WOMEN IN LITERATURE
In Greek mythology women are perceived as influential, but only within the limits of their beauty and seductive powers. One of the most important females in western literature is Helen of Troy, who was carved in our imagination as possibly the most beautiful woman ever created. But Homer depicts her in the Iliad, his ancient epic poem, as a sad figure who regrets the choices she is presented with in life. Equally, artists were charmed by her mysterious yet captivating personality, and frequently immortalised her romantic beauty, which ignited a war between Troy and Sparta. Indeed, for thousands of years women were predominantly featured in art and literature. They were symbolised as trophies for great heroes, and were hence the reason for wars and tragedies. And over the years, this idyllic perception of women in society became the crystallisation of a general theme in art, literature and films. For centuries, Cleopatra was portrayed by authors as a power-hungry, sexually explicit female who controlled the men in her domain to achieve success. Time and time again, her skill as an intelligent leader, who wrote books on medicine and cosmetics, was overlooked by the creative industry. Effectively, it is presumed that the sexual image of women sells a story much quicker than an intelligent one. Even today, with the plethora of academic females who achieved greatness in their own rights, society is still haunted by the erotic magnetism of women which undermines their intellectual aptness. Thus, and although Greek mythology is heralded as a humanist social science with extensive influence on Western civilisation, the notion of a woman embodied in a diverse collection of narratives, is diminished to nothing but a role that satisfies the sexual manifestation of the reader.