2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

“Calumnia”: An Analysis of Female Trickster Figures in Ancient Greek Literature
Joshua M. Jones
Dr. Clifton Kreps, Faculty Mentor

In mythology, the typical trickster figure is cunning, smart, ambitious, ruthless, greedy, and lastly, a man. Despite this stereotype, ancient Greek literature is filled with a myriad of stories about the female trickster figure. These women are just as clever, just as brave, and just as strong as any male counterpart. What they lack, for the most part, are the sinister desires. This paper focuses on the often overlooked stories of female trickster figures in Greek literature. The research for this paper includes in depth analysis of women such as Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey, Clytemnestra from Aeschylus’ Oresteia, and Rhea from The Homeric Hymns; among several others. In looking at these stories, I develop three succinct patterns or models of behavior which help explain the actions of the female trickster. These patterns include acquisition of power, the maternal instinct, and revenge and can be applied to each and every story.

Keywords: mythology, trickster, Greek mythology, female characters

Topic(s):Classics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 21-2
Location: VH 1304
Time: 10:00

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