Zeus – the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus

The youngest son of Cronus and Rhea, Zeus was the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus and of the gods who lived there. Zeus was a supreme leader that upheld law, justice and morals, and with this made him the spiritual leaders of gods and mortals. Zeus was associated with being a weather god, his main power was the thunderbolt; and he also controlled thunder, lighting, and rain. Along with his powers Zeus was involved in many mythological tales. One of Zeus most famous tales was how he overthrew his father from the kingdom of mortals. His father Cronus had received the news that one of his children would depose him.

To prevent this Cronus swallowed his newborn children Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Posedon, but his wife Hesta wrapped a stone in cloths in place of baby Zeus. Meanwhile Rhea had Zeus taken to Crete, and there in a cave the divine goat Amaltheia nursed and raised the infant known as Zeus. When Zeus was a young boy he returned to his fathers realm, and with the help of Mtis, who gave Cronus a emetic potion, which caused his father to vomit up Zeus bothers and sisters. After receiving his bothers and sister, Zeus led a revolt that defeated and banished Cronus.

Greek Mythology Essay

The Greeks believed that the earth was formed before any of the gods appeared. The gods, as the Greeks knew them, all originated with Father Heaven, and Mother Earth. Father Heaven was known as Uranus, and Mother Earth, as Gaea. Uranus and Gaea raised many children. Amoung them were the Cyclopes, the Titans, and the Hecatoncheires, or the Hundred- Handed Ones. Uranus let the Titans roam free, but he imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hundred- handed Ones beneath the earth. Finally, Gaea could not bear

Uranus’s unkindness to the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Handed Ones any longer. Gaea joined Cronos, one of the Titans; and together, they overcame Uranus, killed him, and threw his body into the sea. Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, later rose from the sea where Uranus’s body had been thrown. Now Cronus became king of the universe. Cronos married his sister, Rhea, and they had six children. At the time of Cronos’s marriage to Rhea, Gaea prophesied that one of his children would overthrow

Cronos, as he had overthrown Uranus. To protect himself, Cronos swallowed each of his first five children — Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon — immediatly after birth. After the birth of her sixth and last child, Rhea tricked Cronos into swallowing a rock and then hid the child — Zeus — on earth. Zeus grew up on earth and was brought back to Mount Olympus as a cupbearer to his unsuspecting father. Rhea and Zeus connived against Cronos by mixing a noxious drink for him.

Thinking it was wine, Cronos drank the ixture and promptly regulated his five other children, fully grown. Then Zeus and his brothers waged a mighty battle against Cronos and the other Titans. Cronos and the Titans were defeated when Zeus ambushed them with the help of the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Headed Ones, and they panicked and retreated. Cronos and the Titans were imprisioned in the Earth where their fighting still causes earthquakes from time to time. Zeus and his brothers and sisters went to live on Mount Olympus, where they ruled over the earth.

Roman and Greek Gods

It has been known that the Romans and the Greeks have had many interactions with each other, whether it would be due to trading or just plain traveling, the stories of their myths have crossed each other in one way or another. This is may be the reason why there are many similarities between Greek and Roman Mythology. Even though a Greek god or goddess may have a different name in Roman Mythology they still performed similar tasks and were worshiped for similar reasons. I will compare and contrast Greek gods with their Roman equivalences to see how similar they truly are to each other.

Probably the most famous Greek god, Zeus, was the god of all gods. Born to Cronus and Rhea, he was the ruler of the sky, and had the power to create thunderstorms and lightning as well as earthquakes. As the story goes he overthrew his father, Cronus, and became the ruler of Mount Olympus to head the new line of Gods. Jupiter, also known as Jove, was very much like Zeus. He was the predominant power holder among the Roman Gods. According to Tripp, Jupiter is a contraction of two words meaning Heavenly Father. (Pg. 2)

He ruled the sky, controlled all of the weather, and had thunderbolts as a weapon. Tripp also wrote Jupiters cult and his general character were, however, well established in Italy before the Greek religion became influential there. (Pg. 333) This implies that the idea of Zeus, Jupiter and Jove had very little influence on each other since they were created before the Greek myths and Roman myths had started to cross paths. Hera, the wife and sister of Zeus, was the goddess of marriage, childbirth, and the queen of the heavens. She gave birth to Ares, Hebe, and Eileithyia.

She also gave birth to Hephaestus, but it has been believed that she bore him without the aid of Zeus. In Ovids Metamorphoses, she was extremely jealous of the affairs that her husband had and she often tormented or harmed Zeuss mistresses. Juno, the feminine version of Jupiters name, is Heras counterpart. Juno had many names that served for different purposes. As Juno Pronuba, she was goddess of marriage, as Juno Lucina, she was the goddess of childbirth, and as Juno Regina, she was the special counselor and protector of the Roman state.

Roman Mythological Characters, Juno) In Tripp, there was also a Juno Moneta that was governed finances. (Pg. 332) It seems that although Hera and Juno are similar in their duties, Hera is portrayed more as wife that was constantly jealous and did more harm to human kind rather than helping them. From the sources I have read about Juno, she seems more like a goddess that always helped the humans. Humans would offer her sacrifices so that she could help them with marriage, birth, protection, or finances.

Hera seems too engulfed in her husbands affairs rather than helping humans that would praise her. Ares, the child of Zeus and Hera, was the god of war. He was usually seen or portrayed to be fully armed and ready for battle and very eager fight or go to war. Although he was never married, he had many children with several goddesses and mortal women. Almost all of his children by mortal women were of a violent nature. Mars on the other hand, was the Roman god of agriculture and war. He was thought to be the second most important god after Jupiter.

He was in charge of military activities and farming. It was believed that the month March was named after Mars, and was also the first month of the Roman calendar. March was considered to be the month when agriculture was high and when most people engaged in war. Ares seems to be a very angry and active god as opposed to Mars that seems to be calmer. Ares is always prepared for battle and is always looking for a reason, like an instigator where Mars looks over the agriculture and the military to make sure that they are able to defend Rome, like a defender.

Even though Mars was also the god of war, it would seem that he would rather prevent war rather than start it because war would be hazardous to a Romes agriculture. The Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Roman goddess Venus were very similar. They have very few differences. Aphrodite was the goddess of erotic love and Venus was the goddess of love or queen of pleasure. (Encyclopedia of the Greek Mythology, Aphrodite) Aphrodite married the god of fire Hephaestus and had an affair with Ares while Venus married the god of metal work Vulcan and had an affair with Mars.

Both goddesses were very unfaithful to their husbands and had many affairs with many other gods and mortals. A difference that I have found is that Venus had many other names like Juno. According to the Roman Mythological Characters website, Venus Genetrix, was worshiped as the mother of the hero Aeneas, the founder of the Roman people; as Venus Felix, she was the bringer of good fortune; as Venus Victrix, she was the bringer of victory; and as Venus Verticordia, she the protector of feminine chastity. The Romans also associate Venus with nature, and the arrival of spring.

This may be because everything is fertilized and starts to grow in spring. The website also wrote that Venus really had no myths of her own but was so closely identified with the Greek Aphrodite that she took over Aphrodite’s myths. This probably explains why there are very close similarities between the two goddesses. In the many affairs of Zeus, Maia bore him the messenger of the gods, Hermes. His symbol of office was a caduceus or a heralds wand. He used it to guide the dead souls into Hades and in rare occasions to guide them out.

He was also known as the patron of merchants and seamen, of good luck, and of thieves and pickpockets, and was very well known for his mischief. He is often seen with winged helmet and a pair of sandals. Some say that his sandals had wings as well, which helped him fly around the heavens. Mercury, his Roman counterpart, was the son of Jupiter and Maia. He was the messenger of Jupiter and the god of merchants and trading. Much like Hermes, he was often seen with the caduceus, winged hat, winged sandals and a purse. Like Hermes, he protected the merchants.

The root word of his name merx means merchandise. Not too many differences between these two characters. This could possibly mean that this is one of the characters that Greeks and Romans may have shared. It is hard to tell whether or not the Greeks came up with Hermes first or if the Romans came up with Mercury first. Athena was the virgin goddess of crafts and the domestic arts and war. Also known as the patron of Athens, she was born from Zeus’s head. She was known to have aided the heroes Perseus, Jason, Cadmus and Heracles in their quests.

Minerva, her Roman equivalence, was the patroness of the arts and crafts. (Tripp, Pg. 380) Much like Athena, she was also born from Jupiters (Zeus) head. Much like Hermes and Mercury, Athena and Minerva are very identical to each other. It would also be hard to define whether or not Minerva was established before Athena. It can be assumed that these two figures were made by a compilation of both Greek and Roman myths. With these examples in mind, we can see that Greek gods and Roman gods have many similarities.

In the cases of Hermes, Mercury, Athena, and Minerva, they are so similar that they might as well be called the same name. With the comparisons of Hera, Ares, and their Roman counterparts, we can see that everything is the same except for their attitudes. Hera seems to be more of a mean goddess than Juno because humans actually offer praises to Juno and actually expect Juno to help her. Hera was too busy causing harm towards Zeus mistress. Ares was just the meaner and more aggressive version of Mars. Venus may as well have been Aphrodite because it was believed that her myths were borrowed from Aphrodite.

Zeus and Jupiter were similar, but were written in different times, suggesting a heavy coincidence that the Greeks and the Romans were on the same page. Overall, Greek gods and Roman gods are indeed very similar. If they do have differences, they are always fairly petty and do not affect their general purpose within mythology. The interactions between the Greeks and Romans have definitely tied each others myths together so close that a story from Greek mythology can easily be interchangeable with a story from Roman Mythology.

Hercules, in Greek mythology

Hercules, in Greek mythology, was a hero known for his strength and courage and for his legendary adventures. Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek hero Heracles. He was the son of the god Zeus and a human mother Alcmene, wife of the Theban general Amphitryon. Hera, Zeus jealous wife, was determined to kill Hercules, and after Hercules was born, she sent two great serpents to kill him. Hercules, while he was still a baby, strangled the snakes. Hercules conquered a tribe that had been demanding money from Thebes.

As a reward, he was given the hand in marriage of the Theben princess Megara and they had three children. Hera, still filled hatred of Hercules, sent him into madness, which made him kill his wife and children. In horror and remorse at what he did, Hercules was about to kill himself. But he was told by the oracle at Delphi that he should purge himself by becoming the servant of his cousin Eurystheus, king of Mycenae. Eurystheus, urged by Hera, planned as a punishment the 12 impossible tasks, the Labors of Hercules. The Twelve Labors

The first task was to kill the lion of Nemea, a lion that could not be hurt by any weapon. Hercules knocked out the lion with his club first, then he strangled it to death. He wore the skin of the lion as a cloak and the head of the lion as a helmet, a trophy of his adventure. The second task was to kill the Hydra that lived in a swamp in Lerna. The Hydra had nine heads. One head was immortal and when one of the others was chopped off, two grew back in its place. Cancer, one of the Hydras guards, bit Hercules on the foot when he came near, and was crushed by Hercules, but she was rescued by Hera.

Hercules scorched each mortal neck with a burning torch to prevent it from growing two heads and he buried the immortal head under a rock. He then dipped his arrows in the Hydras blood to make them poisonous. Hercules next labor is to capture alive a stag with golden horns and bronze hoofs that was sacred to Artemis, goddess of the hunt. The fourth labor was to capture a great boar in Mount Erymanthus. Hercules used the poison arrows with the Hydras blood to shoot at the Erymanthian boar. One of the poison arrows wounded Hercules friend Cheiron, an immortal centaur, half-horse and half-man.

Cheiron feared the poison arrow would hurt him for eternity, but Zeus rewarded him for his service to the gods by changing him to Sagittarius the Archer. The boar got killed by the arrows. In the fifth labor, Hercules had to clean up in one day the 30 years of filth left by thousands of cattle in the stables of king Augeas. He turns the streams of two rivers, making them flow through the stables. For the next labor, Hercules has to drive off huge flocks of man-eating birds with bronze beaks, claws, and wings that lived near Lake Stymphalus.

He shot them with poisonous arrows and killed them. The seventh labor was to capture the man-eating mares of Diomedes, king of Thrace. To bring back the man-eating mares, Hercules killed king Diomedes, then drove the mares to Mycenae. For the ninth labor, Hercules needed the girdle of Queen Hippolyta. Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, was willing to help Hercules with the ninth labor. When she was about to give Hercules her girdle, which Eurystheus wanted for his daughter, Hera made Hippolytas forces believe that Hercules was trying to abduct the queen.

Hercules killed Hippolyta, thinking that she ordered the attack, and escaped the Amazon with the girdle. On his way to the island of Erythia to capture the oxen of the three headed monster Geryon, Hercules set up two great rocks, the mountains Gibraltar and Ceuta, which now flank the Straight of Gibraltar, as a memorial of his journey of capturing the oxen. The 11th labor was to steal the golden apples of Hesperides, the daughter of Atlas and husband of Hesperus. The apples grew in the garden of Hesperides, which is in the western edge of the world, beyond the Island of Hyperborea and on the border of Ocean.

The garden is guarded by Ladon, the dragon with 100 heads. The apples were very important because they were grown by Mother Earth as a wedding present for Hera and Zeus. Hercules reached Ocean and found Atlas holding up the sky. Hercules offered to hold the sky while Atlas killed Ladon and got the apples. But Atlas was tired of holding the sky and told Hercules that he might continue holding it. Hercules pretended to agree but said the weight of the sky was hurting his shoulders and asked Atlas to take over for a while so he could make pads to protect his shoulders.

When Atlas took over, he took the golden apples. Later he gave the apples to Athena, who returned them to Hesperides. The 12th and most difficult labor was to bring back Cerberus, the three-headed dog, from the underworld. Hades, lord of the underworld, allowed Hercules to take Cerberus if he used no weapons. Hercules captured Cerberus, brought him to Mycenae, and then carried him back to Hades, therefore, completing the Twelve Labors. After completing the Twelve Labors, Hercules fought Antaeus, son of the sea god Poseidon, for the hand of Deianira.

As he was taking her home, the centaur Nessus attacked Deianira. Hercules wounded him with an arrow poisoned in the blood of the Hydra. The dying centaur told Deianira to take some of his blood, which he said was a powerful love charm and anyone wearing clothing with his blood rubbed on it will love her forever. The centaurs blood was actually a poison. Years later, Hercules fell in love with Iole, daughter of Eurytus, king of Oechalia. Deianira found out about Iole and sent Hercules a tunic with the blood of Nessus.

When Hercules put on the tunic, the pain caused by the poison was so great that he killed himself and was placed on a funeral pyre on Mt. Oeta. Hercules went to heaven, where he was approved by Hera and married to Hebe, goddess of youth. Hercules was worshipped by the Greeks as both a god and a mortal hero. In Italy, he was worshipped as a god of merchants and traders, although others prayed to him for rescue from danger or good luck. The most famous statue of Hercules is in the National Museum in Naples.

Greek mythology – Theseus

In Greek mythology, Theseus can truely be thought of as the greatest Athenian hero. He was the son of Aegeus, king of Athens, and Aethra, princess of Troezen, and daughter of Pittheus, king of Troezen. Before Theseus was born his father Aegeus left Aethra in Troezen of Argolis and returned to Athens before he was born. But before he left king Aegeus put his sword and his pair of sandals under a large rock and said to Aethra that when Theseus was old enough to lift the heavy rock that Theseus should take the sword and sandals and come to see him in Athens.

At the age of 16 after being brought up in Troezen, Theseus was finally able to lift the heavy rock. Theseus with his long blond hair then took the sword and the sandals and began his journey to Athens to claim Aegeus as his father. The young Theseus made his hazardous journey by the coast road along the Isthmus, clearing the road of six villains, murderers, and monsters which inhabited the road. Theseus killed these villains by the same method by which they had murdered their own victims. Among the villains that Theseus killed, were Sciron, Sinis, Procrustes and Phaea.

Theseus arrived in Athens wearing a sword and a pair of sandals that Aegeus had left for him in Troezen. He was then greeted by his father Aegeus and his stepmother Medea who was a sorceress. But she was jealous of his influence over Aegeus so Medea tried to kill him by sending him to kill a wild bull. But Theseus succeeded and sacrificed the bull to Apollo. He then returned to Athens and was almost poisoned by Medea, but as soon as Aegeus got wind of her plot, he proclaimed Theseus his son and heir to the thrown and banished Medea rom Athens and she escaped to what is now Asia.

According to legend, the people of Athens had to send seven youths and seven Maidens every year as a tribute to Minos, the king of Create, to be eaten by the Minitor, who was a terrible monster, half man and half bull. Theseus decided to go as one of the youths and try to kill the minitor. When he reached Create, Ariadne, the beautiful daughter of Minos fell in love will him and helped him kill the Minitor by giving him a sword which he killed the Minitor with and a ball of thread to elp him find his way out of the labyrinth in which the Minitor lived.

Theseus then left Create with Ariadne but dumped her on the way back to Athens. On his return from Create to Athens, however, in his hurry to get home, he forgot to hoist a white sail signaling his success against the Minotaur. So when Aegeus saw a black sail, he believed that his son was dead and was so sad that he threw himself from a high rocky cliff into the sea, which has ever since been known as the Aegean Sea in his honor. Theseus then became the King of Athens.

And as king of Athens, Theseus was wise nd generous, and united the many small communitties of the Attic plain into a strong and powerful nation and brought prosperity and civilization to the people. But he kept his love of danger and adventure and during a war with the Amazon Women he abducted the Amazon Hippolyta, who bore him a son who was named Hippolytus. He took part in the Calydonian boar hunt and in the quest of the Argonauts for the Golden Fleece. He was a devoted friend of Pirithous, king of the Lapithae, whom he accompanied to the underworld to rescue the goddess Persephone.

Both men were imprisoned by the god Hades for their rash deed, but Theseus was subsequently rescued by Hercules. Returning to Athens, Theseus found his kingdom in disarray, torn by rebellion and corruption. Unable to reestablish authority, he sent his children away and sailed to the island of Skyros, where Lycomedes, king of Skyros, murdered him by throwing him from a cliff into the sea. Later the Delphic oracle commanded the Athenians to gather Theseus’s bones and bring them back to Athens. The Athenians then paid him great honor by building him a tomb dedicated to the poor and helpless whom he had befriended.

Greek Mythology Paper

Since the days when man lived in caves and struggled to survive, he has wondered about the world that surrounds him. What makes the sun rise and set? Why are there seasons? Where do things go when they die? To the ancient Greeks, there were simple explanations to all these questions it was the gods! Things that seemed unexplainable could suddenly make sense when there were gods and goddesses involved. And these stories of the gods that the Greeks created to help make sense of the universe have survived the years to become a treasured and integral part of the history of the Western world.

Everyone knows who Zeus is. But are they aware that Zeus shared his power with thirteen of his sisters, brothers, and children? First there was his sister, Hera, whom he had chosen from his many wives to be his queen. Then there was Ares, their son, who was the god of war. Next was Hephaestus, the god of fire, and his wife Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Another of Zeuss children, Hermes, was the herald of the gods. And then there was Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, with her beloved daughter Persephone on her lap.

Next there was Poseidon, the lord of the sea and Zeuss brother, and then the four children of Zeus: Athena, goddess f wisdom; the twins Apollo (god of light and music) and Artemis (goddess of the hunt); and Dionysus, the god of wine. Zeuss eldest sister Hestia also lived with these twelve great gods. She was the goddess of the hearth, and tended the sacred fires of the gods. Finally, of course, there was Hades, the lord of the underworld and the ruler of the dead.

He preferred his gloomy palace to the light of the gods world, and chose to stay there. Those were the twelve great gods of Mount Olympus, who ruled in splendor the lives of the mortals below them. But there were also many minor gods and goddesses, nature gods, and of ourse the many heroes that are involved in Greek mythology, Hercules being perhaps the most famous of these. The Greeks believed that every tree had its wood nymph and ever river had its river god.

It was necessary to pray for the approval of these gods before boating across a river or chopping down a tree, lest they meet with disastrous results. Of course, on some occasions, even when one took the precaution of attempting to appease them, the gods might just be in a foul mood and decide to let a human suffer – there are many stories like this in Greek mythology. So what did all these gods do all day ong other than relax in their comfy palaces?

Well, it was the belief of the ancient Greeks that their gods were involved in every aspect of daily human life, that they watched over all that was going on and at times stuck their noses in sometimes to help a beloved devotee, other times to seek revenge on a human who has ignored them, and sometimes just for their own amusement. There was a great deal of fear and distrust involved in the Greeks relationship with the deities, but they did believe with their whole hearts that the gods existed, and that they would protect nd care for the devout.

Some aspects of the Greeks religion seem barbaric and ridiculous to the modern observer, but that is not really for us to judge. The importance of the ancient Greek religion lies not in their almost blind devotion to the gods, but in the major contribution to modern literature of the Greek mythology. These stories of gods and goddesses interacting with mortals are still familiar, and still enjoyed, by humans worldwide, thousands of years after they were written and told merely as simple tales to explain the unexplainable in life.

Sisyphus: Lifes True Meaning

Sisyphus, one of the biggest tricksters of all time lived like what seems as a seemingly short life, he was pursued by many Gods wanting to punish him for some trick or prank that he had pulled, but they never got him, finally Hermes captured him though and put him under the control of Hades. He lived life well though apparently taking the title as the King of Corinth, which to some he was the founder, and to others it was handed down to him by Medea. Their are many tales though, where he is clever, as he is described in Homers Odyssey.

One tells how he came up with a way to find out who as stealing his sheep, he put a mark on them, in modern times known as a brand but, while he was retrieving his sheep he seduced Anticlia, which then became the mother of Odysseus. Other tales of him attacking and murdering travelers. Although all these stories are out there, there are also stories of a family man, stories about him, his brother Athamas, his wife Merope, his two sons Odysseus and Glaucus, and his parents Aeolus and Enarete.

There are other things he achieved besides trickery. He was said to have founded the Isthmian Games, in honor of Melicertes, whose dying body he found on the hore of Corinth. Sisyphus was also very crafty, as Homer described him to be. Once when Zeus sent out Thanatos to punish him for revealing one of Zeuss love affairs, Sisyphus managed to capture Thanatos and bind him in chains. Zeus then had to send Ares to release Thanatos because he is the God of Death and no one was dying while he was bound.

Knowing that Thanatos would come back for him he told his wife not to bury his body, then when he died he begged Hades to allow him to go back to earth and punish his wife for not burring him, He then refused to return to Hades. Here is where Hermes comes in, he captured Sisyphus and put him under the power of Hades, where he has to roll a heavy rock to the top of a hill, and every time he almost gets to the top of the hill , the rocks weight pushes him back to the bottom and he starts all over again.

