married woman? Zuleika got sick of her unfulfilled passion and all the women of Egypt visited her. They asked her, "Why art thou so languished and wasted, thou that lacketh nothing?
Is not thy husband a prince great and esteemed in the sight of the King? Zuleika commanded her maid-servant to prepare food for the women and placed oranges on the table for them to peel.
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She ordered Joseph to appear at the banquet to wait upon her guests. Immediately when Joseph came in, all the women could not take their eyes off from him because of his handsomeness. Those who were peeling oranges cut their fingers with knives and still could not take their eyes off from his beauty even when the oranges were filled with blood. Then Zuleika looked at them and asked them "What have you done? Behold I set oranges before you to eat, and you have cut our hands. The women said to Zuleika, "This slave in thy house did enchant us, and we could not turn our eyes away from him on account of his beauty.
This happened to you that looked upon him but a moment, and you could not refrain yourselves! How then can I control myself in whose house he abideth continually, who see him go in and out day after day? How then, should I not waste away, or keep from languishing on account of him. The women answered and said, "It is true, who can look upon this beauty in the house and refrain her feelings?
But he is thy slave. Why dost thou not disclose to him that which is in thy heart rather than suffer thy life to perish through this thing?
I promised him everything that is fair, yet have I met with no return from him, and therefore, I am sick as you may see. During the month of Nile festival, when all people had gone to celebrate, she refused to go by claiming that she was sick. The purpose was to look for an opportunity to be with Joseph and to persuade or force him to obey her wishes. When Joseph came from the field he found himself with Zuleika in the house. She was almost successful in persuading Joseph and he almost yielded until all of a sudden the image of his mother Rachel, his aunt Leah, and his father Jacob appeared to him.
They said to him, "Will thou forfeit this honor through sinful conduct? For now, he that keepeth company with harlots wasteth his substance. But he returned again to Zuleika and at this time the Lord appeared to him with these words:. But Joseph was able to escape leaving his garment with her. When the people came from the festival, Zuleika reported Joseph to the people and her husband and demanded punishment.
Potiphar ordered that Joseph was to be flogged mercilessly. Joseph cried to God and God opened the mouth of Zuleika's child of eleven months, who spoke to the men beating Joseph,. What is your quarrel with this man? Why do you inflict such evil upon him? Lies my mother doth speak and deceit is what her mouth uttereth and that her mother was the one who tried to persuade Joseph to force him into her wish. Potiphar therefore stopped beating Joseph.
The matter was taken to court where Joseph protested his innocence. The judges who were priests, instead of pronouncing the death penalty, put Joseph into prison. When Potiphar was putting Joseph into prison, he said, "I know that thou art not guilty of so vile a crime, but I must put thee in durance lest a taint cling to my children. While Joseph was in prison, Zuleika visited him many times and spoke of her love for Joseph. When Joseph refused to yield, she threatened Joseph: "I will rush matters so far that all men will hate thee; and I will sell thee into a strange land.
Her name was Zuleika. However, some Arabian writers name her Jami. Potiphar was named Aziz.
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