Dbq Essay: The Role Of Women In Marriage

Historically, the respective roles of a man and a woman in marriage are different across religious, cultures, and political borders. Even today, different sectors of society have distinctly different guidelines and expectations for the husband-wife relationship. Often what sets apart some societies from others when it comes to marriage is the role that women are allowed to have in the relationship. For centuries, and even in parts of the world today, marriage was treated as a sacred bond, but one in which the woman must honor and serve the man. This was clear in early Eurasia, where society viewed marriage as a way to enforce women’s subordination.
Although they spoke different languages, honored separate gods, and fought over land and power,…

Even those who were seemingly more protective of women still believed that marriage required an imbalance in order to be prosperous. The Assyrians (Document 1) implemented laws which protected married women from other men, but still gave husbands the ability to divorce and take everything with them (wives could not divorce). In Catholicism, husbands were required to love their wives, as the central rule of the religion stipulated. However, as St. Paul wrote, husbands loved their wives as Christ loved the Church (Document 5). Just as the Church needs Christ for guidance, a woman needs a husband in order to be holy and clean. For a religion that, today, claims that everyone is equal in the eyes of God, it is astonishing that St. Paul taught that husbands had a role similar to Christ in marriage. Aristotle shared a similar belief that husbands, were in some way holy. He claims a married woman is fortunate, and that a husband’s wishes “are as laws appointed for [a wife] by divine will” (Document 3). Finally, in Confucianism, marriage was thought of to be sacred and vital, but must be imbalanced. Husband and wife is one of the five “key relationships” of Confucianism, relationships that Confucius viewed as the building blocks of society. These relationships were examined and widely celebrated, but each consisted of a clear superior and subordinate. In Confucianism, as…