That was the mythology, now from a physiological point of view. Although, Sisyphus is forced to roll a heavy rock up a hill for eternity, it is said that he is happy. Now that may sound insane, until researched further. Why, is that you wonder, because moments of intense pain reduce the human mind to two things, God and pain, and from hen on everything else becomes non-existent. So, therefor in the intense pain that was his punishment, Sisyphus finds sense and intention.

Sisyphus then becomes forever focused on his punishment. Now, Sisyphus becomes focused on one thing, pushing the rock up the hill. He becomes so immortally focused on his punishment that he forgets about the Gods curse and thinks that at some point the rock will stay at the top of the hill. This is not all because of the punishment though, was always knowing of his fate, where he would be taken, what would happen, how it would happen, and why it would happen. His thoughts of stopping it, none.

He knew that the only thing he could do was delay it, he would trick Thanatos and bind him in chains, he would tell his wife not to bury his body and then beg Hades to send him back to earth to punish her but, finally they would catch on. Sisyphus is therefor defined as having a lack of concern over anything else in life. He knew his fate was coming and there was no way to get around it, he therefor fully accepted it. He played his deck of cards to their full extent, he didnt worry about what would happen next but, lived life one moment at a time.

Justice in Orestes

Aeschylus is primarily concerned with the nature of justice. In the trilogy The Oresteia, the Akhaians evolve from an older, more primitive autocratic form of justice, to a new concept of civil justice devised by Athena. He confronts the contrast between the old and new orders, the lives of the members of the House of Atreus, and the serious moral questions that Orestes’ crime presents. The case against Orestes is strong. The son admits to striking down his mother, in violation of the sacred tenant of kinship.

But I came back, my years of exile weatheredkilled the one who bore me, I won’t deny it, killed her in evenge. ” (Eumenides lines 476-478) This shows that Orestes was fully aware of the act he was committing, that he willfully committed it, and that he must suffer for it. The bond between mother and child was broken when Orestes murdered Clytaemnestra. Marriage, arguably, is a tenant of Zeus and the Olympians. In the old order of things, family is by blood only. A husband and wife have no blood relation, yet the son is of the same blood as his parents.

The Furies right to vengeance cannot be dismissed. Clytaemnestra is one who upheld the laws of the Furies. Agamemnon’s murder of Iphegenia at Aulis was pure outrage. Yes he had the heart to sacrifice his daughter , to bless the war” (Agamemnon lines 222-223) Agamemnon killed his own blood relation in order to sail for Troy. This too, is a terrible crime, seemingly of the same weight as Orestes’ act. Clytaemnestra believed she was justified in avenging her daughter, because her husband violated a sacred tenant of the old gods. Here is Agamemnon, my husband made a corpse by this right handa masterpiece of justice. Done is done. ” (Agamemnon lines 1429-1431)

This shows a clear morality behind Clytaemnestra’s motives. She appears to have justification for her actions. The curse on the House of Atreus is fulfilled. In the last lines of Agamemnon the chorus foreshadows Orestes’ return. Clytaemnestra responds by saying to her new husband, “We will set the house in order once for all. ” (Agamemnon lines 1708) The chorus’s purpose for suggesting Orestes’s return is to show that the house is not yet cleansed of the curse..

Like his mother, Orestes possesses what he believes to be a just motive for revenge. Unlike his mother, however, Orestes has reservations about killing. He does not wish to strike down his mother, but realises that he must. The defense f Orestes is rooted in the fact that Apollo ordered him to do so. Orestes trusts Apollo’s guidance at his trial. “Apollo will never fail me, no, his tremendous power, his oracle charges me to see this trial through. ” (Libation Bearers lines 273-275) Orestes believes that he is justified in avenging his god-honoured father, who was so brutally murdered by his mother.

This cycle of blood in the House of Atreus appears as if it will continue forever. This cycle of violence leads the gods to search for a different solution. If the society of Greece is to progress to a higher civilisation, some other way ust be found to resolve the conflict of moral questions. The ancient idea of vengeance doesn’t properly apply here because both Clytaemnestra and Orestes acted in support of legitimate definitions of justice. The ancient gods support Clytaemnestra and her actions, while Zeus, by means of Apollo, supports Orestes.

The clash between deities sets the stage for the emergence of a new form of justicecivil justice. The ancient law of retaliation, which states that blood must be paid for with more blood, is enforced by the Furies. This task was given to them by Destiny at the dawn of time. you’ll give me blood for blood, you must! Wither you alive, drag you down and there you pay, agony for mother-killing agony! ” (Eumenides lines 262, 265) Their concept of justice is one where the law of retaliation is applied absolutely. They have no notion of compassion or understanding.

They uphold the belief that regardless of circumstances, Orestes must be made to pay for his crime of matricide. The Furies represent something older and more sacred which Apollo and Zeus do not respect. Athena’s establishment of the court to try manslaughter is significant, because t provides a place for the citizens to decide about what moral elements will be upheld in the Polis. The Eumenides is the battleground for the two competing moralities. The furies invoke their rights as defenders of blood, and it is up to Orestes and Apollo to convince the jury that the son was just in his actions.

The jury is expected to believe that Apollo’s oracle is truethat Zeus himself ordained the act. The Chorus asks the question, “Can a son spill his mother’s blood on the ground, then settle into his father’s halls in Argos? ” (Eumenides lines 661-662) A good answer to this question might have been to hypothetically everse the question on ClytaemnestraHow quickly she settled into life after she cut down her lord. But, Apollo opts for the weaker, more arbitrary defense. His speech about how the father is the only true parent makes little sense.

Even the all-male jury would take some offense to this argument. Athena, however, initiates the ideal that the law be concerned not only with the forms of justice, as the Furies are passionate about, but with justice itself. The jurors must ask themselves whether Orestes was justified in committing matricide. Circumstances, motives and consequences must be taken into account t trial. Do they consider marriage as sacred as the law of kin? Is there a sacred bond between mother and son? Or only between father and son? Does Zeus’s will override the ancient laws of the Furies?

These are complicated moral question that Athena asks the mortal jury to grapple with. Even Athena believes the issue too important for her to judge solely. “by all rights not even I should decide a case of murdermurder whets passions. ” (Eumenides lines 486-487) She realises that if she were to mediate, the curse will never end. Perhaps she is suggesting that mortals must decide when the gods disagree. This s an important development because it shows the journey from the retributive justice in Agamemnon to the deliberative justice of Athena’s tribunal.

The ultimate decision is ambiguous. The vote is tied for a reasonneither side puts forth a well argued analysis of Orestes’ case. There is justice on both sides, and the jury realises this. Orestes is acquitted by Athena on arbitrary terms. She casts her vote for Orestes because she supports her father’s Order, believing that there is a need for the establishment of a higher reasoning. One could also argue that she voted for acquittal because she is the god of war. She supported Agamemnon, the General, throughout the Trojan war and thus wished to favour his memory.

She knows little of women, despite being female herself. Having settled the trial, Athena must also settle the anger of the Furies. She tactfully invites them to join Zues’s Ordersomething that is necessary if peace is to be made between the generations of immortals. She does not completely refute them, nor deny them their place in the world. “I will bear with your anger. You are older. The years have taught you more than I can know. But Zeus, I think, gave me some insight, too, that has its merits. Eumenides lines 855-859)

She asks the Furies to accept her offer of making their home Athens, and to endure as the upholders of the sacred bond of marriage. They accept her offer because it is wise and just. It transforms the Furies from destructive forces to beneficial ones. This resolution ends the curse on the House of Atreus, as well as many of the differences between the old and new gods. Orestes is free to claim his city and the Furies have been given a place in Zeus’ Order. The latter seems to be the emphasis of the trilogy because of the arbitrary decision on Orestes’ case.

The est possible justice has been realised in the decision. The new Apollonian concept of justice represents a higher level of understanding and civilisation. It may be argued that Clytaemnestra’s death was left unavenged; that justice escaped her. Orestes’ right to avenge the dishonorable death of his father was upheld by the court. The tribunal deemed Clytaemnestra’s actions wrong and Orestes’ just. With the establishment of Athena’s judicial system, there is now a method to prosecute people like Clytaemnestra, such that the ancient blood-lust of vengeance doesn’t take rule over issues of right and wrong.

The Trojan War

Homer was the god who wrote three famous poems, the Illiad, the Oddessy, and the Beowulf. The Illiad was the story of the Trojan war. Here’s how the trojan war went. Helen, Clytemnestra’s sister, was married to Menelaus. A while later, Menelaus went hunting, and Paris from Troy came and took Helen away.

Agamemnon heard the news and was furious. So, he got together troops and set off to Troy to get Helen back. But, they couldn’t sail out of the bay.. the wind held them back. So they had to sacrafice a maiden. Agamemnon sacraficed Iphigenia, his daughter. Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife, was NOT happy, for Iphigenia was her avorite daughter.

Clytemnestra set out to murder Agamemnon, but it was too late. He was already on his way out to Troy. During the war, Hector had killed Achilles’ best friend. Achilles was FURIOUS. So Achilles dragged Hector in a circle 3 times by his hair and gave killed him. Then Agamemnon came back, married to beautiful princess Cassandra. Clytemnestra had even more reason to kill Agamemnon now. So, she killed Cassandra, then took her husband’s live. Orestus and Electra, Clytemnestra and Agamemnon’s other two chilren, then killed their mother for killing their father. After the war, Odysseus set out on a journey, and killed Achilles.

Hercules: 12 Labors of Hercules

Hercules, in Greek mythology, was a hero known for his strength and courage and for his legendary adventures. Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek hero Heracles. He was the son of the god Zeus and a human mother Alcmene, wife of the Theban general Amphitryon. Hera, Zeus’ jealous wife, was determined to kill Hercules, and after Hercules was born, she sent two great serpents to kill him. Hercules, while he was still a baby, strangled the snakes. Hercules conquered a tribe that had been demanding money from Thebes.

As a reward, he was given the hand in marriage of the Theben princess Megara and they had three hildren. Hera, still filled hatred of Hercules, sent him into madness, which made him kill his wife and children. In horror and remorse at what he did, Hercules was about to kill himself. But he was told by the oracle at Delphi that he should purge himself by becoming the servant of his cousin Eurystheus, king of Mycenae. Eurystheus, urged by Hera, planned as a punishment the 12 impossible tasks, the “Labors of Hercules. The Twelve Labors The first task was to kill the lion of Nemea, a lion that could not be hurt by any weapon.

Hercules knocked out the lion with his club first, then he trangled it to death. He wore the skin of the lion as a cloak and the head of the lion as a helmet, a trophy of his adventure. The second task was to kill the Hydra that lived in a swamp in Lerna. The Hydra had nine heads. One head was immortal and when one of the others was chopped off, two grew back in its place. Cancer, one of the Hydra’s guards, bit Hercules on the foot when he came near, and was crushed by Hercules, but she was rescued by Hera.

Hercules scorched each mortal neck with a burning torch to prevent it from growing two heads and he buried the immortal head under a rock. He then dipped his arrows in the Hydra’s blood to make them poisonous. Hercules’ next labor is to capture alive a stag with golden horns and bronze hoofs that was sacred to Artemis, goddess of the hunt. The fourth labor was to capture a great boar in Mount Erymanthus. Hercules used the poison arrows with the Hydra’s blood to shoot at the Erymanthian boar. One of the poison arrows wounded Hercules’ friend Cheiron, an immortal centaur, half-horse and half-man.

Cheiron feared the poison arrow would hurt him for eternity, but Zeus rewarded him for his service to the gods by changing him to Sagittarius the Archer. The boar got killed by the arrows. In the fifth labor, Hercules had to clean up in one day the 30 years of filth left by thousands of cattle in the stables of king Augeas. He turns the streams of two rivers, making them flow through the stables. For the next labor, Hercules has to drive off huge flocks of man-eating birds with bronze beaks, claws, and wings that lived near Lake Stymphalus.

He shot them with poisonous arrows and killed them. The seventh labor was to capture the man-eating mares of Diomedes, king of Thrace. To bring back the man-eating mares, Hercules killed king Diomedes, hen drove the mares to Mycenae. For the ninth labor, Hercules needed the girdle of Queen Hippolyta. Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, was willing to help Hercules with the ninth labor. When she was about to give Hercules her girdle, which Eurystheus wanted for his daughter, Hera made Hippolyta’s forces believe that Hercules was trying to abduct the queen.

Hercules killed Hippolyta, thinking that she ordered the attack, and escaped the Amazon with the girdle. On his way to the island of Erythia to capture the oxen of the three headed monster Geryon, Hercules set up two great rocks, the mountains Gibraltar nd Ceuta, which now flank the Straight of Gibraltar, as a memorial of his journey of capturing the oxen. The 11th labor was to steal the golden apples of Hesperides, the daughter of Atlas and husband of Hesperus. The apples grew in the garden of Hesperides, which is in the western edge of the world, beyond the Island of Hyperborea and on the border of Ocean.

The garden is guarded by Ladon, the dragon with 100 heads. The apples were very important because they were grown by Mother Earth as a wedding present for Hera and Zeus. Hercules reached Ocean and found Atlas holding up the sky. Hercules offered to hold the sky while Atlas illed Ladon and got the apples. But Atlas was tired of holding the sky and told Hercules that he might continue holding it. Hercules pretended to agree but said the weight of the sky was hurting his shoulders and asked Atlas to take over for a while so he could make pads to protect his shoulders.

When Atlas took over, he took the golden apples. Later he gave the apples to Athena, who returned them to Hesperides. The 12th and most difficult labor was to bring back Cerberus, the three- headed dog, from the underworld. Hades, lord of the underworld, allowed Hercules to take Cerberus if he used no weapons. Hercules captured Cerberus, brought him o Mycenae, and then carried him back to Hades, therefore, completing the Twelve Labors. After completing the Twelve Labors, Hercules fought Antaeus, son of the sea god Poseidon, for the hand of Deianira.

As he was taking her home, the centaur Nessus attacked Deianira. Hercules wounded him with an arrow poisoned in the blood of the Hydra. The dying centaur told Deianira to take some of his blood, which he said was a powerful love charm and anyone wearing clothing with his blood rubbed on it will love her forever. The centaur’s blood was actually a poison. Years later, Hercules fell in love with Iole, daughter of Eurytus, king f Oechalia. Deianira found out about Iole and sent Hercules a tunic with the blood of Nessus.

When Hercules put on the tunic, the pain caused by the poison was so great that he killed himself and was placed on a funeral pyre on Mt. Oeta. Hercules went to heaven, where he was approved by Hera and married to Hebe, goddess of youth. Hercules was worshipped by the Greeks as both a god and a mortal hero. In Italy, he was worshipped as a god of merchants and traders, although others prayed to him for rescue from danger or good luck. The most famous statue of Hercules is in the National Museum in Naples.

A Few Greek Gods

The Ancient Greeks believed in a series of myths which explained nature, set up a moral code for the people, and were just folk lore of the people. In this paper, the beginnings of myths, the Greek gods themselves, and several myths concerning morals, nature, and old lore of the Ancients will be discussed. Because the myths and details about the gods were passed along by word of mouth, some myths or gods might be interchanged or different. The Greek myths started as folk lore until it began to explain nature and storytellers integrated a moral code into the myths.

Many myths started out as fairy tales. As new nd more efficient farming methods became available to the Greek people they were faced with more time in which to do other things. A people who have waste develop a culture all their own. Because Greece was divided into different city- states, many of the myths are different. The culture of storytelling began to involve explanations of nature such as the creation of the horse, spider, and such changes as winter and fire along with the creation of man himself.

Slowly, as with any longstanding government, the morals and laws of society leaked into Greek myths in the form of, “The slain shall be avenged y Nemesis (a force which causes people to get revenge),” or just, “Kindness and humbleness are rewarded by the gods. ” Some myths were even created to support other myths. The myths started with storytelling and developed into a complex system of morals and explanations. The Greek myths were almost fruitless without the intervention of the gods. The gods controlled nature and fought their own battles on the earth, which sometimes caused problems.

The first god was the most powerful one until he had children. The first god is called Oranos or in some myths Uranus. He was the first ruler among the gods. Uranus was the heavens and Gaea was the earth and thus they were married. The couple gave birth to many different and odd children but Uranus was cruel to them. Then, Chronos was born as the youngest titan. Chronos dethroned his father and soon after married his sister, Rhea. He didn’t want his children to dethrone him so he ate them. However, Zeus overthrew Chronos and established the first real empire of the gods.

Zeus settled disputes between the other gods and made sure the humans weren’t treated in the wrong way. Zeus and Hera gave birth to Ares and Hermes along with other minor gods. Hera was a cruel type person in most myths and in one she led a rebellio n against Zeus and almost defeated him when he was rescued. Her favorite sign is the peacock feather and that is her unique sign. Zeus and Hera were the first lasting god couple. Zeus had two brothers, Poseidon and Hades. After Chronos had been defeated, the three brothers threw dice for who would rule in which realm.

Poseidon chose the sea because there was the source of the most adventure. Zeus chose the sky where he would rule on Mount Olympus. Hades had no choice and took the underworld because he was notoriously unlucky. Poseidon created many odd sea creatures and the dolphin. He also created the horse and horselike animals. Poseidon had many children by two nymphs and his first son, Achilles, was greater than himself. Hades ruled the underworld and chose what to do with the souls of the people who came across the River Styx. They were judged on what they did in life.

He was unloving and terrible and he rarely left the underworld. His only wife was Persephone. She was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of corn, grain, and weather to an extent. Demeter is a minor god except for the great influence she has on the earth. Because her daughter, Persephone, is abducted every year, the crops wither and winter takes control of the land. There were quite a few lesser gods who ruled over small parts of nature. Aphrodite is the goddess of love and passion. She was formed of the foam off the genitals of Neptune which fell into the sea.

She manipulated men and was known for her enchanted golden apples. Her son was Eros, where we get the word erotic. Eros is the Greek form of Cupid, the Roman god of love. Aphrodite also has a magical girdle that makes anyone she wishes to love her. Aphrodite is married to Hephaestus, the ugly god of the forge. He and Aphrodite are Olympian gods but have limited control. Ares is the god of war. He rules all war and provokes men to war. He plays a vital role in provoking hatred among men. He is the son of both Zeus and Hera. Hermes is the messenger god. The myths say that he was born of Zeus alone.

Hermes is vital in settling disputes between the gods and has done so quite often. He is the swiftest of the gods and is known to carry messages of great mportance for mortals. Helios was the sun g od. Every day he rides his flaming chariot across the sky high in the heavens to the Island of the Blessed. He is the Greek explanation of the sun. There are three more godlike creatures that stand out in mythology. The first creature is a demigod. A demigod is a human/god mix and because Zeus and Poseidon were promiscuous there were many demigods. Hercules is among one of the most popular demigods.

He was the strongest and lived the longest. He was the mythological Superman to the Ancients. The Cyclops were a menace in many myths and Hercules slew any. The Cyclops, as a race, were around during the battle of the Titans. The Titans were huge, odd, creatures created by Gaea and Neptune. Chronos was a Titan. Though the Titans aren’t mentioned much in the most popular myths, there were hundreds of them who were kept pent up inside the mountains. There were many gods and godlike creatures. The Ancient Greek myths had explanation of nature in mind but also the spread of a moral law.

The first Greek myth dealt with the creation of the universe. It starts out with an explanation of how the universe was. “In the beginning there was chaos…. It then talks about how Gaea was born of nothing and she created the heavens, Uranus. She and Uranus then created everything else. However, Uranus was an evil father and she and Chronos plotted against him. Chronos took a sickle made of flint and castrated his father. His father fled away in shame. The genitals fell into the sea and from their blood came the giants, and from the foam against the genitals was born Aphrodite.

However, as Neptune fled, he said that Chronos would be dethroned by his son and that crime begets crime. Chronos married his sister and started to have children. As they were born, Chronos swallowed his children one by one. Rhea, his wife, finally grew tired of having fruitless children. When she gave birth to Zeus, she stole him away and gave him to some shepherds to raise. They raised him and, in return, she would keep their sheep safe. She wrapped up a stone to look like a baby and Zeus swallowed the stone whole. After a few years, Rhea became lonely and brought Zeus back to be the cupbearer of Chronos.

Then, Rhea and Zeus plotted against Chronos and Zeus slipped a regurgitory mixture into Zeus’s cup. Zeus vomited up his revious children and they sided with Zeus. They waged a huge war and Zeus’s army of gods and Titans won the battle. From then on, Zeus was the undisputed ruler of the gods. This myth shows how evil begets evil along with how the universe was created. Prometheus created man and all other animals. He gave all the animals different gifts and the ability to heal themselves. He gave so many gifts to the animals that he had nothing to give to man.

Prometheus decided to allow the man to walk upright like the gods and stole fire from Mount Olympus. However, Zeus was angry with Prometheus for stealing he fire and giving it to man. Zeus had Prometheus chained up atop a mountain to have his intestines be picked by vultures. Zeus stripped Prometheus of his ability to heal himself and gave that gift to men. And since then, men have been able to heal themselves and have had fire to protect them. The horse was not created along with the rest of creation, according to Greek myths. Poseidon was the ruler of the seas.

He chose the sea after his father was dethroned because it contained many unventured adventures. While he was in the sea, he married a Nereid and his son was Achilles. Poseidon made many creatures to scare little Nereids. However, his wife asked him to make her something beautiful and he created the dolphin. Poseidon wanted land to become his kingdom se he began to sink Athens but Athene interfered. There was almost war but Zeus and Hermes were able to settle the fight and Athene got Athens. This anger of Poseidon toward the Athenians causes all their naval battles to fight poorly. Poseidon sought a new wife and chose Demeter.

She would have him only if he could make the most beautiful land animal ever seen. Poseidon ook many days and created many animals close to his goal but not close enough. Finally, he created the horse and gave it to Demeter. She thought he would n ever create something so beautiful and would then not have to marry him. However, she married him and rode on the horse all day long. However, in the process of making the horse, he had made other animals such as the camel and mule. He did not destroy the misfits but set them aside. They found their way back into this world and are the horselike animals we know of today.

This myth explains the creation of the horse and other horselike animals. The gods control the seasons as we know them today in this Greek myth. Hades was on the surface of the earth on business when Eros shot him with an arrow. Hades fell in love with Persephone and stole her away into the Underworld. Demeter, Persephone’s mother, searched for her daughter and when she could not find her, froze the earth. Zeus didn’t want the earth to wither and die so he sent Hermes to fix the situation. Since Persephone ate part of a pomegranate, she would stay with Hades part of the year and live on the world the rest of the year.

