Aristotle, in “On a Good Wife,” Describing The Role of Women Within Greek Society
Aristotle wrote his ideas of what he thought a good wife should look like, how they should act, and their roles as wives. According to Aristotle on a Good Wife, he described the role of women in the Greek society as mistress of her home, ensuring that she cares for everything. This paper will reflect on the definition of women’s role in Greek society according to Aristotle on a Good wife. Aristotle assigns the wives in the Greek society a subservient role, stating that she is in charge of the home and is limited by the rules laid down by the man.
A subservient role means that the woman is willing to do what the man considers as their aims, wishes, or wants. According to Aristotle, women were never allowed to be in charge of their own lives. The wife was not entitled to have their career or life but rather was needed to support their husbands. Aristotle claimed that a perfect woman always corresponds to their husband and is always available in times of difficulties, hardship, and endeavors (Bell, 2012). Thus when a man is going through trouble, the wife should always be concern about their husband and always ready to help in times of need. With regards to Aristotle, a woman who was well ordered needed to consider her husband’s demands and wishes as if they were laws that were appointed by her own divine will. They were also required to help men in the heavy work that demanded assistance, such as farming and harvesting.
The Greek women lived under specific gender roles where each individual in the society was judged by their gender-specific conduct standards (Karbowski, 2012). Women also played a significant role as a homemaker. Women were responsible for managing and running their home for the husband and children. These included duties such as getting food items and other items that were necessary for the family, caring for the children, housekeeping as well as maintaining their homes and mending clothes.
Females were occupied with carrying out the household duties and nurturing their children. Working and living in the home and various home responsibilities were enacted on women. A good wife was expected to be self-controlled, which means that they would keep things to themselves and fail to participate in gossip. A good wife was also expected to have reasonable control of money. For instance, they were expected to control capital that was spent on various occasions and celebrations approved by the husband.
Women had no control over family and marriage since they were given little voice in making significant decisions. Aristotle mirrored a submissive female image where women were restricted from participating in events where men were involved. The wife was expected to serve the husband more than a slave (Karbowski, 2012). They were expected to pay attention to the happiness of the husband as well as possess high self-control. In this case, self-control referred to avoiding socially destructive conduct, being loyal to their husband, caring for the family and household, and observing the social rules. For instance, they were not expected to participate in (homework help on) social behavior or gossip.
In general, the role of wives in Greek society was linked to housing making and subservient role. The woman was in charge of the home but under the rules laid by the husband. A good wife was expected to care for their home and family but nothing more. A wife in Greek society would attend to her husband’s needs by ensuring emotional and physical well-being through bad and good times. Therefore, according to Aristotle, a good and ideal wife would attend to the husband and family’s needs and possessed high self-control.
Bell, L. A. (2012). Visions of Women: Being a Fascinating Anthology with Analysis of Philosophers’ Views of Women from Ancient to Modern Times. Springer Science & Business Media.
Karbowski, J. (2012). Slaves, women, and Aristotle’s natural teleology. Ancient Philosophy, 32(2), 323-350.