All the time she would be gone, Demeter would weep and snow would fall. Fall is caused by her anticipation of her daughter leaving. This myth demonstrates the power of the gods, the power of love, and how fall and winter happen. The Greek gods and myths were a vital part to the ancient Greeks. The myths do explain nature and set up an orderly manner in which people should act. The myths, however, use gods to explain nature in order to substitute for pure logic. All the myths have meanings or explanations in which all the ancient questions are answered. The Greek myths were vital to Grecian society.

The Odyssey The Role Of Prophe

When one ponders the Greek mythology and literature, powerful images invariably come to mind. One relives the heroes’ struggles against innumerable odds, their battles against magical monsters, and the gods’ periodic intervention in mortal affairs. Yet, a common and often essential portion of a heroic epic is the hero’s consultation with an oracle or divinity. This prophecy is usually critical to the plot line, and also to the well being of the main characters. Could Priam have survived in the Achaean camp if not at the gods’ instruction (200-201)?

Could the Argos have run the gauntlet of the Prowling Rocks if not for the gods’ advice of using a sacrificial bird (349). Moreover, prophecy can be negative as well as positive. Achilles was prophesied to die gloriously in battle if he chose his life’s way as a warrior. Oedipus was exiled and condemned by his own words, after he slew his sire and wed his mother. This type of prophesy can blind even the gods themselves; Chronos was fated to be defeated and his throne stolen by his son. Demeter loses Persephone periodically every year because her daughter ate Hades’ pomegranates.

Prophecy plays an important role in the whole of Greek folklore. Something this ever-present bears further examination. In The Odyssey, prophecy in its myriad forms affects nearly every aspect of the epic. Prophecies are seen in the forms of omens, signs, strict prediction of the future, divine condemnation, and divine instruction. Though conceptually these forms are hard to distinguish, they are clearly separate in the Odyssey. Moreover, prophecies can be interpreted not only on the “plot device” level, but also on the level of characterization.

Whether a character accepts or denies the gods’ prophecies tells the reader something about the character himself. Omens are brief prophecies intimately connected to the action at hand, which must be interpreted in terms of that action. Halitherses comments on the eagle attack after Telemakhos condemns the suitors (463-464); he correctly interests it to mean that if the suitors keep feeding off Odysseus’s possessions they will be destroyed. Yet the suitors ignore the omen, inviting their eventual destruction. This haughty treatment of a divine omen is a justification for their deaths.

When Penelope says if Odysseus had returned he would, with his son, surely slay the suitors, Telemakhos let loose a great sneeze (429). This omen reinforces the previous one, and simultaneously prepares the reader for the carnage to follow. However, not all omens are effective. In the case of Telemakhos we see many bird omens signaling for him to do something about the suitors. Whether it was his immaturity to interpret the bird omens or blind arrogance Telemakhos does not act on them. In fact, it’s not until Athena comes to him that he thinks to take action against the suitors in his house.

Signs are similar to omens, but differ in one crucial aspect; the prophesee is looking for a specific omen in order to decide whether he should or should not take some action. There is only one good example of a sign in the Odyssey; on page 460, Odysseus asks Zeus for two divine signs to decide if it is time to slay the suitors. Zeus answers with a thunderclap from a cloudless sky and allows Odysseus to overhear a maid’s prayer for vengeance. Because of these signs, Odysseus begins his plan to slay the suitors.

Later on, with a thunderclap Zeus actually signals for the precise time to strike. Signs are helpful devices; they allow not only a rationalization for when an event occurs but also shows the approval of the gods on such an action. Not only are signs and omens plentiful in the Odyssey, but also the type one usually associates with prophesying, strict prediction of the future, abounds as well. Penelope states that she will marry the man who can string Odysseus’s bow and perform his famous feat (469). Since Odysseus is the only one to do so, the prophecy is fulfilled.

This “prophesy” is just a statement of the future; it contains no judgmental quality whatsoever. Theoklymenos’s prophesies to Penelope that Odysseus is at hand on the island and plotting vengeance on the suitors (417) This, of course, is already true, so the prophecy is technically true as well. However, it makes no judgement on the rightness or wrongness of either Odysseus’s or the suitors’ position. Teiresias shade’s speech to Odysseus (333) is a strictly objective foretelling, but nevertheless crucial to the plot and character development.

He states that Odysseus will land on Thrinakia; that if his shopmates eat Helios’s cattle they will be destroyed; that Odysseus will make the suitors pay in blood; and that if he makes reparations to Lord Poseidon he will be granted a gentle sea-borne death. Though Teiresias S prophecy is devoid of the bias which signs and omens possess, it contains enough to characterize not only him but also Odysseus. Teiresias is level headed and just, “forever / charged with reason even among the dead” (329). Odysseus is characterized by his reply to Teiresias: ” my life runs on then as the gods have spun it” (334).

Odysseus does not try to escape his destiny or change the prophecy to suit his personal desire; he merely accepts it and thereby accepts the will of the gods. Although there are myriad examples of divinities avenging themselves on mortals for wrongdoings, there is only one good example of divine condemnation contained directly within a prophecy. Aigisthos is warned by the gods not to kill Agamemnot (341), but he ignores the advice and is eventually slain by Orestes, Agamemnon’s son. By his very act of not heeding to the prophecy, he invites the gods’ revenge; the gods avenge themselves by allowing the prophecy to be fulfilled.

In this case, the gods condemn Aigisthos through the prophecy because he did not listen to it in the first place! Easily the most often seen type of prophesy is that of divine instruction. A sample follows: Hermes gives Odysseus advice and help on how to overcome Circe’s trials (323-324); Circe also later tells Odysseus the route he is destined to take home, and the trials he will face (349-350); through Calypso, Zeus prophesies that Odysseus will return to the “civilized world” on Skheria after twenty days at sea (364).

A general relation between a character’s traits and his heeding of prophecies can be seen when the prophecies are divine instruction. If the character follows the gods’ advice he will prosper. But the advice is offered not because a man is prosperous but because he is worthy. Therefore, if a man is worthy, he will repeatedly receive advice, and vice versa. How is a man worthy? By being brave, honorable, true, and following the gods’ advice! This relation is strictly a generalization, but can be applied to the other types of prophecies as well.

The generalization helps us characterize the prophesees by their heeding of the prophecy. On the negative side, Aigisthos was slain because he didn’t heed the gods’ warning; this makes him unworthy, which means he wasn’t brave, honorable, etc. The suitors repeatedly ignored the omens of the gods and Halitheses’s prophecy; therefore they were unworthy and deserved to die, etc. On the positive side, because Odysseus is worthy he is brave, honorable, true, and follows the gods’ advice. Also, because he is worthy the gods offer him advice. It is circular sequential logic, but it holds in the book.

Odysseus blinds Polyphemus, offends his father, and Poseidon extends Odysseus’s voyage home. But because Odysseus is worthy and just made an error, the gods guide him back to reconciliation with the earth-shaker. How? Bad luck leads Odysseus to Aiaia. There Hermes helps him face Circe. Because of this, Circe leads Odyseus to the underworld and Teiresias. Teiresias instructs Odysseus on how to appease Lord Poseidon; Circe tells Odysseus how to get home. Moreover, though it is difficult to see, prophecies also help characterize the prophesier, in the Odyssey, mainly the gods.

That the gods have the power to see the prophesier, in the Odyssey, mainly the gods. That the gods have the power to see the future sets them apart from mortals; that they use this information wisely indicates that they are responsible beings. That a worthy man like Odysseus continually follows their advice means that the gods are trustworthy; that they can fulfill their prophecies even without the prophesee’s cooperation shows that they are powerful, responsible, trustworthy and aloof. This description is not exact, but within the superstructure of the Odyssey it is approximately correct.

All the different forms of prophecy, omens, signs, strict prediction, divine condemnation and instruction, collectively shape character development: many of the key actions in Homer would not have occurred if the characters failed to demonstrate faith in prophecies and omens. Though its use as a plot device is more easily seen, its use for characterization in the Odyssey is far more important. In previous works, prophecy was used strictly as a plot rationalization, but in the Odyssey it has a critical role, affecting both the plot and characters.

Creons Defense to Oedipuss Accusations and Their Relevance

The role of the king in the time of Greek tragedies was simultaneously desired and dreaded because of the kings responsibility to the people and because of the effects of the position on the kings character. Creon reveals such ambivalent thoughts towards the kingship in his speech defending himself from Oedipuss conspiracy accusation in Oedipus the King; these ambivalent thoughts reveal much about the nature of the kingship, especially in conjunction with Creons later actions in Antigone.

In attempting to refute Oedipuss assertion that Creon has taken part in a conspiracy to obtain the kingship, Creon evaluates the nature of the kingship and of his present role. First, he says, “Consider, first, if you think any one/ would choose to rule and fear rather than rule and sleep” (36. 584-585). By this, Creon means that the main difference between his position and the kings is that of the accompanying action to ruling. In both positions, one is a ruler who holds great power over the state.

However, the king is placed in a greater place of accountability to the people. This accountability is what Creon says inspires “fear” in the king, for if affairs of state or of the people fall into decline, the king is the first person whom the citizenry look to blame. This is analogous to executive leaders throughout history, as one can see in looking at American presidents and the correlation between the present conditions and events of the nation to the publics opinion of the president, regardless of the actual impact that his decisions may have made in these conditions.

Creon maintains that he has the same amount of power as the king but without the accountability that inevitably leads a king to distress. Creons reasoning concerning the equality between his power and Oedipuss leads him to state: I was not born with such a frantic yearning to be a king- but to do what kings do. And so it is with every one who has learned wisdom and self-control. (36. 587-590) He means that he has never desired the position of king, because he sees no advantage over his present position in the state.

Rather, he sees the disadvantage of the fear that accompanies the position of king. Creon has evaluated this situation for his circumstances and then goes further in stating that anyone with wisdom and self-control would come to such a conclusion as well. This could be interpreted as an insult to Oedipus in two different ways. Creon could mean that Oedipus and anyone else who desires and assumes the kingship are by nature not people of wisdom and self-control- or he could be saying that the position of the kingship is one that strips an individual of his wisdom and self-control.

In support of the assertion that the kingship changes ones character, one could point to the events of Antigone and Creons striking change in character in the play. In Oedipus the King, Creon reveals himself to be a reasonable ruler, who makes rational decisions and is not quick to anger, as is revealed by his calmness in his responses to Oedipuss heated accusations. However, in Antigone, Creon has become prideful and irrational. His dealings with Antigone and Teiresias and his stubbornness in the play indicate a change in his character.

In fact, his actions, especially in his dealings with Teiresias the prophet, are very similar to Oedipuss actions in Oedipus the King. Just as Oedipus had done before him, Creon refuses to completely believe Teiresiass prophecies for the state. Creon also emulates his predecessors actions in his accusation of bribery directed towards Teiresias: “Out with it-/ but only if your words are not for gain” (201. 1128-1129). Creons words and actions in Antigone indicate that he has taken on the negative characteristics of king that he describes in his speech in Oedipus the King.

He has same amount of power as king, but he now seems to have lost his wisdom and self-control. This indicates that perhaps his words to Oedipus are, in fact, mainly an insult to the position of king and to what it evokes from a persons character rather than an insult solely directed towards Oedipus. Creon also feels that the king is generally not responsive to the desires of the citizenry: “But if I were the king myself, I must/ do much that went against the grain” (36. 590-591). By this, Creon means that in his present position, he is more apt than the king to know the will of the people and to respond accordingly.

Again, this seems to be a flaw inherent in the kingship based on Creons actions in Antigone. As king Creon is blind to the fact that the people of Thebes are opposed to his actions concerning the punishment of Antigone. One who is not king, Creons son Haemon, senses the will of the people: But what I can hear, in the dark,are things like these: the city mourns for this girl; they think she is dying most wrongly and most undeservedly of all womenkind, for the most glorious acts. (188. 746-749) Haemon has sensed that the people feel Creons actions are unjust, which is something that Creon is not aware of.

However, in his speech, Creon is also asserting that a king, even when aware of the will of the people, does not respond accordingly. He demonstrates this in Antigone when he says, “Should the city tell me how to rule them? ” (189. 794). Once again, Creons words in Oedipus the King and actions in Antigone correspond and indicate that his speech reveals characteristics that are inherent in the kingship and not just in Oedipuss rule. Creon finds these characteristics of a king to be despicable and prefers his own present position.

How should despotic rule seem sweeter to me/ than painless power and an assured authority? ” (36. 592-593). He is saying that his present power is less painful and even more effectual than that of a king. It is less painful in that he is not held directly accountable for the conditions of the state. It is more effectual both in that he has a better sense of the will of the people and in that he is less likely to allow selfish interest and pride to interfere with his execution of the will of the people.

Creons speech serves two purposes, both effectively. First, it is a convincing argument to prove that he is not involved a conspiracy to overthrow Oedipus, although Oedipuss pride does not allow him to be convinced by this argument. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Creons speech gives insight into the two-sided nature of the kingship, for although it is a position of great honor and power, it is also a position that often corrupts the man who holds it.

Creon believes that there is a certain type of man who desires such a position, a man who has not learned wisdom and self-control. He believes that he is a man who has learned these attributes; thus, he would not be susceptible to desire for the kingship and the corruption which would inevitably follow. However, his actions in Antigone show that there are very few men who will reject the kingship if presented with the opportunity and even fewer men who will not allow the kingship to corrupt them.

Oedipus, a very interesting character in Greek mythology

Oedipus is a very interesting character in Greek mythology. He encounters many episodes on his journey, escaping the dangers of the prophecy he was told. Oedipus the King us the is quite exciting to the readers because of the dramatic irony Sophocles uses throughout the trilogy. Dramatic irony is when the audience is aware of something that is going to happen in the story, and the charatcer really has no idea. Oedipus the King is a Greek tragedy.

There are five basic elements of a typical tragedy. They are prologue, parados, episode, stasimon, exodus. The prologue is basically the opening scene, in which the background of the story is formed. This is usually accomplished by a dialogue between two characters, or by a single actor. Parados is the entrance of the chorus(clarifies the feelings and experiences of the character), usually chanting a lyric that relates to the main theme.

The counterpart of the modern scene, where the plot is developed through action or dialogue is called the episode. Stasimon is basically the choral ode. Finally, the exodus is the conclusion or final action, usually ended by a “ceremonial exit” of all the characters in the tragedy. These are the five basic elements that make up a Greek tragedy. To get a better understanding of Oedipus the King, you can go to the link below, and get an overview of the tragedy.

Greek Mythology Essay

The Greeks believed that the earth was formed before any of the gods appeared. The gods, as the Greeks knew them, all originated with Father Heaven, and Mother Earth. Father Heaven was known as Uranus, and Mother Earth, as Gaea. Uranus and Gaea raised many children. Among them were the Cyclopes, the Titans, and the Hecatoncheires, or the Hundred- Handed Ones. Uranus let the Titans roam free, but he imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hundred- handed Ones beneath the earth.

Finally, Gaea could not bear Uranus’s unkindness to the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Handed Ones any longer. Gaea joined Cronos, one of the Titans; and together, they overcame Uranus, killed him, and threw his body into the sea. Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, later rose from the sea where Uranus’s body had been thrown. Now Cronus became king of the universe. Cronos married his sister, Rhea, and they had six children. At the time of Cronos’s marriage to Rhea, Gaea prophesied that one of his children would overthrow Cronos, as he had overthrown Uranus.

To protect himself, Cronos swallowed each of his first five children — Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon — immediately after birth. After the birth of her sixth and last child, Rhea tricked Cronos into swallowing a rock and then hid the child — Zeus — on earth. Zeus grew up on earth and was brought back to Mount Olympus as a cupbearer to his unsuspecting father. Rhea and Zeus connived against Cronos by mixing a noxious drink for him. Thinking it was wine, Cronos drank the mixture and promptly regulated his five other children, fully grown.

Then Zeus and his brothers waged a mighty battle against Cronos and the other Titans. Cronos and the Titans were defeated when Zeus ambushed them with the help of the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Headed Ones, and they panicked and retreated. Cronos and the Titans were imprisoned in the Earth where their fighting still causes earthquakes from time to time. Zeus and his brothers and sisters went to live on Mount Olympus, where they ruled over the earth. With our view of God, it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend the actions and thinking of the Greek deities.

The Christian God does not tend to take such an active role in the affairs of people’s lives, where, on the other hand, the Greeks regarded direct involvement by the gods as a daily, uncontrollable part of life. Needless to say, divine intervention was a major variable in the equation of Homer’s Iliad. The gods picked who they would favour for different reasons. Except Zeus: As the symbol of supreme authority and justice, he makes judgement calls as to the other gods’ involvement in the war, remains impartial, and doesn’t seem to get caught up in picking favourites.

Even when his own son, Sarpedon, was about to die, Zeus chose to let the outcome go unaltered. On the other hand, Zeus’s wife, Hera, displayed the more typical actions of a god. After Paris, a Trojan, judged Aphrodite the fairest over Hera, and, after her daughter Hebe was replaced as cupbearer to the gods by a young Trojan boy, she was quite resentful towards Troy and its people. Obviously she sided with the Greeks and would stop at no length to express her will. Scheming and manipulating she even dared to trick her husband, King of the Gods.

Hera, along with Athena, who was also passed over by Paris, is seen as the chief divine aid to the Greeks. Being the god of the sea, Poseidon was another strong supporter of the ocean-faring Greeks. Whenever Zeus turned his back Poseidon tried to help the Greeks in the fight. Poseidon felt that he was somewhat Zeus’s equal as his brother, but recognizing Zeus’s authority and experience, he looked to Zeus as an elder. There were also Gods who favoured the Trojan side of the conflict. Both Apollo and Artemis, twin brother and sister, gave aid to the city of Troy.

Although Artemis takes a rather minor role, Apollo, perhaps angered by Agamemmnon’s refusal to ransom Khryseis, the daughter of one of his priests and was constantly changing the course of the war in favour of the Trojans. Responsible for sending plague to the Greeks, Apollo was the first god to make an appearance in the Iliad. Also, mainly because Apollo and Artemis were on the Trojan side, their mother, Leto, also helped the Trojans. Aphrodite, obviously supporting Paris’s judgement, sided with the Trojans.

Although she was insignificant on the battlefield, Aphrodite was successful in convincing Ares, her lover and the god of war, to help the Trojans. One view of the gods’ seemingly constant intervention in the war was that they were just setting fate back on the right course. For instance, when Patroklos was killed outside of Troy, Apollo felt no guilt for his doings. It had already been decided that Patroklos would not take Troy, he should never have disobeyed Achilles in the first place. As a god, he was just setting fate on a straight line. Achilles laid blame on Hektor and the Trojans.

He did not even consider accusing Apollo, who never came into question, although he was primarily responsible for the kill. Apollo’s part in the matter was merely accepted as a natural disaster or illness would be today. This general acceptance of a god’s will is a recurring trend throughout the poem. A prime example of this trend is in book XXIV. Achilles, angry over the death of Patroklos brutally disgraced Hektor’s body. Tethering Hektor’s corpse through the ankles, Achilles dragged him around Patroklos’s tomb every day for twelve days. This barbaric treatment was uncalled for and displeased the gods greatly.

Achilles mother, Thetis, was sent by Zeus to tell him to ransom the body back to the Trojans. One may think Achilles would be possessive of the body and attempt to put up a fuss as he did before with Agamemmnon in Book I. But, Achilles showed humility and respect for the gods and immediately agreed to ransom the body to the Trojans, showing that all mortals, even god-like Achilles, were answerable to the gods. This ideology would seem to give the gods a sort of unlimited freedom on earth, although, the gods could not always do as they pleased and eventually had to come before Zeus.

Zeus acted as a balance of sorts throughout the Iliad. He had to keep the gods in order and make sure that what fate decreed would happen. For example, after Achilles re-enters the battle Zeus declared that if Achilles was allowed to go on slaughtering the Trojans with nothing to slow him down, he would take Troy before fate said it would happen. Therefore, to counter Achilles massive retaliation against the Trojans, Zeus allowed the gods to go back to the battle field.

In Zeus’s own interests, he preferred to deal with issues more personal to the individual heros of the Iliad. This can be seen throughout the book as Zeus attempted to increase the honour of certain individuals. Zeus knew that Hektor was going to be killed by Achilles, and, feeling sorry for Hektor Zeus attempted to allow Hektor to die an honourable death. For instance, when Hektor stripped Achilles armour off Patroklos, Zeus helped Hektor “fill out” the armour so he would not seem like less of a man then Achilles.

Zeus also gave his word to Thetis that Achilles would gain much glory showing his involvement on a personal level. Homer used the gods and their actions to establish twists on the plot of the war. It would not have been possible for him to write the story without the divine interventions of the gods. Indeed, they affected every aspect the poem in some way, shape or form. Yet, from the immortal perspective of the Greek god, the Trojan war, and everything related to it, was only a passing adventure in the great expanse of time.

Medea As A Heroine

In Euripides’ Medea, the main character of the same name is a controversial heroine. Medea takes whatever steps necessary to achieve what she believes is right and fair. She lived in a time when women were expected to sit in the shadows and take the hand that life dealt them without a blink of their eye. Medea took very radical steps to liberate herself and destroys the life of the man who ruined hers. She refused to accept the boundaries that a patriarchal society set upon her. Medea was a very wise and calculated woman who was brave enough to leave her homeland, along with everything she knew and loved, in order to follow her heart down the path of what she expected to be eternal happiness.

Medea, a princess and sorceress, was from a small island in the Black Sea called Colchis. She met her husband Jason when she used her powers to help him secure the Golden Fleece. It was during this time that she fell in love with him and decided to leave her family and home so that she could be with Jason. The fact that Medea was willing to leave all that she knew for Jason is very brave. Women in Medea’s time were normally given away to the men that they married. Medea, on the other hand, married Jason because she wanted to. That was a large risk for her to take and many women probably looked at it as a liberating and heroic act.

When Jason left Medea to marry Glauce, Medea was plagued with sadness and then with anger. The man she loved, the man that she gave up her life for, had betrayed her. In the patriarchal society that Medea lived in, it was not acceptable for a woman to protest any decision made by her husband. Medea went against all social standards and took revenge on Jason for the wrongs that he had committed. She was willing to take any chance and sacrifice even her most valued possessions. Medea knew that the best way to avenge the wrongs of Jason was to kill Glauce and the children. It was a huge sacrifice for Medea to kill the children that she loved, but she allowed herself to look past that love and only see her hate and contempt for Jason. Medea was willing to go against every rule that society set, so that her husband wouldn’t get away with leaving her for political reasons. Medea is once again a heroine.

If Medea were alive today, many people would not consider her a heroine. She found a way to satisfy her own needs, which were supposed to be secondary to her husband’s. Medea was a leader of women, and although the men may not have appreciated it, it was an act that was guaranteed to catch the attention of every oppressed woman alive at the time. Medea was a heroine ahead of her time.

Media: Character Analysis

Media was a very diverse character who possesses several characteristics which were unlike the average woman during her time. As a result of these characteristics she was treated differently by members of the society. Media was a different woman for several reasons; she possessed super natural powers , she was manipulative, vindictive, and she was driven by revenge. The life that Media lived and the situations she encountered, (one could say) were partly responsible for these characteristics and her actions.

Because Media was such a different woman people in her society were afraid of her, including men. As a result of this, before Jason, she never experienced being in love. When she finally experienced this type of love she went to no end for Jason. To protect Jason and her love for him she killed the beast guarding the Golden Fleece, she killed her brother, and she left her home, family and everything she knew for him. Most women would not have gone that far for love, especially women during her time; but Media was not your average woman. All of the things she did for Jason will come into play, and partly account for her actions at the end of the play.

Although Media killed and did things that people felt were wrong it is evident that through out the play that along with her other characteristics, she was a caring and loving person. The first time we are shown this is when we discover everything she did for Jason. If she did not love him she would not have done those things. We are also shown that Media can be a caring person by the love that she had for her children. Although she killed them in the end during the play she was a mother to her children, she showed affection to them, and she did think twice before she killed them. It is because Media was a caring and loving person that she did what she did. Her feelings were hurt and her heart was broken; and she did what she felt she had to do to hurt Jason for hurting her.

When Media Jason discovers Jasons plans to marry Creons daughter she was hurt deeply. But when Creon tells her that she was being exiled we see her hurt turn into vengeance. Because Media was a manipulative person she was only needed one day to plan and execute her plan to destroy Jason. Her plan was to leave Jason with nothing, the way she felt he left her. She killed his wife to be, her father and her children. Media killed everything Jason loved and everything that would a benefit to him to leave Jason with nothing.

She did all of these things, even killed her own children because she was hurt by love.
You must look at all of these things to explain Medias actions. Without knowing her background it would be very difficult to explain her extreme actions during this play. Its not enough to say her feelings were hurt and she lashed out, you have to look at, analyze, and breakdown, Medias life and experiences.

Medea: “Love and Deception”

There are many pieces of literature that may entail more than one theme throughout the story. The tragedy, Medea, by Euripides is very good example of this. Throughout this story, the themes of betrayal and love, revenge, and women’s rights arise. Euripides brings these points up to help the reader to realize that women are powerful also.

Betrayal is a very important theme throughout this story. Her husband Jason betrays Medea, when he abandons her and her children for another woman. Medea then realizes that Jason used her for her power and then dropped her when the chance to be more powerful arose. Medea’s nurse says:

“Jason has betrayed his sons and her,
takes the bed a royal bride,
Creon’s daughter-the king of Corinth’s.
Medea, spurned and desolate,
Breaks out in oaths,
Invokes the solemnest vows,
Calls on the gods to witness
How Jason has rewarded her. (P.19-26)

Jason left her for the princess of Corinth. Medea felt used and betrayed by the man that she was totally in love with. When Medea met Jason, he was on a voyage to possess the Golden Fleece. Medea goes against her father, her land, steals the Golden Fleece for Jason, commits murder, slows down her fathers army by killing her brother and laying out his body parts, all for the man she loved. And in returned, Jason betrays her for his own interest in power.

Revenge is another important theme in this tragedy. After Jason betrays Medea, her immediate response is revenge. Revenge on Jason for making a fool of her and leaving her and their children all alone. Jason has left Medea feeling lonely and heart broken. She wants Jason to feel the hurt and pain that she does. In revenge for what Jason has cause Medea to feel she kills his new bride and her father, an agonizing death of deadly poison. She then kills her own two sons. Medea is ashamed of what she has done to her sons, but does it to make Jason hurt the way she has. She says: Never again alive shall he see the sons he had by me, nor any child by this new bride of his poor girl, who has to die a wretched death, poisoned by me. (1.3.803-807)

Medea thinks that doing to Jason what he has done to her will make her feel better. She leaves Jason with no one. By killing her sons, there is no one left to carry on his name.

Euripides brings up the theme of women’s rights and the role of women is society. Euripides shows that not only men are powerful, but women are too. Medea is portrayed as a powerful, feared woman in Corinth. Creon is afraid of Medea; that is the reason for her banishment from Corinth. “Fear: no need to camouflage the fact,”(1.1.283-284).

This story teaches us many important moral lessons. As in many tragedies, these themes are exaggerated to get his point across clearly. All of these themes make up this Epic tale of Betrayal, deception, and women’s rights.

Comparing Odysseus and Medea

“Let me hear no smooth talk
of death from you, Odysseus, light of councils.
Better, I say, to break sod as a farm hand
for some poor country man, on iron rations,
than lord it over all the exhausted dead.”

Right before restless Odysseus leaves Circe, she tells him that he must go down into Hades to visit the shade of Teiresias, the blind prophet who advises Odysseus of his homecoming (the Wanderings). He then goes on to meet the shades of the queens and lovers of dead heroes and finally the heroes themselves. In the quotation cited, Odysseus is talking with Achilles, the greatest hero of the Trojan War. Achilles, while alive, was fully cognizant of his choice between a long life spent in obscurity or a short life, filled with glory. He chose the latter.

I suppose Achilles quickly realized after he died that fame has no meaning for you after you’re dead. In retrospect, he understood that death gives meaning, and fills one up with the passion for life. Every action, however mundane, is filled with the miracle of life and completes itself when one interacts with others. This is what Achilles meant when he asks Odysseus about his son and his former kingdom–never mind the dead, what are the living doing? Achilles yearns to be back among the living.

This theme of death giving meaning to life is prevalent throughout the Odyssey. Hell is death, heaven is now, in life, in the field of time and action.

Odysseus nearly died of homesickness (or boredom) when Kalypso detained him on her island, hoping to make him her immortal husband. Odysseus knew if he drank that ambrosia, life would be eternal, you’d have a beautiful house and a babe for a wife, but things would get terribly vapid after a certain point. Immortality is death, in this sense. Finally, it is Athena (thought, action) who convinces the gods (who are, I think, jealous of us mortals) to let Odysseus off the island and back into his life. It is interesting to note that even Hermes couldn’t wait to get off Kalypso’s island–“who would willingly come here? There is no city of men nearby. . . . .

Ultimately, Odysseus’ journey to Ithaka is about embracing one’s life, accepting the challenges, the dangers, pitfalls, and joys, with courage, tenacity and a keen sense of what it takes to maintain balance in one’s life. As the Odyssey suggests throughout, keeping balance in your life also reflects the macrocosm–the need for reciprocity, sacrifice, justice, love, etc. One must learn to keep one’s head in an unsure world (lotus eaters, Cyclops, Laistrygonians, etc.) And enjoy the journey home because the journey is the map of one’s life. It is best to be a breathing hero, in full possession of himself, than a dead one.

Home is Ithaka, a place of completion, the sound of a woman’s voice, the merging of male and female. Both Odysseus and Penelope carried the sound of each other’s voices in their heads for 20 years. When Odysseus came home, it was both an end and a beginning. Another beautiful challenge. Another journey, another homecoming to look forward to.

Medea, on the other hand, is a nightmare. Unlike Odysseus, she has been betrayed and will stop at nothing to destroy everything around her. Life holds no meaning for her, so she sets out to destroy everything precious belonging to the betrayer–fatuous Jason. In her irrationality, death or life have no meaning–they are simply tools used for vengeance.

In a sense, Odysseus and Medea are polar opposites: he maintains the balance between the micro/macrocosm, and Medea is self-absorbed, driven blindly by love, and myopic. She is forever the outsider, the exile who knowingly destroyed the chance of ever returning home, while Odysseus (representing society here) is the preserver, who sees and understands the forest, and is, by comparison, a glowing humanist next to Medea. If Odysseus can be looked upon as a metaphor for society (and everything included in it), then Medea can be seen as Nature, what happens when you upset the balance of that society.

Medea – Male and Female Perceptions of the World

Ask yourself this, Is this world biased against a particular gender? Do we mainly focus on women’s issues or men’s? What would your answer be? I bet most of you would say no, we aren’t biased at all. And, in many cases, that would be correct. But look at some of the other parts of the world where woman aren’t allowed a say, they aren’t allowed to put their point of view forward even in our own society. They aren’t allowed to know information until the male passes it on to them. This gap between women and men is widest in these areas. This type of treatment was happening at the times of the great ancient Greek playwrights such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and the controversial Euripides. Euripides play Medea explores these themes as well as many others.

Unlike today where women are usually regarded as important as men are, the ancient Greek men were ranked much higher than women in the hierarchy and therefore there was quite a gap between them. This meant that men were able to order women around and information was available to them before anybody else. Men were regarded as smarter than women so they were chosen to do special tasks while the women were left to be servants. But men didn’t seem to understand women much at all. Some men believed that they were just Poor women, Harping on trouble, where really they were doing things that would have helped themselves as well as the people around them.

Medea is expected to love Jason with all her heart, and she does. She is expected to take care of her children and do just about anything for Jason, and she does this too. But Medea is also expected to understand that Jason wishes to get married to another woman in order for him to gain the power that had always wanted. She doesn’t understand this at all. All Medea expects from Jason is for him to love her. When men have more power than women, they expect more understanding from women.

The play shows the views of both genders. The tutor, the messenger, Creon (king of Corinth), and Aegus (king of Athens) represent the male point of view. The nurse and the Chorus of Corinthian women represent the female point of view. Euripides intended to only have two voices representing the women to show that the women were less important than the men were. He has the views of a nurse, who is regarded as a servant, against the views of two kings, a teacher and a messenger. Who would people listen to? It would most likely be the men. They had more power being kings and educators. Who would listen to a servant who cant stop talking? In spite of all of this, Medea had more power than any of the other characters in the play. Why is this? She has the willpower and the passion for revenge. She doesn’t think of what could have been, she just gets out there and does it.

Medea is quite ahead of her time, she is almost ahead of our time too. Her ideas of speaking her mind and standing for her rights are things that some of us could only talk about today. Everybody thought she was out of her mind when she began her plan for revenge on Jason. If you were dumped, you were meant to take it and live with it. Retaliating like Medea did was something that wasn’t done at that time  that’s why nobody understood her actions.

But today, women will go to all sorts of lengths to get revenge on their ex-lover. Things such as letting their exs car tyres down each morning is a good example of this. Although Medea did a bit more than letting Jason’s tyres down (she killed Jason’s new wife, Jason’s new father-in-law, and her very own children), she still had the right to be angry. She stood for women’s rights and was one of the few fictional feminists of her time.

This gap was made by two totally different genders who have totally different views and who cant understand each other at all because of this. Medea reversed the gap. She made women equal to men.

Plato & Medea

In ancient Greece women were viewed as many things. They were not viewed as equivalent to males by any means. Women were portrayed usually as submissive domestic, and controlled. They played supporting or secondary roles in life to men, who tended to be demanding of their wives, but expected them to adhere to their wishes. In the tragedy Medea, written by Euripides, Medea plays the major role in this story, unlike most Greek stories with women playing only minor roles, but she also demonstrates many behavioral and psychological patterns unlike any other Greek women. In Euripides Medea the main character, Medea, Displays many traits that breakdown traditional Athenian misogyny by displaying her as proactive in taking her revenge, having cruel and savage passions, and being a very manipulative women.

Medea shows herself to be a proactive, determined woman who is ready to do what she has been planning throughout the story. In the begging of the book she starts to threaten revenge on her husband, Jason, If I can find the means or devise to pay my husband back for what he has done to me(pg 9). Medea is just touching on her anger that she has built up within her for her husband. The traditional Athenian women would be mourning the loss of her husband, and may feel angry with him but would never swear to revenge him for his doings, and lastly actually do them. Women are usually portrayed in this situation being so dependent on their husbands that they will still do anything for him as so he will continue to help support the children and possibly his ex-wife.

Medea when she decides it is time for her to kill her children struggles with the idea for a minute, do not be a coward, do not think of them, and how you are their motherOh I am an unhappy women.(Pg 40). This is how a traditional Athenian woman would think, but she would be unable to commit to her plans and kill her own children. Medea on the other hand lets her passion and hatred for Jason take over her reasonable and straight thinking self, as she kills her own children while listening to them pray to God for help.

Medeas cruel and savage passions take overtake her reasoning as the story proceeds. Medeas views differ of that of the traditional Athenian women in that, Medea believes that women, though most helpless in doing good deeds, are of every evil the cleverest contrives. She is the opposite of how women are portrayed and this just shows how Medeas thoughts and actions break down Athenian misogyny. After talking to Aegeus, Medea contrives her plan. For I will send the children with gifts in their hands to carry to the bride and when she puts them on, she and all who touch her will dies form the poison I will lay on them.(pg 26). Not only does Medea concoct a horrific plan, but also she decides to use her children as messengers of death. Then she will kill her own child to protect them form being killed by a mob and also to put a final stake though Jasons heart, as the kids are his only true love. Medeas plan further demonstrates how she breaks down all views of a traditional Athenian woman.

Medea also demonstrates how she has cruel and savage passions, unlike Athenian women are traditionally portrayed. Not only does Medea say how women are helpless but she how they are defenseless, but that is the average woman not Medea. Medea is the not defenseless, but rather one to be defended from. Nearing the conclusion of this tragedy Medea displays her cruelty and savagery in full force as Jason says, You loved them, and killed them. Medea response, To make you feel pain. Medeas passion and anger have taken total control in this confrontation with Jason. Not only does she say she killed her children to make Jason feel worse, but she shows no remorse for killing her only two children.

Medea truly demonstrates how much she breaks down the Athenian misogyny throughout this final scene as she becomes possessed by her passions and takes action, without any signs of remorse.

Medea is a manipulative woman who uses her intelligence and foresight to set her plan up perfectly for the future. When Medea is confronted by King Creon she acts as a traditional women would, by pleading for her childrens help and agreeing to what the superior man has told her to do. But once he leaves, she reveals that she was manipulating him by seeming harmless so that she could have an extra day in town to put her plan to work.

Next when Jason arrives for the second time she apologizes for her earlier actions and says that she was wrong. This time she says to Jason how she want best for their children as well, so she will send them bearing her most precious garments to give to the princess. As this is occurring again, Medea appears to be the traditional Athenian women, but underneath she is using this as a façade to her really feelings, so as she can perform her wicked acts of cruelty to the princess, Jason, and in turn her children. Medea has learned to use the Athenian misogyny to her advantage; by pretending she fits into it perfectly while in fact she could not oppose it much more.

Euripides character of Medea, breaks down the rules set for Athenian women with her ability to take action, her ill-willed passions, and her manipulative ways. Her well planned out strategy for revenge would have been impossible for any woman if woman were how the Greeks portrayed them in all sets of life. Medea rejects the thought of woman being inferior of all parts of the body and mind. Her use of how women were regarded and thought of by all Greek men, enabled her to achieve her plan and ultimately kill the queen, her children, a make her husbands future and happiness more bleak than that of her own.

Medea was able to go through with her revenge because, as she became possessed by her passions for revenge and her cruel and spiteful mindset. Medea was a clever woman, and used others ignorance as a means to obtain her goal, and in turn she has broken down how Athenian women were viewed by their counterparts, men.

“Medea” by Euripides: Jason and Medea

In Medea, by Euripides, the two main characters Jason and Medea are forced to leave Lolkos and have taken refuge in Corinth. Jason has the possibility of establishing a position of standing in the community by marrying King Creons daughter. Medea is enraged by Jasons betrayal of her and their two children and she vows to stop the marriage and exact revenge. In the play, Medea and Jason are set up as foils. Medea is completely dependent on the dominance of passion over reason. She is depicted as conniving, brilliant and powerful. In contrast, Jason is portrayed as a a character of little feeling; he is passionless, obtuse, witless, and weak.

Medea first enters the play and greets the women of the chorus. The chorus has just witnessed her wild lamentations, where she prayed for death and threatened to avenge herself on Jason and his new wife. Medea proceeds to tell the chorus about Jasons betrayal and her own humiliation. She explains how heartbroken she is and the difficulties of being exiled in a city were she knows no one. She has no family or friends in Corinth and has been completely dependent on Jason. She laments the gloomy despair into which she has fallen.

During this exchange she reveals to the chorus that she intends to devise a plan to break up the marriage and seek revenge against Jason. She explains that while most women would not stand up to for themselves, she will not remain defenseless: but, when once she is wronged in the matter of love, No other soul can hold so many thoughts of blood. In this scene Medea is not speaking calmly or reasonably. She is undoubtable distraught, and her thoughts and actions are being controlled by her hatred. The emotionally irrational elements of Medeas character are exhibited through her inability to control her passion , consequently leading her to vengeance.

Later in the play Jason does the reasonable thing and tries to reconcile the problems with Medea. He is obviously not aware that he has done anything wrong. He feels he has merely done what any man in his place would do. Through his marriage to the princess he is now the the heir to the throne of Corinth, which is ultimately something that will benefit Medea and her children. He wants to regain status for his family and give his children to opportunity to have royal lineage. Jasons plan is to achieve a better life for himself and bring his children out of poverty. All of this would eventually benefit Medea, and he does not understand why Medea can not see things his way.

His contention is that his plan would have worked out perfectly if Medea had only acted sensibly. He blames her for crying out for justice and for making threats against the royal family. If she had not threatened Creon and his daughter, Medea would not be facing exile. Because of Medeas threats, Creons animosity spreads to the children and he insists that they all be sent away. Through their entire conversation Jason does not permit himself to be controlled by passion.

He keeps his head clear and simply lays down the facts. It is not like him to let his feeling free play like Medea does. He is there to offer her money and a tell her about her place of exile. He explains that it will be painful to see his children go, but Medea alone is to blame for that. When she refuses his offer of money, Jason calls to the gods to to witness that he has tried to help and absolves himself of any responsibility he may have had for Medea and the boys.

Medea loses her temper completely in response to Jasons smug summary of the events: Oh coward in every way that is what I call you, with bitterness reproach for your lack of manliness….it is worst of all human disease, shamelessness. Medea reminds Jason of everything she has done for him, how she betrayed her own father and family and and followed him to Corinth. Now he has taken on a new wife and deserted their two children. She is enraged that she has given up everything for him and still it does not bother him that they have been exiled and basically condemned to a life of begging and poverty. Medea refuses to accept Jasons money saying that there is no benefit in the gifts of a bad man. Jason leaves and Medea calls after him to go to his wench.

This scene shows the absolute opposing personalities of these two characters. Throughout the entire scene Jason shows no passion, he is not there because he is big hearted.

Instead, he is there because Creon has granted her one more day in Corinth and offering her money for her exile is the appropriate thing to do. However, Medea on the other hand is consumed with rage, she is obsessed by vengeance and refuses to look at things rationally. At this point her and her children’s future is uncertain and if she is to be exiled she will need money. But Medea cannot see things this way, she is aroused into a frenzy of hatred and passion, a combination which makes her incapable of being sensible.

As the play continues on, Medea moves forward with her scheme against Jason. She talks to Aegeus and works out a plan where she is guaranteed asylum in Athens after she kills Jason and the Princess. With her future secure Medea discloses the steps of her plan. She will ask Jason to convince the princess to let the children remain in Corinth. With that, Medea will send the children to the palace with gifts. One gift a beautiful frock, embedded with poison. When the princess puts it on, the poison will eat her alive. Whoever attempts to take off the gown will themselves be killed by the acid. This will destroy the princess father as well.

Next comes the most savage part of Medeas plan. After killing the king and princess she will perpetrate the most heinous crime of all, she intended to kill her children. She admits that it will be difficult because she loves them, but it is more important to see Jason suffer. Medea will stop at nothing to ensure that Jason remains miserable until his dying day.
The chorus tries to persuade her to reconsider her plan, but Medeas responds with: So it must be. No compromise is possible.

In the scene where Medea is asking Jason to get the children pardoned we see another perfect example of the two characters opposing personalities. Medea pretends to be submissive and she begs for Jasons forgiveness. She is using her intelligence as a weapon against him. She humbles herself to him and tricks him into believing she is sincere. She plays upon his trust and feeble mindedness and use flattery to convinces him to obtain permission for the children to live in the palace at Corinth. Jason is too oblivious to even be suspicious of Medea. Medea is calculated and powerful, while Jason appears clue less and weak.

Medeas plan also reveals her passionate intensity to exact revenge. It is not enough that Jason have to deal with the death of his new wife and father, she insists that he incur the deaths of his children as well. Her passion drives her to the point of savagery, her obsession overcomes any love that she holds for her children.

The death of her children was part of her plan of vengeance that was meant to pierce Jason in the heart. But towards the end of the play Medea becomes torn between her love for her children and her hatred of Jason. She sends her children away because she cant not look at them anymore is she plans to maintain her vengeful anger. At first Medea feels she can not do this foul deed and she plans to take her children with her to Athens: Ah, what is wrong with me? Do I want to let go my enemies unhurt and be laughed at for it? I must face this thing. Oh, but what a weak women even to admit to my mind these soft arrangement. For a brief moment she cannot decide what she should do. In the end she will suppress any maternal love she has for her children and kill the two boys: I know indeed what evils I intend to do, But stronger then all my after thoughts is my fury, fury that brings upon mortals the greatest evil.

At the conclusion of the play Medeas plan finally comes to fruition. Both the princess and the king die from the poisonous garments. Jason rushes to Medea in attempt to save the children from royal vengeance, but he is too late. When he arrives at the house the chorus informs him of what has happened and that his children are dead at the hands of their mother. Above the roof of the house a flying chariot appears with Medea and the bodies of the two children. Jason begs Medea to let him have the bodies so he can bury and mourn to them, but she refuses. He begs her to let him kiss them one last time, but of course she will not. Jason is left weeping and groaning, while Medea rides off triumphant. She will bury her children at Heras temple on the prometory and then fly to her sanctuary in Athens.

In the final scene of the play Jason is once again cast as Medeas foil. Throughout the entire play he has been clue less as to what she is capable of. At the end Medea is portrayed in a almost mystical aura, she is victorious and powerful. She is in control of everything and she has successfully accomplished what she set out to do. The king and princess are both dead, and Jason will live out his dying days in misery. Jason remains completely powerless at the hands of Medea, all he can to is beg for his children and plead with the Gods to punish Medea: Oh God do you hear it, this persecution, these my suffering from a hateful women, this monster, murderess of children? Still what I can do that I will do: I will lament and cry upon heaven, calling the gods to bear my witness how you have killed my boys and prevent me from touching their bodies of giving them burial. Jason is portrayed as helpless against Medea.

Medea is a strong proud women, she is dominated by her passion and her refusal to submit to injustice. Despite her unrestrained emotions she remains calculated and controlling. Medea is lead by her heart and by her passion. Her husband Jason is the complete antithesis of Medea, he is her opposite and foil. Throughout the play he is depicted as passionless and weak. He uses pure logic to guide his every decision. He is void of most worthy qualities. Medea embodies strength, intelligence and passion, while Jason represents weakness and feeble mindedness.

Medea: Study Guide

Authorial information

Euripedes lived from ca. 485 to ca. 406 B.C. making him younger thank Aeschylus and Sophocles, and making him the last of the great writers of tragedy in the golden age of Athens. His emphasis on human emotions and the psychology of individuals has proven more widely popular than philosophical beliefs shown in his older contemporary works. Medea, first produced in 431 B.C., features strong dramatic situations and is focused on the heroine Medea. Medea’s attitude of feminine pride and is a contradiction of tradition.

Author’s unique style

Euripedes was a revolutionary during his time, portraying women in a light never before seen in literature. He preferred to dignify women and show men as the villains. Euripedes also used the factor of the women’s role to show the weakness in humans and their believe systems. He would use the common people as characters rather then heroes, as shown in most epics.

Euripedes preferred situations that showed characters torn between conflicting desires. For instance in Medea, the plot to kill Medea’s two children attracts mixed feelings. Her great love for her sons causes her to question, which is greater, revenge or love. The violent obsessions prevail though, bringing the death of her sons and her acquiring revenge upon her husband.

Setting

Medea was based in 5th century B.C. Greece during an age when women were seen as inferior to men. Yet Medea is portrayed as the heroine and the as being more clever then the two male characters, Creon and Jason.

The story of Medea takes place in Corinth, in front on Medea’s house. Though many events do take place in other regions of the city, we only obtain knowledge of them through hearsay. Euripedes used this tool in theaters for the audience to visualize the actions instead of cheapening the experience with the few special affects available to them.

Theme

Medea had one obvious theme; hell hath no fury like that of a woman’s scorn. It is apparent from the opening statement of the Nurse that Medea is a very heartless towards anyone who has crossed her. Once Jason’s betrayal is exposed to Medea, she immediately starts to thinks of in a murderous mentality toward Jason. She goes through any means necessary to hurt Jason.

Characters

Medea was born under king Aetees of Colchis as a witch-princess. As a youth she met Jason the Argonaut and fell instantly in love, as was planned by the gods. This drove her to betray her family and homeland of Colchis by aiding Jason in the retrieval of the Golden Fleece. After this she was forced to leave with Jason, who she later wed. After many years though, Jason fell for another and crossed Medea in a way no one should. This led Medea to thirst for a revenge far more devious then many can imagine. She planned to kill her to children and Jason’s new found love. After succeeding in the destruction of Jason’s whole point in existence she fled in a dragon drawn chariot to Athens where she has been promised refuge.

The Nurse has been the person who took care of the motherly duties for Medea since her birth. Of course, because of this she knows about Medea’s evil tendencies and how vengeful she truly is. She also acts as a reference to the past, as seen in the beginning passage of the play she tells the background information needed to understand the events that follow. Her main goal throughout the work is to enhance Medea’s persona, but also to show true intentions as poetic justice and not as a malicious act.

Jason the Argonaut was the heir to the throne of Iolchus. His uncle, Pelias, sent him on a mission, to retrieve the Golden Fleece, a mission he knew Jason could not overcome. The turning point for Jason was that before he departed he prayed to Aphrodite. She then made the princess of Colchis, Medea, fall in love with Jason and she helped him succeed in his mission. They then returned to Greece, where years later Jason betrayed Medea by wedding a royal virgin. He hopes to persuade Medea to let him live in peace with his current bride. Medea flawed this plan when she viciously executed Jason’s wife, father-in-law, and both of her children bore from Jason.

Creon is the king of Corinth and father to Jason’s bride. He is first introduced through hearsay when the Tutor warns Medea’s Nurse that Creon plans to exile Medea. He actually appears to decree the ostracism of Medea for protection of himself and his daughter from Medea’s rage. This vain warning was countered by Medea’s pleas of mercy; in turn Creon granted her an extra day to acquire any provisions and a sanctuary in which she could survive in after being exiled. This was his downfall, the day extension gave Medea ample time to plan the assassination of Creon, his daughter, and her two sons.

Aeges is the king of Athens and the man who promises refuge to Medea under one condition; she travels by her own means. In return for this, Medea promises to reveal the secrets of why he is sterile. Although Aeges does not appear often through the play, he plays a very important role.

Quotes

The quote “But now, if you must stay, stay for this day alone. For in it you can do none of the things I fear.” made by Creon on page 12 shows irony since the reader knows that Medea plans to wrong Creon and his family in the following twenty-four hours.

On page 20 when Medea states “A curse, that is what I am to become to your house too.” shows foreshadowing. It has not yet exposed that fact that Medea plans to take the life of her two children, but it sends a message that she plans to hurt someone from her family, be it Jason or her children.

Medea’s last words to her children- “I wish you happiness, but not here in this world.”- expose her intentions and that they are, for lack of a better term, dead men walking. It is foreshadowing in a way even though we had future incentive that she plans to murder her children to gain vengeance on Jason. In a way, it is foreshadowing that this is the final time we will see them alive and that Medea will finally gain her vengeance.

Glossary

The following literary terms are used through Medea. With these literary devices, Medea was made to be one of the greatest Greek plays ever.

Tragedy is a story whose ending possesses a powerful feeling of sorrow and remorse, usually ending in the death of either one or more of the main characters or a great lose to the cause of the hero or heroine. Medea is a tragedy because of the great loses to both Medea and Jason at the end of the play. Although, this is what Medea planned, the death of her two sons and the fact that she was the murderer is saddening to the audience.

A tragic hero is a hero is which starts out at a high point, being very wealthy and/or admired, and slowly falls to the having nothing and being looked upon as lowly and worthless.

Foreshadowing is when the author reveals later parts of the story through hints and irony. Medea uses foreshadowing throughout the play. For instance, when King Creon says that he will extend Medea’s stay for a day because nothing drastic can be done in that short period shows foreshadowing in an ironic way. Since the reader knows what Medea plans they get the hint that she will, in fact, be able to perform her assault against the Jason in the allotted time.

Internal conflict is the battle between a character and his conscious or two conflicting moral beliefs. In Medea, there is the internal conflict of whether she can bring herself to kill her two sons or not. Although this will hurt Jason, Medea cares more for her children then Jason ever did. The conflicting arguments is if fulfilling her vengeance towards Jason is worth the lose she will endure.

Plot summary

To truly understand Medea the preceding story of Jason the Argonaut’s quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the land of Colchis. This quest was a fatal one for any brave adventurer. Because of this, he prays to Aphrodite for assistance in this dangerous deed.

Aphrodite offers her assistance by having the witch-princess Medea fall deeply in love with Jason. Therefore, she betrays her whole family and land by giving Jason safe access to the fleece and passage out of the land unscathed.

The play then sets off in Corinth, where Medea has just learned that Jason has left her for a royal virgin bride. With Medea’s evil nature, she immediately plans revenge upon her adulterous husband. Medea’s nurse and her sons’ tutor discuss the rumors of the possible ostracism of Medea from Corinth. The scene then transfers to Medea just as King Creon, kill of Corinth, arrives to order Medea’s banishment from the city. She pleas with Creon to give her a day extension, so she fulfill her plans against Jason and his future bride’s family.

After she cleverly convinces Creon to give her time to plan a sanctum and provisions for herself and her sons, she was able to finish her plans against the royal family. Once she left Creon and constructed her sinister plans, she needed a place to flee, but was unable to remember any allies after her assault against her homeland for Jason. Luckily, Aegeus, King of Athens and an old friend of Medea, was on a journey to seek advice from the oracle of Phoebus. He was questioning the oracle for guidance on childbirth so that he has an heir to his kingdom. Medea promises to reveal the secret to his childlessness if in return he promises her refuge after her banishment from Corinth. He agrees on the sole condition that she travels by her own means, asking him for no assistance.

Since Medea is now guaranteed a safe place to reside in, she initiates her attack upon Jason. She goes about her ploy very cleverly; first, weakening their defenses with kindness; then strikes maliciously. She calls for Jason and apologizes to him and begs him to let her bring gifts to his bride if order to win her favor so that her children could stay with him and not be exiled as well. After much arguing, Jason concedes his disagreements with Medea for the sake of his children. Little does her know what a fatal mistake it was.
The gifts Medea outfits for the bride are cursed by her magic to bestow a deadly poison upon the flesh and a ring of fire around the crown of whom ever adorns the fine woven gown and tiara. She sends her two sons to relay these two items to the princess, not knowing of the crimes they are assisting in.

Once the princess has worn the gifts she shows immediate approval and adores herself in her mirror. Suddenly she sends out a blood-curdling scream and the spells take their affect upon her. After hearing this her father, King Creon, rushes in to aid his fallen daughter. In turn too is taken by the spells placed upon the dress and tiara.

Jason rushes to confront Medea about the evil acts taken committed against his marital family. He returns to late though, hearing the death cries or both of his sons at the hands of their mother, Medea. Before he can become a witness to these atrocious acts, Medea boards the chariot of Helius, drawn by dragons, with the bodies of their children. She once again curses Jason to a life of suffering that will end in a pitifully death without any distinction. Medea flees to Athens where she lives until her death, and Jason dies from after being struck by a timber from his ship, dying without any distinction just as Medea said.

Contrasting Apollo & Dionysus

In Greek mythology, Apollo and Dionysus are nearly opposites of one another, and as with many opposites, life would not operate just quite right without both of them. They each played a specific role for the Greeks. They had very different things associated with them. Apollo was often associated with logic and the power of the mind. He was basically in charge of the Work section of the people. Logic is something the Greeks used often, and when they didn’t, things often happened for the worst. He is also associated with intellect.

The followers of Apollo would consist of hose who strongly believed in the things he was thought to control. These people would believe in logic, they would believe in reason, and they would also pay attention to the power of the human mind. Another thing Apollo is associated with is music, so he would also be worshipped by music lovers. Apollo is worshipped in religion to provide his followers with logical thought and a good intellect. As for Greek thought, he was also very in control of this.

The Oracle at Delphi, mentioned in, but not only in, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. The Oracle was there to bestow knowledge from Apollo onto those who came to it. Another reason people looked to Apollo was to help heal the sick and the dying, because he is associated with medicine, probably because of his vast knowledge. Dionysus, on the other hand, represents the Play side of life. He is the god of emotions, the god of wine, and also the god of fertility. Some things attributed to Dionysus are the dithyrambs, or choral hymns, sung for him but the people.

This was how they praised him. Drama is also directly associated with him. Being the god of wine and the god of fertility led to some very strange things in situations where Dionysus prevailed over Apollo. Many drunken orgies ook place during this time. The Dionysion followers might be thought of as all the people who enjoyed wine, the people who attended and enjoyed the Festival of Dionysus (leading to perhaps all current people who enjoy the drama), and to those who prayed for fertility.

The Greeks also acknowledged the existence of Dionysus as much as they did the existence of Apollo, so everyone who worshipped them dually would also be a follower. This means that Dionysus probably had just as large a following as Apollo, of not more because of the social aspect of life. The status of Dionysus for religion is that the is the god of fertility, o the dithyrambs that were in honor of Dionysus were also a way of praying for a good harvest or for many children.

Like Osiris, he was reborn after dying, and it is believed that these festivals may be linked to ceremonies that took place in Egypt. Most Greeks worshipped both Apollo and Dionysus. This acceptance of both their existences brings about a balance of the two forces. It is interesting that the Temple to Apollo is right next to the ruins of a Dionysion theater in Ancient Greece. Also, Apollo was represented with music, and Dionysus with the theater, and these two things go hand in hand.

Progression Towards Light

Aeschylus use of darkness and light as a consistent image in the Oresteia depicts a progression from evil to goodness, disorder to order. In the Oresteia, there exists a situation among mortals which has gotten out of control; a cycle of death has arisen in the house of Atreus. There also exists a divine disorder within the story which, as the situation of the mortals, must be brought to resolution: the Furies, an older generation of gods, are in conflict with the younger Olympian gods because they have been refused their ancient right to avenge murders between members of the same family.

The Oresteia presents two parallel conflicts, both of which must be resolved if harmony is ever to be desired again. As one can expect, these conflicts eventually do find their resolutions, and the images of darkness and light accompany this progression, thereby emphasizing the movement from evil to good. The use of darkness imagery first emerges in the Agamemnon. In this first play of the trilogy, the cycle of death which began with the murder and consumption of Thyestes children continues with Clytaemestras murder of Agamemnon and Cassandra.

The darkness which is present in the beginning of the story is further magnified by the death of Agamemnon. This is illustrated when Clytaemestra says, Thus he [Agamemnon] went down, and the life struggled out of him; and as he died he spattered me with the dark red and violent driven rain of bitter savored blood (lines 1388-1390). Clytaemestra has evilly and maliciously murdered her own husband; thus the image of the dark blood. The darkness is representative of the evil which has permeated the house of Atreus, and which has persisted with this latest gruesome act of murder.

Because darkness results from the death of Agamemnon, Aeschylus clearly illustrates that this murder was nothing but pure evil. As long as this type of evil continues to be practiced in the house of Atreus, darkness will continue to emerge. The Oresteia has not yet seen the light. The beginning of the progression from darkness to light can initially be seen in the second play of the trilogy, The Libation Bearers. Orestes is the embodiment of this light, a beacon signalling a possible end in the evil that has infected the house of Atreus.

It is true that Orestes, in revenge for Agamemnon, kills his mother Clytaemestra. Yet the darkness that is expected from such a murder, a matricide, is negated by one of the main reasons that Orestes commits the murder: his fear of the wrath of Apollo, who has ordered him to commit the deadly act. Aeschylus provides Orestes with a justification for his action in the form of the oracle from Apollo. For not only does Orestes murder of his mother fail to differ greatly from Clytaemestras murder of Agamemnon, but it can in fact be seen as a worse crime because of the blood ties.

Therefore, in order to convincingly prove his assertion that Orestes is justified in killing his mother, Aeschylus must include the order from Apollo, who by no mere coincidence is the god of light. With the divine support of the light god on his side, Orestes is the beginning of the progressive illumination towards goodness and order in the Oresteia. Another example of Orestes introduction of light into a story of darkness occurs later in The Libation Bearers. The chorus is describing the dream that Clytaemestra has had of giving birth to a snake, which represents Orestes.

The chorus sings of Clytaemestras fear as she awakens from the nightmare: She woke screaming out of her sleep, shaky with fear, as torches kindled all about the house, out of the blind dark that had been on them (lines 535-537). Aeschylus describes the house of Clytaemestra, the rightful house of Atreus and the Atridae, as dark; this darkness has been caused by none other than her own murderous deeds. She has dreamt of the coming of her son Orestes to avenge his father, and the torches that light up the house signal this coming. Clearly, Orestes is the man who will restore light to the house of Atreus.

Orestes is looked upon by those characters sympathetic to his plight (namely Electra and the chorus of The Libation Bearers) as the light which will bring an end to the evil in the house of Atreus. Soon after Orestes reveals his identity to his sister, he proclaims that he will avenge his fathers murder. The chorus, who represent the subjects of the late Agamemnon, express their gratitude for Orestes decision when they say, But when strength came back hope lifted me again, and the sorrow was gone and the light was on me (lines 415-417).

Orestes arrival and his resolution to make his mother pay for her crimes illuminates the darkness which Clytaemestra has brought upon the royal house; the chorus, in proclaiming that the light is on them, recognize that Orestes is the man who will achieve this illumination. Electra also recognizes that Orestes will bring good to an evil situation: O bright beloved presence, you bring back four lives to me (lines 238-239). Orestes presence brightens the dark, gloomy state of mind of Electra just as it brightens the dark, gloomy situation in the house of Atreus.

Following the murder of Clytaemestra and Aegisthus at the hands of Orestes, light is finally restored to the conflict within the mortal house of Atreus. Orestes has fulfilled the oracle imposed upon him by Apollo, and the darkness, the evil of Clytaemestra, has been defeated. In reference to this defeat, the chorus proclaims, Light is here to behold. The big hit that held our house is taken away (lines 961-962). The disorder and darkness that had reigned in the house of Atreus exists no longer; Orestes has given his family illumination. The evil darkness has been overcome by the good light.

Another way in which Aeschylus manifests the imagery of light and darkness is through the conflict between the Olympic and Chthonic gods. The Olympic gods are represented in the Oresteia by Apollo and Athene. Aeschylus ties together the ideas of justice and reason, Athenes domain, with the idea of light, of which Apollo is god. By contrast, the black clad Chthonic gods, the Furies, tie together the idea of darkness with the idea of bloody revenge, which is their area of specialization. In the Eumenides, Pythia says of the Furies, They are black and utterly repulsive, and they snore with breath that drives one back (lines 52-53).

The contrast between the two different races of gods sets up Aeschylus second progression from darkness to light in the Oresteia. The Furies are at first incapable of treating Orestes with the justice that he deserves. They do not take into account the circumstances under which Orestes killed his mother, specifically the pressure which he had received from Apollo. Therefore, the Furies are at first enraged that Athene allows Orestes to escape their dark and bloody vengeance. Eventually, however, the Furies hate begins to subside and they accept the arbitration of Athene, who offers them land and honor in Athens.

This acceptance marks the beginning of their movement from darkness to light. They embrace the just attitude of the Olympic gods Apollo and Athene, progressing from a doctrine of bloody revenge to one of reason and justice. The light images emerge along with this progression, and the Furies proclaim near the end of the Eumenides: So with forecast of good I speak this prayer for them [the citizens of Athens] that the suns bright magnificence shall break out wave on wave of all the happiness life can give , across their land (lines 921-925).

The Chthonic gods have given up their dark ways and have called for light. This light image is also manifested in the garments that the Furies change into at the end of the Eumenides: where they had previously worn black robes, they now wear bright crimson robes. Now calling themselves the Eumenides, or Benevolent Ones, these gods have progressed from symbols of evil darkness into symbols of bright goodness. In his trilogy the Oresteia, Aeschylus use of darkness and light imagery coincides with his progression of themes.

Orestes, who represents light, brings and end to the vicious cycle of dark death continued by Clytaemestra. He illuminates the dark evil in the house of Atreus. Likewise, Athene and Apollo bring the Furies out of their dark, blood-lusting ways and into an order of justice and reason, transforming them into the brightly clad Benevolent Ones. In the end, goodness prevails over evil just as light conquers darkness. Aeschylus effectively makes use of his images to emphasize this movement.

Caged Birds Gone Mad

Women today tend to speak assertively for their rights. However, the social structures in which we live sometimes still make it difficult for us to actualize the full range of our creative abilities. In literature as dated as fairy tales and Greek mythology, writers have used characters who exemplified the caged woman. In the fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty is “caged” behind a wall of briars and Snow White is trapped inside a glass coffin. Ironically, both princesses were caged by a madwoman who was once a caged bird herself.

The Greek story of Medea’s Revenge, tells of Medea, a woman who feels so rejected by her husband that she kills their children because their features and mannerisms are like those of their father. The forgotten godmother, the jealous stepmother, and Medea all represent caged birds gone mad. In Nancy Barr’s play, Mrs. Cage, Lillian Cage is a perfect example of a woman whose mobility has been reduced by mainly her marriage, her social standing and upbringing. Mrs. Cage was trapped in a stifling marriage where she was simply a status symbol to her husband.

She helped him project the type of image he needed as an attorney. Mr. Cage paid her little attention after Elizabeth was born and this caused Lillian’s slow but obvious progression from a caged woman to a madwoman. It may have begun with her ironing his shirts. One of Mrs. Cage’s favorite memories is of the times when Mr. Cage had difficult cases and needed her to bring new shirts to the courthouse. It seems her only real connection with him is in his shirts. She had obviously become obsessed even to the point where it was obvious to Elizabeth who tells her to take the shirts to the cleaners.

Lillian becomes very upset with this suggestion-a sign to the audience of her rising anxiety. Lillian is also bound by the conventions of her social standing. One of Mrs. Cage’s main concerns is a good appearance. She judges people by their cleanliness and manners for she feels this is what she’s judged by. In the screenplay, all of the appliances and walls in the house are white or light pastel colors. These colors tend to be hard to keep clean, however Mrs. Cage not only manages to keep them clean, but gleaming. When she cooks dinner, she prepares a full course meal.

When she leaves the house, simply to go to the grocery store, she puts on make-up, pantyhose, and even a slip. This proves that she is not only concerned with what people think about her inside of her home, but she is also concerned with how she presents herself outside of her home. Unfortunately, she does not have much else to be concerned with. Thus, her obsession. Mrs. Cage’s upbringing was the beginning of her road towards madness. In past generations, the caged bird was the prevailing pattern of feminine existence.

The good woman was a submissive wife who stayed at home, cleaned the house, and took care of her husband and children. This idea trapped many women and their daughters who had to accept this role and suppress their anger or rebel and suffer the consequences. She was caged by the projections of her parents and in turn expects Elizabeth to do the same. Lillian has obviously been raised by a mother who had the same projections as she does for Elizabeth. However, Lillian chose to accept the role of housewife while Elizabeth prefers the role of careerwoman.

In these types of situations, if the daughter’s goals and expectations are the opposite of the mother’s she will rebel and as seen in Mrs. Cage, the daughter of a stay-at-home mother may want a career. Mrs. Cage is upset by the different marital standards Elizabeth possesses. She feels marriage is for life while Elizabeth has a husband she’s thinking of divorcing and a new boyfriend. It is Mrs. Cage’s disdain for her daughter’s behavior that ultimately leads to her final act of madness. Phyllis Dean represents the type of woman Mrs. Cage may have always wanted to be but could not due to all of her “cages”.

She sees in her Elizabeth. When she is in the police station, she basically draws a character sketch of Phyllis Dean although she never knew her, based on what she’s observed in Elizabeth but cannot control-unconventional (the divorce), career-minded (she’s an attorney), rule-breaking (she has lots of parking tickets). However, at the grocery store, she is for a brief moment, given the power to control the situation-the gun. In one brief moment, she is released from her cage. As human beings we live in the paradox of our need for freedom and independence and our desire for security and safety.

We must learn not to be trapped in cages of society, convention, and tradition. Mrs. Cage’s dilemma is that she is trapped in a cycle of being trapped. She moves from the cage of her parents, to the cage of her marriage and social standing, to the ultimate cage of prison. At work we put on our “game faces”. We wear different clothes for different occasions. Our speech and tone change depending on the audience. If we reduced ourselves to one role or identity rather than trying to be an entire, whole, healthy life we could become our own jailers.

Artemis – Greek mythology

Artemis was born of Leto and Zeus, on the island of Delos, later helping with the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo. Some sources state that her actual birthplace is not Delos, but an island called Ortygia. Although the two islands could be one and the same, it is not clear. In helping with the birth of her brother Artemis fulfilled her role as a goddess of childbirth (which she shares with Eileithyia and Hera). She is the goddess of chastity, the hunt and the moon, too. But I’ll get more into those later. Artemis was closely linked with her brother.

For example, sudden death, particularly of the young, was often attributed to them (Artemis killing the girls and Apollo the boys). In fact, a rather famous legend involves both Artemis and Apollo. The story is told at length by the poet Ovid, in his Metamorphoses. The women of Thebes gave Leto great honor, often offering generous gifts and hymns to her which upset Niobe. After all, She had seven daughters and seven sons, whereas Leto merely had the twins. Besides, she was rich and beautiful, and the queen of Thebes. So Niobe claimed that she deserved the attention and honor more then Leto. Upon hearing this Leto was infuriated.

She couldn’t believe such blatant hubris, and complained to her two children. To avenge their insulted mother, Apollo and Artemis went to the palace of Thebes and with their unerring shafts, they shot down all 14 of Niobe’s children (Artemis the girls and Apollo the boys). Niobe was turned to stone and placed atop a mountain. It is said that tears continue to trickle down her marble face, with the grief of her dead children. As the goddess of chastity, Artemis is modest, pure, and virginal. One famous story depicting her chaste nature is the story of Actaeon, also told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Actaeon was a passionate hunter. Out on his hunt, one day, he found himself lost, and stumbled upon Artemis bathing with her nymphs in a stream in the forest. Without her arrows at hand, she flung water over the surprised Actaeon. To ensure that he could never tell of seeing the modest goddess nude, she turned him into a stag. He fled but was hunted and killed by his own hunting hounds. Though severe, Artemis protected her virginal nature (even if it may have been an accident to begin with). Another story in which her purity is protected by her ardent actions was that of Callisto, a follower of Artemis.

Callisto, a sworn maid and fervent follower of the goddess, was raped and impregnated by Zeus. Ashamed of what had happened, she withdrew and hid her body. At a time when she had began to show, the goddess requested that Callisto and the nymphs bathe with her in the cool stream. Artemis immediately percieved the girl’s naked and pregnant figure, and expelled her from her group of followers; she could not be defiled by the company of Callisto. Hera, the wife of Zeus, became angry when she learned of Callisto and her son Arcas, and turned her into a bear.

Callisto, later nearly hunted by her own son,– ignorant of his parentage– was saved, and Zeus whisked both into the heavens. They are now the constellations, Callisto, the great bear, and Arcas, the little bear. Constellations also figure into another such story about Artemis. In the story of Orion, he is out hunting when he encounters Artemis. He tries to rape her, and in her fury she makes a scorpion out of the earth to sting him to death. It is said that both can be seen in the night sky now– Scorpio the scorpion and Orion the hunter.

Orion’s hunting dog was also turned into the constellation Canis Major, with Sirius as the dog star. The story of Hippolytus, written by the poet Euripides, shows a softer side of the young goddess’ nature. Hippolytus, an ardent and devoted follower of Artemis, refused to honor the sensual Aphrodite, goddess of lust and physical love. Hippolytus was pure and chaste, and wanted nothing to do with the voluptuous and sex-driven Aphrodite; he honored Artemis foremost. Enraged by the hubris of Hippolytus’ blatant disregardof her, Aphrodite sought revenge.

She made his stepmother, Phaedra, fall desperately in love with him. When Hippolytus found out, he was horrified. Mortified that others might find out, and frustrated by Hippolytus’ callous and intemperate response to her feelings, Phaedra hanged herself and left a deceitful note saying that Hippolytus had forced himself on her. Hippolytus’ father, Theseus, upon reading the note found on his dead wife, cursed his son to death (by the sea god Poseidon). In the end the goddess Artemis reveals all to Theseus. Before dying, Hippolytus forgave his father, whose sorrow would haunt him for life.

Afterwards Artemis honored Hippolytus with ceremonies held in his honor in Troezen each year. Artemis is often confused with both Selene, the moon goddess, and Hecate, goddess of roads, ghosts, witches, and the moon, who is also a fertility goddess. Although Artemis is a virgin, she is depicted as a fertility goddess (Artemis of the Ephesians)– like the goddess of childbirth, already cited). The three manifestations of her character as goddess of the moon are Selene in the heavens, Artemis on earth, and Hecate in the underworld. In art, she is often shown with the crescent moon on her crown.

Other attributes, not related to the moon, include her bow and arrow, an animal or two by her side, and a torch (to portray the light of birth, life, and fertility). The common perception of the goddess is that of the virgin huntress, regardless of the other conceptions of her. As the daughter of Zeus and Leto, Artemis was an Olympian. Her main vocation was to roam mountain forests and uncultivated land with her faithful nymphs, hunting. As the goddess of childbirth, not only for humans, but for animals too, she not only hunted, but also saw that they were protected and safe, and was responsible for overseeing their reproduction.

As for other contradictions to the goddess’ chaste character, she was seen as the protectress of women in labor, the guardian of small children, and the patron of women in childbirth. But she is said to bring on sudden death while a woman gives birth, which is yet another contradiction in character. For Artemis as a divinity of healing (as was her brother Apollo), another interesting inconsistency is that she was also thought to be responsible for bringing and spreading disease (for example, leprosy, rabies, gout, etc. ). Artemis was honored all over the Greek world.

In Ephesus, a great temple was even built in her honor, which was later named one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. She had two sanctuaries in Sparta as well. Among the epithets given to Artemis were Potnia Theron (mistress of wild animals), Kourotrophos (nurse of youths), Locheia (helper in childbirth), Agrotera (huntress), and Cynthia (taken from Mt. Cynthus on Delos, where she was born). As a goddess, Artemis was pure and divine. Though perhaps rash at times, she was an honorable representation of true chastity and goodness.

Differences and Similarities: Apollo and Dionysus

In Greek Mythology a rivalry always occurs between certain Gods and Goddesses. In the case of Apollo and Dionysus there is no exception. They are half brothers, both sons of Zues and they compete just as most brothers do. Though the two Greek Gods, Apollo and Dionysus, were actually very similar in some ways, they severely contrasted in others. Dionysus, son of Zues and Semele and Apollo, son of Zues and Leto, both were born under strange conditions.

Dionysus was born from the thigh of Zues after being fully grown, and Apollo’s mother, Leto, was in labor for nine days with him because Hera did not want him to be born and would not give Leto a safe place for the child to be delivered. Both these Gods have the need for power and a very creative drive. They spent their youth recruiting new worshipers for their respective cults in which they started, each cult showing their divinity. They are both associated with the phenomenon of ecstasy, meaning to stand outside oneself.

In one such case, Apollo’s priestess Pythia was overcome by his spirit and began speaking in tongues. Also when possessed by Dionysus, his followers similarly changed there normal actions, breaking into wild dances and \”experienced a rapturous sense of union with their God. \” This shows how they made contact with humans, but in very different ways. The Differences between Apollo and Dionysus are not difficult to see. Though both Gods are associated with music and dance, their musical styles are dissimilar.

Apollo plays the golden lyre, which invokes feelings of harmony and serenity. Dionysus, on the other hand, invents the timbrel, it is a drum beaten to furious, erratic rhythms that express his compulsive nature. Apollo retains abstract intellect, he is an educator of young men, and promotes logical and rational thought. Dionysus desires irrational power, he liberates humans to explore there potential for emotional and behavioral extremes, he allows his unconscious to flourish, and he is embodied by spontaneous emotion.

Greek tradition said that each year Apollo left his sanctuary at Delphi to live with the Hyperboreans, a mythical tribe inhabiting the extreme north. When he did that, Dionysus reigned in Delphi for the 3 winter months. During these months a noticeable change would come over people. Spontaneity came over everyone, and the concept of rational thought would be lost until Apollo’s return. Obviously Dionysus was much more liberal when compared to Apollo. One would clearly be able to see these noticeable similarities between Dionysus and Apollo, but I feel that their severe differences are not as obvious.

When taken into consideration, half-brothers that are both Gods would not be deemed such opposites. Their character’s express extreme parallels of personality, one being passive and the other more aggressive. I believe that for all of Apollo and Dionysus’ similarities, that they are more different than anyone would conclude. It doesn’t seem that they would meet eye to eye on any one subject and that their only real connection is the father that they share.

Structural Levels of The Iliad

Wars are often very complex in nature and are fought for many diverse reasons. The school boy may fight in order to get money for college, the patriot may fight to bring life, liberty and justice to some poor soul, and a coward may fight because he was drafted by force. In the Iliad, powerful gods, great nations, and heroic people all fight for many different reasons. This wide variety of fighting results in unique situations, problems, and structural levels to the war. These structural levels are of special interest, because they help define the consequences and outcomes of the war.

The universal war of the gods, social war of the Greeks and Trojans, and the private war of Achilles’ honor are structural levels of the Trojan war. These structural levels seem to influence and shape each other in many distinct ways. The universal war between the gods over the apple of discord consequently lead to the social war between the Greeks and the Trojans. For example, Aphrodite promised Paris that he could have the most beautiful woman in the world if he gave the apple of discord to her. He did so, and decided to go and get his reward.

Unfortunately, the most beautiful women in the world, Helen, was the wife of the Greek King Menelaus. The abduction of Helen by Paris lead to the Trojan war. The promise made by Aphrodite to Paris in order to get the apple of discord resulted in the abduction of Helen and the start of the Trojan war. Therefore, Aphrodite, in the universal war, set the stage for the social war of the Greeks and Trojans. Another time the gods influenced the social war was when the Greeks and Trojans had a one on one battle to decide the outcome of the war. The Greeks chose King Menelaus and the Trojans chose Paris.

Menelaus and Paris fought, but when Paris was about to be killed he was whisked off by Aphrodite. Both sides agreed that the Greeks had won. Zeus decided to start the war again, and he sent Athena to trick Pandaros to shoot at Menelaus, breaking the truce between the Greeks and Trojans. This intervention by Zeus lead to another outbreak of war between the Greeks and Trojans. The universal war of Athena and Hera versus Aphrodite had Zeus so caught up in it that he did not want the social war to end. A god in the universal war once again created the social war between Troy and Greece.

The universal war was the cause of the social war of Greece and Troy. The private war of Achilles’ honor was an outgrowth of the social war between the Greeks and the Trojans. During the social war, Apollo grew angry at the Greeks for the abuse of his priest, Chryses. The Greeks had abused Chryses when Agamemnon took Chryses’ daughter, Chryseis, during the raid of the town of Thebes. Agamemnon wanted a replacement for Chryseis, so he took Briseis from Achilles. This deeply wounded the honor of Achilles, and he decided to stop fighting in the social war until his honor was amended.

Achilles was angered by n event that occurred in the social war, thus providing the need for Achilles to reclaim his honor. The social war was the cause of the private war of Achilles. The opportunity for Achilles to carry out his private war came after the death of his comrade, Patroclus. Because Achilles would not fight, Patroclus asked him if he could wear his armor. Patroclus thought that this might make others think he was Achilles, so that the Trojans might be scared and the Greeks might gain courage and confidence. Achilles consented, and during the ensuing battle Patroclus was killed by Hector.

Achilles now had a way to go ut and fight gloriously, in order to avenge Patroclus’ death as well as to mend his honor that was so wounded by the ransack of Briseis. The social war then influenced the outcome of the private war of Achilles. Events that occurred in the social war created and influence the private war of Achilles to reclaim his honor. The universal war of the gods was deeply impacted by the private war of Achilles. In some instances, the private war of Achilles fueled the universal war of the gods. An example of this was when Achilles was killing Trojans left and right in the river Scamandros.

All of the dead Trojans in the water made Scamandros angry, and he chased Achilles with a huge wave. Athena and Posiedon both saw this, and they called on Hephaistos to burn the river with fire. This massive conflict between the gods was fueled by the result of Achilles’ private war. Essentially, Achilles’ private war was a source of major conflict between the gods. The universal war of the gods was also resolved by some of the effects of Achilles’ private war. The universal war occurred mainly because Hera and Athena felt that Aphrodite should not have received the apple of discord.

This resulted in a symbolic social war that mirrored the war of the gods. Achilles’ effect on the social war, during his private conquest, caused the social war to come to an victorious end for the Greeks. In a way, the victory of the Greeks was a reward to Hera and Athena, in order to compensate for the fact that Aphrodite had received the coveted apple of discord. The private war of Achilles swayed the social war to the extent that it effected the resolution of the universal war of the gods. The private war of Achilles motivated the gods to fight and to resolve the universal war.

All of these examples show the numerous consequences and influences that the structural levels of the Trojan war had on each other and the outcome of the Trojan war. The universal war of the gods over the apple of discord created the social war between the Greeks and Trojans. This social war lead to Achilles’ war to redeem his honor. Achilles’ private conquest then had a enormous effect in giving the Greeks victory of the social war. The resolution of the social war eventually lead to peace on Mt. Olympus. The three structural levels of the Iliad thus created, carried out, and concluded the Trojan war.

Greek Mythology

Mythology was an integral part of the lives of all ancient peoples. The myths of Ancient Greece are the most familiar to us, for they are deeply entrenched in the consciousness of Western civilization. The myths were accounts of the lives of the deities whom the Greeks worshipped. The Greeks had many deities, including 12 principal ones, who lived on Mt. Olympus. The myths are all things to all people a rollicking good yarn, expressions of deep psychological insights, words of spine-tingling poetic beauty and food for the imagination.

They serve a timeless universal need, and have inspired great literature, art and music, roviding archetypes through which we can learn much about the deeper motives of human behavior. No-one has the definitive answer as to why or how the myths came into being, nut many are allegorical accounts of historical facts. The Olympian family were a desperate lot despite being related. The next time you have a bowl of corn flakes give thanks to Demeter the goddess of vegetation. The English word “cereal” for products of corn or edible grain derives from the goddess Roman name, Ceres. In Greek the word for such products is demetriaka.

Demeter was worshipped as he goddess of earth and fertility. Zeus was the king and leader of the 12. His symbol was the thunder and in many of his statues he appears holding one. Poseidon, god of the sea and earthquakes, was most at home in the depths of the Aegean where he lived in a sumptuous golden palace. When he became angry (which was often) he would use his trident to create massive waves and floods. Ever intent upon expanding his domain, he challenged Dionysos for Naxos, Hera for Argos and Athena for Athens. Ares, god of war, was a nasty piece of work fiery tempered, bloodthirsty, brutal and violent.

In contrast Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, symbol of security, happiness and hospitality, was as pure as driven snow. She spurned disputes and wars and swore to be a virgin forever. Hera was not a principal deity; her job was a subservient one she was Zeus cupbearer. Athena, the powerful goddess of wisdom and patron of Athens, is said to have been born (complete with helmet, armor and spear) from Zeus head, with Hephaestus acting as midwife. Unlike Ares, she derived no pleasure from fighting, but preferred settling disputes peacefully using her wisdom; however, if need be she went valiantly into battle.

Hephaestus was worshipped for his matchless skills as a craftsman. When Zeus decided to punish men he asked Hephaestus to make a woman. So Hephaestus made Pandora from clay and water, and, as everyone knows, she had a box, from which sprang all the evils afflicting humankind. Apart fro one misdemeanor, Hephaestus character seems to have been exemplary. During the Trojan War Athena asked the god to make her a new suit of armor. Poseidon, on hearing this, teased Hephaestus by saying that when Athena came to his forge she would expect him to make mad passionate love to her.

As Athena wrested herself from the eager Hephaestus, he ejaculated against her thigh. She removed his seed with wool and threw it away, and Gaea, who happened to pass by, was inadvertently fertilized. When Gaeas unwanted offspring was born, Athena brought him up, and he eventually became King Erichthonius of Athens. Apollo, god of the sun, and Artemis, goddess of the moon, were the twins of Leto and Zeus. Many qualities were attributed to Apollo, for the Ancient Greeks believed that the sun not only gave physical light, but that its light was symbolic of mental illumination.

Apollo was also worshipped as the god of music and song, which the ancients believed were only heard where there was light and security. Artemis was worshipped as the goddess of childbirth and protector of children; yet, paradoxically, she asked Zeus if he would grant her eternal virginity. She was also the protector of suckling animals, but loved to hunt stags! Hermes was born of Maia, daughter of Atlas and one of Zeus paramours. He had an upwardly mobile career. His first job was as protector of the animal kingdom. As the chief source of wealth was cattle, he therefore became the god of wealth.

However, as civilization advanced, trade replaced cattle as the main source of wealth, so Hermes became god of trade. However, a prerequisite for good trade was good commerce, so he became the god of commerce. To progress in commerce a merchant needed to be shrewd, so this attribute was assigned to Hermes. Later it was realized that to excel in commerce one needed to use the art of persuasion, so Hermes was promoted to god of oratory. Last but not least of the 12 principal deities was the beautiful Aphrodite, goddess of love, who rose naked out of the sea. Her tour de force was her magic girdle which made veryone fall in love with its wearer.

The girdle meant she was constantly pursued by both gods and goddesses because they wanted to borrow the girdle. Zeus became so fed up with her promiscuity that he married her off to Hephaestus, the ugliest of the gods. Hades never made it to Mt. Olympus, but his job was nevertheless an important one. Hades dominion was the vast and mysterious underworld (Tartarus). He was the benevolent god who gave fertility to vegetation and who yielded precious stones and metals. But he was also the feared guardian of a dark realm, from which no-one, having once journeyed, ever returned.

A number of the countless lesser gods were powerful but never made it to Zeus inner circle. Pan, the son of Hermes, was born with horns, beard, tail and goat legs. His ugliness so amused the other gods that eventually he escaped to Arcadia where he danced, played his shepherds pipe and watched over the pastures, shepherds and herds. Dionysos, son of Hera and Zeus, was even more hideous at birth horned and crowned with serpents. His parents boiled him in a cauldron, but he was rescued by Rhea, and banished to Mt. Nysa in Libya where he invented wine.

He eventually returned to Greece where he organized runken revelries and married Ariadne, daughter of King Minos. In addition to the gods the Ancient Greeks revered many beings who had probably once been mortal, such as King Minos, Theseus and Erichthonious. Intermediaries between gods and humans, such as the satyrs, also appear in the myths. The satyrs lived in woods and had goat horns and tails; they worshipped the god Dionysos, so, appropriately, they spent much of their time drinking and dancing. Nymphs lived in secluded valleys and grottoes and occupied themselves with spinning, weaving, bathing, singing and dancing.

Pan found them irresistible. The Muses, of which there were nine, were nymphs of the mountain springs; they were believed to inspire poets, artists and musicians. Finally, mention should be made of the three crones Tisiphone, Aledo and Megara sometimes called the Furies whose job it was to deal with grievances from mortals, and punish wrongdoers. They had dogs heads, snakes hair, bloodshot eyes, coal black bodies and bats wings and carried brass-studded scourges. It was considered unlucky to call them by name they had to be called Eumenides the kindly ones!

Akhilleauss Pride

The Iliad is a classic story of a Greek warrior, named Akhilleus, whose anger causes many soldiers to die during the Trojan War. When Akhilleus becomes angry, there seems to be nothing that can stop him from totally destroying his enemy. While many consider anger to be the primary factor in motivating Akhilleus, the main reason Akhilleus acts the way he does is because he is extremely self-centered. Initially, Akhilleus lets his pride control him when King Agamemnon takes his prize possession, Briseis, away from him. Akhilleus begins to sulk and declares he will take his army and go home.

Feeling dishonored, Akhilleus goes to his mother, Thetis, and requests her to go to Zeus and petition his assistance in dealing with Agamemnon. Akhilleus states to his mother, “If he will take the Trojan side and roll the Akhaians back to the water’s edge, back on the ships with slaughter! All the troops may savior what their king has won for them, and he may know his madness, what he lost when he dishonored me, peerless among Akhaians (1, pp 25). ” The actions Akhilleus takes to get back at Agamemnon shows Akhilleus is only thinking of his own self-interest.

His actions not only hurt Agamemnon but also put the lives of many of his fellow soldiers in danger. Akhilleus continues to let his ego control his actions even after his best friend Patroklos urges him to forget his hurt and rejoin the fight against the advancing Trojan forces. After Akhilleus refuses this request, Patroklos offers to put on Akhilleus’ armor to reenergize the Akhaian forces and hopefully trick the Trojans into believing that Akhilleus has reentered the fight. Akhilleus agrees to let Patroklos wear his armor and pretend to be him.

Akhilleus proves he really is only thinking of himself when he tells Patroklos before he goes to fight on his behalf, “you’ll win great honor for me, and glory among Danaans; then they’ll send me back my lovely girl, with bright new gifts as well (xvi, pg 380). ” After Patroklos is killed by the Trojan leader, Hektor, Akhilleus transfers his attention from Agamemnon to Hector and returns to the battle to avenge his friend’s death. Akhilleus tracks down Hektor and mortally wounds him. As Hektor lies dying he pleads to Akhilleus to not let the dogs feed on his dead body.

Instead of honoring a dying man’s request, Akhilleus arrogantly responds by saying, “Would god my passion drove me to slaughter you you’ve caused such agony to me! No man exists who could defend you from the carrion pack (xiv, pp 526). ” Throughout the story, Akhilleus proves he is always thinking of himself first. All of Akhilleus actions show he does not mind sacrificing his fellow soldiers and best friend, as long as he accomplishes the revenge he seeks against his enemies. No man could let innocent blood spill so willingly, unless he has an air of conceit.

Hermes – a God of mischief and excitement

Hermes was a God of mischief and excitement. He was known for inventing measurement, musical instruments, and steeling cattle. Hermes was a God that everyone can relate to. Hermes did small important chores for the Gods, but his main job was delivering messages. Was Hermes a good or a bad God? Hermes the son of Maia, a local Goddess, and Zeus, the ruler of all the Gods, was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. (Rosenberg, Donna) Zeus added Maia to his group of female conquests, which was pretty long. Zeus liked Hermes for his sense of humor and his cleverness so he allowed Hermes to stay on Mount Olympus every once and a while.

To not arise suspicions with his wife, Hera, he made Hermes his messenger. When Hades, the god of the underworld and the dead, threatened to tell Hera about Hermes. Zeus agreed to allow Hermes to be the messenger for the underworld. When he wasnt busy with his fathers business, he guided the dead and dying mortals to the underworld according to Gods, Heros, and Monsters. Hermes was the most Human of the Greek gods, combining a lively intelligence with imagination, goodness, and a sense of humor. (Rosenberg, Donna) Most of the mortal people liked Hermes, for he was one of the most helpful of all the Gods.

He protected Gymnasiums and Stadiums, as well as the athletes that participated in them. Even though he helped people, he also had a crafty and cunning side to him. Hermes got in a lot of trouble as an infant, and as a young child. He was known as the patron of trickster, gamblers, and thieves, as well as other things. Hermes invented many things throughout his life. He was a very accomplished musician, so he invented a lyre (guitar) and a flute out of reeds. Since he was known as the God of commerce he is credited for establishing a system of weights and measures.

He is also credited for creating fire from rubbing two sticks together. This was discovered when he was a cave sacrificing two of Apollos cows to the Gods. Hermes is known for a lot of good things, such as the god of travelers, wind, and commerce. (Encarta CD-ROM) The reason for him to be known as the God of Wind, because Zeus gifted him with wings on his feet and on his helmet, so he could fly easily anywhere in the universe. (Switzer, Ellen) He helped guide travelers to their destination, as Zeus protected them on their journey. He was also known as the God of Commerce, he protection traders of herds.

Internet Hermes) Hermes downside got him in plenty of trouble. His mischievous behavior as a young child he was given the name God of Thieves, Gamblers, and Liars. When he was an infant he stole Apollos cattle, and lied when confronted with it. Only a few minutes after Hermes was born he was hungry for adventure. He left his crib and started down Mount Olympus, in search of adventure. On his way down he saw a tortoise, he thought to himself That tortoise shell would make beautiful music, so he grabbed it and took it back to his cave. He cut off the tortoises legs and used a iron chisel to dig out its organs.

He cut reed stalks of the right size, pierced the tortoises shell, and fastened the stalks to the shell. He stretched oxhide over the shell, and stretched seven sheep-gut strings along the bridge. This instrument that he created was called a lyre (we know it as guitar). After he finished it he sung to Maia and Zeus about his own birth according to Mythology and You. Hermes soon grew tired of the instrument and placed it in his crib. His restless nature urged him once again to start down the mountain in search of adventure. He found Apollos cattle grazing in a meadow nearby.

Since there was nowhere to hide the cattle he led them backward towards the sandy-shores and into a cave. To disguise his own footprints he wove a pair of wicker sandals from leafy myrtle twigs. As he drove the cattle to the cave he saw an old man working of his vineyard. Pretend that you have seen nothing and heard nothing, Hermes called out to the old man, because no one is harming anything which is yours. Then, Hermes drove the cattle through the countryside towards Pylos, a city in Greece. Next, he created a way of making fire by rubbing sticks together.

Upon this fire, he sacrificed two cows, roasting their meat and dividing them into twelve portions. This sacrificed was to the twelve gods, and to rejoice for his own birth. As he finished his work, the sun began to rise, so he put out the fire and quickly went home. As soon as he got home he climbed into his cradle and wrapped himself in his infant sheet. He lay their looking innocently playing with his wrappings. Maia, however was not deceived by her sons act of innocence, because she knew what he was capable of doing. What is going on here, little schemer? e asked. What have you been up to outside in the middle of the night? The next morning Apollo found the old man grazing his flock and spoke to him: Old man, I am searching for my cattle that wandered away from the meadows last evening. Have you seen anyone pass by with them? The Old man replied, I thought I saw a infant driving them backwards so that their head faced him. Apollo then saw some cattle tracks heading towards the meadows and a set of tracks that he did not recognize. He hurried on his way and found a hidden cave on Mount Cyllene.

There he entered angrily and found Maia and Hermes. Apollo inspected the cave carefully and then said to Hermes, Oh, child you had better tell me where you have put my cattle. Hermes told Apollo that he had no idea where his cattle were. Apollo then grabbed Hermes and started to climb Mount Olympus to go talk to Zeus. When they got to the top they found Zeus. Apollo explained what had happened, and when Zeus, knowing what had really happened, he asked Hermes to explained what he had done and where he took Apollo cows.

When they arrived Apollo noticed the two cows that were slaughtered, and asked him why they were slaughtered. When Hermes told him that he sacrificed them for the twelve gods, Apollo said I only know of eleven gods, me included. Hermes then said, I am the twelfth god. For saying he was sorry for what he had done, Hermes gave Apollo the lyre he made. Apollo gave Hermes a whip for his cattle. Apollo made Hermes take an oath saying he would never harm him in anyway. After he did Apollo took the same oath, and they became the best of friends, and were friends ever sense.

Rosenberg, Donna) Was Hermes a good or bad God? In the beginning of his life he wasnt the best, but in the end Hermes turned out to be a good God. Despite being named the God of Thieves, Gamblers, and Liars he was an all around good God. Hermes was a God of mischief and excitement. He was known for inventing measurement, musical instruments, and steeling cattle. Hermes was a God that everyone can relate to. Hermes did small important chores for the Gods, but his main job was delivering messages. Was Hermes a good or a bad God?

Hermes the son of Maia, a local Goddess, and Zeus, the ruler of all the Gods, was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. (Rosenberg, Donna) Zeus added Maia to his group of female conquests, which was pretty long. Zeus liked Hermes for his sense of humor and his cleverness so he allowed Hermes to stay on Mount Olympus every once and a while. To not arise suspicions with his wife, Hera, he made Hermes his messenger. When Hades, the god of the underworld and the dead, threatened to tell Hera about Hermes. Zeus agreed to allow Hermes to be the messenger for the underworld.

When he wasnt busy with his fathers business, he guided the dead and dying mortals to the underworld according to Gods, Heros, and Monsters. Hermes was the most Human of the Greek gods, combining a lively intelligence with imagination, goodness, and a sense of humor. (Rosenberg, Donna) Most of the mortal people liked Hermes, for he was one of the most helpful of all the Gods. He protected Gymnasiums and Stadiums, as well as the athletes that participated in them. Even though he helped people, he also had a crafty and cunning side to him. Hermes got in a lot of trouble as an infant, and as a young child.

He was known as the patron of trickster, gamblers, and thieves, as well as other things. Hermes invented many things throughout his life. He was a very accomplished musician, so he invented a lyre (guitar) and a flute out of reeds. Since he was known as the God of commerce he is credited for establishing a system of weights and measures. He is also credited for creating fire from rubbing two sticks together. This was discovered when he was a cave sacrificing two of Apollos cows to the Gods. Hermes is known for a lot of good things, such as the god of travelers, wind, and commerce.

Encarta CD-ROM) The reason for him to be known as the God of Wind, because Zeus gifted him with wings on his feet and on his helmet, so he could fly easily anywhere in the universe. (Switzer, Ellen) He helped guide travelers to their destination, as Zeus protected them on their journey. He was also known as the God of Commerce, he protection traders of herds. (Internet Hermes) Hermes downside got him in plenty of trouble. His mischievous behavior as a young child he was given the name God of Thieves, Gamblers, and Liars. When he was an infant he stole Apollos cattle, and lied when confronted with it.

Only a few minutes after Hermes was born he was hungry for adventure. He left his crib and started down Mount Olympus, in search of adventure. On his way down he saw a tortoise, he thought to himself That tortoise shell would make beautiful music, so he grabbed it and took it back to his cave. He cut off the tortoises legs and used a iron chisel to dig out its organs. He cut reed stalks of the right size, pierced the tortoises shell, and fastened the stalks to the shell. He stretched oxhide over the shell, and stretched seven sheep-gut strings along the bridge.

This instrument that he created was called a lyre (we know it as guitar). After he finished it he sung to Maia and Zeus about his own birth according to Mythology and You. Hermes soon grew tired of the instrument and placed it in his crib. His restless nature urged him once again to start down the mountain in search of adventure. He found Apollos cattle grazing in a meadow nearby. Since there was nowhere to hide the cattle he led them backward towards the sandy-shores and into a cave. To disguise his own footprints he wove a pair of wicker sandals from leafy myrtle twigs.

As he drove the cattle to the cave he saw an old man working of his vineyard. Pretend that you have seen nothing and heard nothing, Hermes called out to the old man, because no one is harming anything which is yours. Then, Hermes drove the cattle through the countryside towards Pylos, a city in Greece. Next, he created a way of making fire by rubbing sticks together. Upon this fire, he sacrificed two cows, roasting their meat and dividing them into twelve portions. This sacrificed was to the twelve gods, and to rejoice for his own birth.

As he finished his work, the sun began to rise, so he put out the fire and quickly went home. As soon as he got home he climbed into his cradle and wrapped himself in his infant sheet. He lay their looking innocently playing with his wrappings. Maia, however was not deceived by her sons act of innocence, because she knew what he was capable of doing. What is going on here, little schemer? she asked. What have you been up to outside in the middle of the night? The next morning Apollo found the old man grazing his flock and spoke to him: Old man, I am searching for my cattle that wandered away from the meadows last evening.

Have you seen anyone pass by with them? The Old man replied, I thought I saw a infant driving them backwards so that their head faced him. Apollo then saw some cattle tracks heading towards the meadows and a set of tracks that he did not recognize. He hurried on his way and found a hidden cave on Mount Cyllene. There he entered angrily and found Maia and Hermes. Apollo inspected the cave carefully and then said to Hermes, Oh, child you had better tell me where you have put my cattle. Hermes told Apollo that he had no idea where his cattle were.

Apollo then grabbed Hermes and started to climb Mount Olympus to go talk to Zeus. When they got to the top they found Zeus. Apollo explained what had happened, and when Zeus, knowing what had really happened, he asked Hermes to explained what he had done and where he took Apollo cows. When they arrived Apollo noticed the two cows that were slaughtered, and asked him why they were slaughtered. When Hermes told him that he sacrificed them for the twelve gods, Apollo said I only know of eleven gods, me included. Hermes then said, I am the twelfth god.

For saying he was sorry for what he had done, Hermes gave Apollo the lyre he made. Apollo gave Hermes a whip for his cattle. Apollo made Hermes take an oath saying he would never harm him in anyway. After he did Apollo took the same oath, and they became the best of friends, and were friends ever sense. (Rosenberg, Donna) Was Hermes a good or bad God? In the beginning of his life he wasnt the best, but in the end Hermes turned out to be a good God. Despite being named the God of Thieves, Gamblers, and Liars he was an all around good God.

The Greek Hero Vs. The Anglo-saxon Hero

The hero stands as an archetype of who we should be and who we wish to be. However, the hero has inherent flaws which we do not wish to strive towards. In literature, these flaws are not used as examples of what we should be but rather as examples of what not to be. This is especially dominant in the Greek hero. While the Greek hero follows his fate, making serious mistakes and having a fairly simple life, the Anglo-Saxon “super” hero tries, and may succeed, to change his fate, while dealing with a fairly complex life. The Greek hero is strong and mighty while his wit and intelligence are highly valued.

In the Greek tragedy, the hero struggles to avoid many flaws. Among these flaws are ambition, foolishness, stubbornness, and hubris-the excessive component of pride. He must overcome his predestined fate-a task which is impossible. From the beginning of the tale, it is already clear that the hero will ultimately fail with the only way out being death. In Oedipus, the hero is already confronted with a load of information about his family and gouges his eyes out. At this point, when he tries to outwit his fate he has already lost and is sentenced to death.

The Anglo-Saxon hero must also deal with his “fate” but tries, and usually succeeds, to change it. While the Greek hero battles his fate with his excessive pride and intelligence, the Anglo-Saxon hero tries to eliminate his doom by force. The Anglo-Saxon hero is considered a barbarian of sorts due to his sometimes unethical and immoral views and courses of action. At the end, the Anglo-Saxon succeeds in altering his fate though. The Greek hero is so normal, that the reader can relate to him. He is usually a “common” human being with no extraordinary life.

His story seems believable, even possible. We would have no hard time imagining the hero’s conflict as being ours. As in the case with Oedipus, we can understand how he feels it would be possible for his circumstances to be applied to our lives. Although the details may seem a little farfetched it is not impossible that there is some truth to the story. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxon hero, being super-human, is especially difficult to relate to. The Anglo-Saxon may reach the same pedestal as a God. It is extremely hard to relate to this sort of person.

Who can relate to Beowulf, fighting a dragon named Grendel? It seems impossible. Such seems seem to be pure fiction or folklore. Nobody could apply such a situation to his life. The Greek hero is more of a thinker than a violent individual. He tries to outwit everyone including his fate. He has a high level of hubris. This is exactly the cause of his death making his fight nearly pointless. Oedipus deals with the human struggle for knowledge-first for knowledge of the evil which sets on the state, but ultimately for self-knowledge.

Despite the advice of others, Oedipus remains with his illusion, he must find the truth even if it will destroy him. Oedipus is a tragic hero according to Aristotle’s Conception in The Poetics. He is not the victim of fate expressed in the oracles. His tragedy results from within his character. He sees things only one way-his way, and driven by his uncontrolled emotions, ends up dead. Beowulf is the hands on, brutal type. There is no way he could overcome his fate with his brain. The only way out of the situation is to fight. In the Anglo-Saxon tragedy, there is no room to think and analyze the situation.

The hands on, physical confrontations seem more effective, since Beowulf is able to change the course of his fate. The tragic hero yearns to believe that there is purpose to his actions, yet many of his actions lead to pain and disaster more so in the Greek than Anglo-Saxon literature. He evolves thinking about right and wrong or good and evil, believing that these come to him as divine revelations. Yet he often discovers that his morality produces immoral results, and his good is often evil. The Anglo-Saxon is content with what is happening and decides to use his power to overcome his conflict rather than his mind.

Greek And Roman Art

“The arts of the western world have been largely dominated by the artistic standards established by the Greeks of the classical period” (Spreloosel 86). It is from the Greek word theatron, meaning a place for sitting, that we get our word theater. According to James Butler, “The Greeks were the first people to erect special structures to bring audiences and theatrical performers together” (27). “The theaters were normally located near a populated area at the bottom of or cut out of a carefully selected, sloping hillside overlooking a seascape, a plain, or a city” (Butler 30).

They eventually with few exceptions consisted of three distinct parts: theatron (viewing place) for spectators, orchestra (dancing place) where the chorus and actors performed; and a later addition, a skene (scene building), which provided a scenic backing” (Butler 30). The theatron was the place where the audience sat. At first the spectators sat on the ground, later on wooden bleachers and finally on tiers of stone seats which followed the circular shape of the orchestra and the natural contours of the countryside. The theatron surrounded the orchestra on three sides.

Describing the theater of Dionysus, David Taylor writes, ” The spectators seats were in a curving area, a little more than a semi-circle and slope down to the center” (Taylor 19). Even though all classes of people attended the theater there were reserved areas for the more prestigious, such as the king. ” The audience arranged in rows, looked out across a rounded orchestra” (Kennedy 1102). Because most of the early dramas were religious and required a sacrificial ceremony, a thymele (an altar or sacrificial table) was located in the center of the orchestra.

The orchestra was where the chorus and actors performed. Arnott states, ” the nucleus of the drama was the chorus” (Arnott 9). David Taylor comments, ” The theater actually did start without any separate actors; there was only the chorus” (15). Later actors were added, but the chorus still remained the center of attention. The audience sat at a considerable distance from the orchestra and looked down on the performance. Although the amount of detail perceived was limited, they often were drawn into the play and became characters themselves.

The action has spilled over from the orchestra to the auditorium to embrace the whole community, players and public alike” (Anott 21). The third distinct part of the theater was the skene (scene building). “The earliest scene buildings were very simple wooden structures ” (Butler 31). ” Originally, the skene was a dressing room; later it is believed to have borne a painted backdrop” (Kennedy 1102). This area was known as the actors place. It was intended to provide a background against which actors could perform.

In Greek theater as we know it, the skene appears as a appendage, adjunct, breaking the perfect circularity of the design” (Arnott 13). Although the origin of the Greek theater is unclear, many historians believe that it developed out of religious ritual and its performances were connected to religious festivals. The performances were used to educate and entertain. “The theater is certainly not the same as it was in ancient Greece – but it has not changed completely” (Taylor 8). This form of art has always had a Art has changed a great deal since it began many centuries ago.

Centuries, however, are not necessary to notice the small changes that are evident even between cultures of similar times. Such is the case with the Greeks and Romans. Both cultures had exquisite pieces of art, but they were very different from each other. The amazing thing about art is that no matter how many differences exist, it is still beautiful in its own sense. There are also a number of similarities that are evident with these two cultures as well, but the point that will be focused on is the differences that are found between Greek and Roman art.

The pieces that will be focused on from the Greeks are Black-Figured Psykter and Red-Figured Kylix Depicting a Young Athelete, and from the Romans are Mummy Portrait of a Man and Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman. The Roman Portraits are located at The Menil Collection in Houston. The Mummy Portrait of a Man is from the Fayum region in Egypt. It was painted about 150-200 B. C. It is painted in encaustic on wood, and is a Fayum portrait. The Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman is also from the Fayum region and painted in encaustic on wood. This portrait was painted about 150-200 B.

C. The term Fayum portrait is actually derived from a Coptic word meaning ” The land of the lake,” which refers to the artificial Lake Qarun. This lake was a project of the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, and it was this lake that made a desert area of about 100 kilometers into one of the most fertile areas in Egypt. It was such an amazing feat that the lake still to this day provides this region water keeping it fertile. The purpose of the Mummy Portrait of a Man as well as the Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman was to identify the mummy.

These portraits were paintings of the person that they identified. The edges of the paintings have paint missing, due to the fact that these portraits were placed over the face of the mummies. The fact that both the artists of these portraits are unknown is due to gravediggers and collectors. When a mummy was found, the main objective was to find out more about the mummy itself, and many times the paintings were disregarded and considered to be of no value. The technique used with Fayum paintings is called encaustic.

This style of painting involves combining the paint with hot wax in order to obtain more resilient colors and also to be able to contrast light and dark better. The only problem with this style of painting is that the wax would get cold and dry up in a short period of time. The artists had to work quickly in order to keep the pigment wax mix wet and able to spread across the canvas or wood. In order to work faster, the painters used wide brush strokes not paying a great deal of attention to the fine lines and details.

One major advantage of using the hot wax with the pigment is that the artist was able to capture a dark or thick appearance as well as a light appearance to the wood while keeping the paint smooth and silky looking. Because of the rushed way in which the portraits were painted allows for similarities between the two. The Portrait of a Man is at a slight angle as compared to the Portrait of a Young Woman, but looking beyond this fact and looking at close detail, it is easy to see the similarities between the ears of the man and woman in each painting.

The eyes on both of the paintings are very similar as well. Both the man and the woman have their eyes deep set in their head, and appear to be staring out into space. Yet another similarity between the two is the eyebrows. Both the man and the woman are depicted as having thick eyebrows as well as a small mouth. Both portraits have long and thin noses. The portrait of the man, as said earlier, is set at an angle as compared to the portrait of the woman, but this seems to be the case for all Fayum portraits.

The hair of the beard on the man looks almost identical to the hair on the woman, as well as the use of light that was used to highlight the neck and ears. Even containing all of these similarities, each of the Fayum portraits have their own meaning and are seen to be as different as the people they represented. The Greek Psykter is a wine cooler that was done using the technique known as black-figured. This means that the figures that are on the Psykter are done in black, while the background is red.

The red background comes from the type of clay that was used to make the wine cooler. The objects that are depicted on the psykter are done in profile as to show as much of the body as possible. Black-figure painting is unable to use light and dark sources because all of the figures are black, making it very different from the Portrait of a Man and the Portrait of a Young Woman. The artist also used purple and white to help to bring out detail and to give a sort of vibrancy to the piece. The artist Nikosthenes did the Black-Figured Psykter between 530 and 520 B. C.

The way that the wine cooler was made is sturdy and is able to stand the test of time as well as have a beauty that will last just as long. Compared to the Portrait of a Man and the Portrait of a Woman, the Black-Figured Psykter as well as the Red-Figured Kylix Depicting a Young Athlete does not show individuality. The Greeks used a combination of ideal parts in their art, making it elegant, but at the same time not showing any actual people. This can also be supported by the fact that even the faces that are on the Greek pieces of art are considered to be perfect unlike all humans.

The Red-Figured Kylix Depicting a Young Athlete was made about 480 B. C. by the painter Antiphon. The technique used here is a red-figured style that was used by the Greeks after the use of the black-figured pieces. This was a monumental discovery for the Greek artists because it made the work of painting the figures in black and using needles to do all the fine details not necessary. Now the painters were able to create the figures that they wanted on the clay and then heat or cook it and the figures would still show up as red, while the background would come out black.

This allowed for more attention to detail as well as the ability to use foreshortening and shadowing. The use of shadowing is more than obvious on the Kylix with the figure of a youth sitting on a stone surrounded by large apatropaic eyes. The ability to foreshadow is shown in many other red-figured works that were done during and around that time. The differences that are found between these four pieces of art can be traced back to the differences that existed between the two cultures. Even though there are similarities, the differences outweigh them by far.

The purpose of the Roman Mummy Portrait of a Man and the Mummy Portrait of a Young Woman differ completely from that of the Greek Black-Figured Psykter and the Red-Figured Kylix Depicting a Young Athelete. The styles of the paintings are also very different as well. The amazing thing that is to noticed is that regardless of the differences that exist, both the Greek and the Roman pieces are considered to be masterpieces of art. The differences that are found add to the uniqueness that each one entails.

Athena: The god

Athena, back in time when Greece was making its mark in history as one of the great civilization of the Ancient World, there was a great deal of emphasis on the Gods and Goddesses. To the Greeks the world was governed by the Gods and they were the reason many things happened in the world, mostly things that where unexplainable. The goddess Athena was one of the many gods or goddesses that played a large role in Greek mythology. Even though Athena was the patron saint of Athens she supported other Greeks outside of Athens, such as, Achilles, Orestes, and especially Odysseus.

Athena is know to be the goddess of war, guardian of cities, patroness of arts and crafts, and promoter of wisdom (Classical). Athenas name actually came form the Cretan and Mycenean name Athene which predates the Greeks by about 1,500 years. The ending -ene, was set aside for royalty and goddesses, like Helene. She was also called by some Greeks as Pallas Athena. Not many people know where the name Pallas came from. Some legends say she obtained it from the giant Pallas that she killed in the war of the gods and giants (Athena Parthenos). Another legend says that Athena accidentally killed her childhood playmate Pallas.

By taking Pallas in front of her own, Athena shows the grief that she endured for the loss of her friend. Athena had such an impact on the Greeks that the Romans adopted her and called her Minerva (Classical). The origins of Athenas name are not the only discrepancy that historians have had. The origin of where Athena came form is also a discrepancy. Zeus feared that he would be overcome by a son greater than he born from the intelligent Metis. To prevent this Zeus ate Metis. There for, Athena, in the most common legend, was born fully grown out of Zeuss forehead.

Another legend, this one form Crete, says Athena was hidden in a cloud. Zeus hit his head on the cloud and caused Athena to appear. Out of all the cities that Athena helped and protected Athens claimed her as there own (The Myths). The Atheans believed that the first king of Athens, Erichthonius, was a descendant of Athena. Even though Poseidon was greedy of earthy kingdoms, he challenged Athena for the city. The both of them appeared before the court of gods and goddess to make a judgment. Poseidon presented water to be of use to the Atheans. But the water was salty. He also created a horse out of a pillar of salt.

Athena presented the olive tree which gave fruit, oil and wood. The court judged that this was a more beneficial gift and let Athena have the city. To show their homage, the Atheans, built the Parthenon. The word Parthenon means virgins place, for Athena was a virgin goddess. The east side of the building showed the birth of Athena and the west side showed the contest with Poseidon. Atheans, on the other hand, were not the only people Athena favored (Athena Parthenos). According to a great philosopher the Greeks were greatly benefited when Athena came down from the heavens and stopped Achilles of Phthia from killing Agamemnon.

Achilles protested but Athena replied: Down from the skies I come to check your rage if only you would yield… Stop this fighting, now… Dont lay hand to sword… I know it is the truth-one day glittering gifts will lie before you, three times over to pay for all his outrage. Hold pack now. Obey… Homer. Even though Athena was the patroness of war she also had compassion for the Greeks. Athena knew if Achilles had killed Agamemnon that would certainly mean defeat for the Greeks. Athena was ruthless, manipulative, savage, and found delight in Trojan blood.

Athena also is credited with helping a young man that was on trial in Athens for killing his mother. This young man was Orestes and his mother Clytemnestra, both form Argos. Athena having no mother had more compassion for the male figure than female. She considered the crimes of Clytemnestra (killing her husband, Agamemnon) more punishable than Orestes crime. Aeschylus seems to sum it up in Athenas speech to the court in The Oresteia. The Eumenides. … No mother gave me birth. I honor the male , in all things but marriage (The Myths). Yes, with all my heart I am my Fathers child.

I cannot set more store by the womens death-she killed her husband, guardian of their house… With this trial Athena presented a new form of justice, trial by jury. The jury had voted equally but Athena broke the deadlock with a innocent vote setting Orestes free. But of all the people Athena helped, Odysseus was the Greek that she liked the most. If it was not for her help and guidance Odysseus would have never reached his beloved Ithaka. With all the phenomenons that were unexplainable in the ancient world; mythology was able to shed some light on the subject. By todays standards these mythological explanations seem a little far fetched.

But for the time, accomplishments and triumphs that many Greeks made where do to the help of the gods like the wise Athena. She saved Greece from being defeated by holding back the anger of Achilles. A new form of government was established thanks to Athenas idea of trial by jury which allowed Orestes to go free (Athena Parthenos). She also helped the mighty Odysseus find his path home. In respect, Athena was a goddess that was for all of Greece not just a single city. This made her one of the more favorable goddess and for this she was respected and paid much homage.

Ahprodite/Venus

Aphrodite is the Greek name for the goddess of love and beauty. Roman mythology refers to her as Venus. She charmed gods and men and stole away even the wits from the wise (Hamilton 32).

Different stories describe how Aphrodite was created in two different ways. The first tells that she was created from the foam of the Mediterranean Sea and dressed upon her birth by the Seasons before being presented to Zeus. In the Iliad, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

Zeus married Aphrodite to Hephaestos, who was the least attractive, but most creative of the gods of Mount Olympus. Burning frankincense and myrrh summons Aphrodite to her worshipers. She possesses an embroidered girdle that has the ability to inspire love. Her son, Eros, inspired desire with his arrows. His brother, Anteros was the avenger of slighted love. Anteros is sometimes said to oppose love (Hamilton 36).

Roman and Greek mythology describe the goddess in the same way. Beauty surrounds her. Without her, there is no joy or loveliness anywhere. In later poems, she is portrayed as being treacherous and malicious, exercising her deadly and destructive power over men.

Aphrodite is featured in many myths. One of the best known stories is that in which Eris, goddess of discord, was left out of the banquet celebrating the marriage of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis. Resenting this deeply, Eris threw a golden apple into the banquet hall marked For the Fairest. All of the goddesses wanted the apple, but in the end the choice was narrowed down to three: Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. They asked Zeus to choose who was the fairest between the three of them, but he was wise and refused. He instructed them to go to Mount Ida, near Troy, and ask Paris, a prince who was tending his fathers sheep, to judge them. Each of the goddesses offered a bribe to Paris. Hera offered to make Paris the Lord of Europe and Asia. Athena offered to lead the Trojans to victory over the Greeks and lay Greece in ruins. Aphrodite offered Paris the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Troy, to be his bride (Hamilton 179).

Helen was to be wed to Menelaus. Paris traveled to Sparta and stayed as the guest of Menelaus and Helen. When Menelaus left to go to Crete, leaving Paris and Helen alone, he returned to find that his guest had vanished, taking his bride with him. Menelaus was outraged and called upon the Greeks to help him to fight Troy. Since Aphrodite caused Helen to fall in love with Paris, she is blamed for starting the Trojan War.

Book Review: The Iliad

Book Review The Iliad The name Homer is synonymous with great tales of heroic poetry. Although this genre of poetry hails the distinctness of being Homeric it is not certain that Homer himself actually existed. The book Prolegomena ad Hoerum, published in 1795 CE. written by F. A. Wolf, translated The Homeric Problem, set in motion numerous debates among scholars concerning Homers existence, and the fact that Homer may have been a group of writers, and not just one man.

If we accept that Homer existed, we believe that Homer, was a blind Greek bard, that traveled throughout Ionia reciting his poetry in exchange for room and board. Crawford pg. 2 In this paper I will examine and analyze the use of words that create graphic pictures for the mind, and words that excite the imagination. I will illustrate how the use of such a graphic idiom is still popular today. Although we have entered a new millennium filled with special effects, and computer graphics , many of us continue to appreciate the excitement of the written word from those authors that produce masterpieces.

The Iliad does just that. Homers use of language evokes the passion of his characters and their heartfelt emotions. The Iliad embodies action at its very onset, and although long in content, captures and to an extent , possesses its reader. I am sure that it is the style and meter, that Homer uses to convey his thoughts, that make the Iliad such a classic epic. Crawford pg. 3 In the opening lines of the Iliad, words of war capture the reader.

Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, (Homer 122 1-5) It is descriptions, such as these that lure the reader in. Immediately one can see that Achilles, (knowing him or not) is some sort of madman, responsible for taking many lives. Homer wasted no time in the development of the character Archilles.

In these lines you are introduced to Achilles, and fear this person consumed with rage. You are also captivated by the fact that dead bodies become feasts for dogs and birds. Something inside our psyche yearns to hear more of the gore that we claim to detest. It appears evident that Homer was conscious of the dark side that all humans possess. Crawford pg. 4 Homer also employs the use of similes that enables us to relate the things that which are familiar, to those such as the gods, that we do not understand.

This analogical language that Homer uses, eases the transition from not knowing , to a better understanding. For example, The arrows clanged at his back as the god quaked with rage, the god himself on the march and down he came like night. (Homer 123 51-53). In these lines Homer demonstrates through the use of simile, an analogy between the god Apollo marching, and the coming of night both of which inevitably occur. Here, the character of Apollo emerges and the reader experiences his immortal presence.

It is my opinion that one of the reasons Homers notoriety developed, is by his clever use of metaphor and simile. Crawford pg. 5 During the climax of the Iliad, Hector is being chased by Achilles. The words of Homer cause the reader to experience Hectors fear. Many other writers used a very similar style to vividly depict their ideas. Nineteenth-century novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote a gothic style novel, which consist of violence, horror and the supernatural, in her novel Frankenstein, she used in her narrative, descriptive language that terrified the audience of her time.

Like Adam, I was created apparently with no link to any other being in existence, but… he had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded… final special care of his creator, but I was wretched, helpless and alone. Many times I considered Satan as a fitter emblem of my condition. (Shelley 68). Hollywood film makers and director later employed these same elements to reach the masses, and film became the medium. Therefore, we the audience fill the theaters in search of excitement.

Homer’s Iliad – Theme Analysis

In Homer’s Iliad, war is depicted as horrible, bloody, and fruitless. There are no clear winners in The Iliad. Many people die in vain because of arrogant and emotional decisions made by men. Achilles directly causes the death of his friend by first refusing to fight, leaving the Greeks at a disadvantage, and then poorly advising his friend Patroclus to join the other fighters. Even the initial cause of the war, Paris’ kidnapping of Helen, a Greek woman, is a rash and selfish act. The will of Zeus plays an important part in the events of The Iliad.

Zeus’ will is infallible, and so, in a way, the events that occur are all destined to happen. However, there is a small amount of flexibility as to when the events will happen. This flexibility comes from the intervention of the lesser gods, and the actions of mortal men. Apollo can send a plague on the Greeks, and Aphrodite can rescue Paris from certain death when he is fighting Menelaeus, but in the final outcome, the Greeks will sack Troy, and Paris will die. When mortals interfere with the will of Zeus, the results are much more tragic. Because hey are mortal, their actions have direct influence on their comrades, and their lives. Gods feel pity when they cannot save a favored mortal, but that pity cannot compare to Achilles’ sorrow at the death of Patroclus. Death and fighting is not depicted as glorious in The Iliad. Brave warriors receive fame, gold, food, and women, and the younger Greek fighters thrive on this romantic notion. However, a closer look at the text shows that Homer describes many deaths in violent, anatomic detail.

Most of these deaths are not important to the plot of the story, but they erve the important purpose of showing the reader that no death is insignificant or easy. These descriptions give The Iliad a Saving Private Ryan type of realism. The Iliad focuses much on Achilles and his internal struggle with his personal will versus the will of Zeus. However, in the middle of the book, he is almost entirely absent. This gives Homer the opportunity to show other sides of the conflict, and dirty deeds done by the Greeks and Trojans. In the time of the Trojan war, there was an unwritten code of heroic conduct that the bravest warriors followed.

Defeated warriors were not always killed. They were sometimes taken prisoner and returned for ransoms of money or gifts. However, in the Iliad, Homer shows that leniency rarely survives in war. Diomedes and Odysseus, two respected Greek warriors, sneak into a sleeping Trojan camp and kill many unarmed, dreaming Trojans. Paris ignores the conduct of a fair fight, and runs away every chance he gets. And Achilles, after losing Patroclus by Hector’s sword, tortures Hector before killing him and treats his body very poorly.

Desecration of a dead body was sacrilege to Greek and Trojan society, and it was a great insult. Homer’s last comments on the futility of war come at the end of the Iliad, and in a peaceful manner. Homer shows a little redemption for the horrible effects of war when Priam begs Achilles for Hector’s body. Achilles and Priam share a moment of realization of what has been lost to the long Trojan war. The final scene is a quiet, mournful funeral, in which the Trojans bury Hector, who was a good man destroyed by the horror of war and the will of Zeus.

The Greek tragedy of Oedipus

The Greek tragedy of Oedipus illustrates dramatic irony through Oedipus’ noble birth which is unknown to him and his fall from the throne due to his fate and excessive pride. In regard to his noble birth, Oedipus does not know he is born the son of King Liaus, the king of Thebes. As fate would have it, Oedipus eventually inherits the throne as King of Thebes even though he is brought up by another noble leader, Polybus, King of Corinth. Oedipus refers often to his upbringing throughout the play. Because of his nobility, the Thebans, as well as the Corinthians, admire him and treat him as their hero.

On page 33 Oedipus proclaims, “he [will] fight for him (Liaus) now, as I would for my own father. ” Oedipus does not realize Liaus is his father because he believes Polybus is his true father, while we, the readers, know Liaus is actually Oedipus’ real father. Another example of dramatic irony in the play is expressed during the discussion between Oedipus, Jocasta, his wife and mother, and a messenger. Oedipus fears he may eventually murder his father until the messenger arrives with the news that Polybus has died.

At this point, Oedipus feels relieved because he believes the burden of his fate is over since his “father” has died. On the contrary, the reader knows his troubles are just beginning when the messenger explains to Oedipus how Polybus is not his real father. Oedipus’ predestined fate and growing pride, which stem from his noble birth, unfortunately lead to his demise as a ruler and his banishment from Thebes. From the time he was born, Oedipus was destined not only to kill his father but also to marry his mother.

However, Oedipus does not know who his actual parents are and thus, runs away and toward his fate at the same time. As Oedipus explains to Jocasta, about his past and the fate given to him by the Oracle, he tells her, “I must marry my mother and kill my father. At this I fled away. ” When Oedipus flees from home he thinks he is avoiding his fate, but the reader knows he is actually approaching closer to his fate. When Oedipus enters the realm of Thebes and becomes king, his pride blossoms almost to the point of arrogance.

Tragically, his pride makes the fall from his throne even more pronounced. The conversation between Teiresias and Oedipus on pages 34-36 illustrates Oedipus’ pride and the continuation of dramatic irony of the play. Throughout the argument between the two men, Oedipus accuses Teiresias of being blind when Teiresias tries to explain to Oedipus that he is the real killer. The reader knows that Oedipus, due to his overwhelming pride, is the more blind of the two because he does not want to face the truth about himself and his fate.

Further exemplifying Oedipus’ pride in creating dramatic irony, Oedipus continuously accuses Creon of trying to steal the throne away from him. Oedipus refers to Thebes as, “his city”, but Creon challenges Oedipus by saying, “Is she not also mine? ” This creates more dramatic irony because the reader knows who Laius’ murderer is, while Oedipus does not. Oedipus’ fate and his excessive pride help to reinforce the dramatic irony produced in the play. Throughout the foregoing series of events, all of which take place in a single day, Sophocles develops dramatic irony through the characteristics of his tragic hero.

Oedipus Rex

Throughout history, writers and philosophers have expressed their views about how the life of man is ultimately defined in their works. The Greeks have played their part in this quest. One of the great plays of the ancient Greek world that led the way for others was Sophocles Oedipus Rex. In this play, Sophocles shows us a chapter from the life of man. Throughout the book, he hints at the idea that life poses a riddle for man to solve thereby being a quest for the answer. He also hints to us that life is seemingly predetermined by the gods desires, giving rise to a fated world.

Finally, Sophocles also believes that life is filled with paradox and irony. Given these difficulties, Sophocles regards the life of man with utmost respect and admiration. In Oedipus Rex, it is Oedipus who represents Sophocles ideal human hero. He displays the defining qualities of a morally correct human. Oedipus, unlike Odysseus in the Odyssey, another Greek work, had no divine influence, yet he still is able to continue for the truth after much hardship. Given all the circumstances, Oedipus still manages to live through to the end without losing composure.

Sophocles would definitely honor such a man. Both Oedipus life and his kingdom were filled with riddles, paradoxes, and mysteries. Oedipus beginning and ending at Thebes both arose from the riddle of the oracle. Without his parents confrontation with the oracle, Oedipus would not have been cast away from Thebes in the first place. Yet without the riddle of the sphinx, Oedipus would not have arrived at his royal position. This could be Sophocles method to involve our minds, letting us know that every action we take has an effect on us later in life. At Thebes he is bothered by the plague of the city.

For this mystery, Oedipus consistently strives for the truth, disregarding all tries to stop his quest. In a way, the riddles represent a much more broader and significant part of mans trials. Oedipus own encounter with the sphinx shows his insight upon life. Oedipus is a example for man from all his experiences in each stage: early childhood, mid-life climax, and downfall after tragedy. He gains knowledge into the definition of life at each step. Although it may seem universal for all men to live through this cycle, Oedipus dealings with riddles also plague him with tragedy, ignorance, and innocence.

This makes him more of an inspiration to man. In Oedipus the Kings world, it was the gods who set the fate for all. Both Oedipus and Laius had consulted oracles, which are derived from the gods without human intervention. Here, Sophocles seems to show us that life comes to us all as a certain, fixed object that has already been set to the gods desires. Whatever will happen, does happen. Man may think and believe that he is in control from his actions, but this can be merely regarded as trickery by the gods. Man does have free will, because no one forces you to do anything.

Instead, it is the persons character that plays part of his future. With Oedipus, it is his own character that fulfills the prophecy. After consulting the oracle at Pytho, Oedipus leaves Cornith because of his own family morality. He does not want “to kill his father or sleep with his mother,” but attempting to avoid it complicates matters. Oedipus is Sophocles inspiration for man, because he lives to be a truth-seeker, no matter how others may impede in his path. Oedipus follows morality and accepts responsibility for his actions, whether they were intentional or not. No one else in the play has enough courage to do so.

Looking at Jocasta, we can see how she attempts to soothe Oedipus and tells him to let it go time after time, “Then lay no more of them to heart, not one”. She also takes the quick way out of matters. The old Theben shepherd proves to be even worse, seeing how he never tells the truth unless threatened. Jocasta and the shepherd act to amplify Oedipus heroism. By contrasting Oedipus, they represent Sophocles method of telling us the uniqueness of a hero. As we see, the hero is unlike others, Oedipus realizes that his actions for knowledge may result in pain and suffering, which to him is better than ignorance and happiness.

After all, it was for the good of the city. He had already saved the city once with his intellect, therefore it is his duty to do so again to the best to his ability. In the end he even punishes himself, once again showing responsibility and justice for his actions. Like any other man, Oedipus also has certain character flaws. At times, he shows too much hubris, and arrogance. He believes that he is able to understand and conquer all, yet this may be one of the reasons for his downfall. In combination with this flaw, we find ignorance in him too.

Oedipus unknowingly curses himself when he speaks of punishment for the murderer. He also blindly accuses Creon of being an enemy, “Youre quick to speak, but I am slow to grasp you, for I have found you dangerous, and my foe. In both these situations, he acts without evidence. Even though he commits these violations when he is hotheaded, he displays irrational thought, something everyone can do at one time or another. Given all these traits, we see that Oedipus was a great man and becomes a hero at the end. He pursued the truth at whatever personal cost and he had the strength to accept and endure it when found.

The Similarities Between Creon and Antigone

“Ah Creon! Is there no man left in the world-” Teirsesias Greek theatre played a large role in Greece. The citizens were supposed to learn from the mistakes made in tragedies. The citizens should have learned what not to be like as a citizen or person. In a Greek trilogy written by Sophocles there are two ma in characters, Antigone and Creon. They are both strong willed and stubborn people. Both being unwilling to change, they both seal each others fate. Creon is passionate. . Antigone is full of rage. They are both so similar they can not see eye to eye .

Although they may seem quite different, Creon and Antigone share any similarities throughout the story. They are both very independent people. Antigone is extremely independent.. She doesn’t mind doing anything on her own. For example, in the beginning of the story when Antigone is talking with Ismene, she asks for her help . When Ismene refuses she is furious with her. Then Ismene decides to act independently. Creon is also very independent. He refuses to accept anyone’s opinions except his own. When his son Haimon comes to talk with him he refuses to listen , claiming that Haimon is “girlst ruck! ” and corrupted .

Teirsesais comes and tells him a morbid prophecy. Creon will not listen to this either. He claims that Teirsesais has been corrupted by money, like many prophets at that time. He finally listens to the Charagous when reminded th at Teiresias has never been wrong. Antigone has no problem working by her self either. She demonstrates this when she slipped by all the guards that were protecting the dead body of Polyneices. Creon and Antigone are both independent, and they are both very loyal. They are loyal to their views. Creon is especially loyal to his laws. Antigone is loyal to her beliefs. Creon will not change his laws.

An example of this occurs when he and An tigone argue. He calls her “A traitor” For giving a burial for her dead brother Polyneices. He is so loyal to his own laws that he fails to see that he is disobeying the law of the gods. Antigone puts the laws of the gods ahead of the laws of the state s. She goes ahead and buries her brother. Which was strictly prohibited by Creon. This shows her short-sightedness is because she only does what she thinks the gods want. Instead of abiding by the law that Creon decreed. Creon is also short-sighted because he refuses to believe any other opinions or laws than his own.

Creon and Antigone are both so loyal which can also make them very extreme. Creon is an extremist in reason. He thinks his law is the most important. Antigone is an extremist of passion. Creon is unwilling to put the god’s law above his law. He is u nwilling to listen to the passionate pleas of his son to let Antigone live. He instead puts his laws first, and states that if he lets Antigone live after she has broken his law, “How shall I earn the worlds obedience? ” His extreme will, later leads to his son’s death because he thinks his son has been corrupted by Antigone.

Antigone is equally as extreme and she will not listen to the reasoning of her sister Ismene. Ismene reminds her of the problems and dangers she is undertaking when she goes ou t to bury Polyneices. Antigone will not listen though, and this ends up killing her as well. Because Creon and Antigone are very extreme in their ways this can also make them cruel and foolish people. Creon is quite cruel to everyone around him. He never once listens to anyone, but instead he acts foolishly and hurts everyone. When he is talk ing to his son Haimon, he retorts that Haimon is “a fool” and that he is, “Taken in by a woman!

These words and his fathers attitude hurts Haimon and he becomes filled with rage towards his foolish father. Antigone is also cruel and foolish. Especial ly to her sister Ismene. Ismene tries to help Antigone in the start of the play. When she tries to tell Antigone not to risk everything to please the gods. Antigone won’t listen though, She just tells her “Go away Ismene. I will be hating you soon”, in a striking example of her cruelty. Ismene and Antigone have been caring sisters until suddenly Antigone abandons her because she does not agree to help bury their brother.

Creon also is cruel to his old friend and prophet, Teirsesias. Teirsesias co mes to warn him that if he does not free Antigone that bad things will happen, but Creon doesn’t believe him. He claims that Teirsesias has “sold out” as a prophet and shows how foolish he is not to trust a long standing friend who has never been wrong. Creon and Antigone are both plagued by hubris. Creon wants to stand by the law he has made. Antigone is willing to risk it all to stand by the law of the gods and what is right. Creon’s stubbornness is clear when his old friend and prophet Teirsesias. Tells him to free Antigone.

Creon stubbornly refuses and remarks to the old wise man, “Bribes are baser then any baseness” Creon does not even listen to Teirsesias, who made him king in the first place. He is so stubborn that he refuses to listen cl aiming that Teirsesias had been corrupted by money and so his pride hampers his good judgment. He is so concentrated on everyone being corrupted that he does not even listen to common sense. His son, Haimon tries to come tell him that he should not s entence Antigone to death. Creon is outraged by his son siding with her. He tells Haimon that he is a “Fool, adolescent fool! Taken in by a woman!

Haimon responds to this by saying that he is “perverse” Creon, even more outraged, calls him a “Girls struck fool” Haimon storms off with a loathing hatred for his father’s arrogant pride and stubbornness. Antigone has equal hubris herself. She is so passionate on burying her brother that she will not listen to reason. Full of arrogance and indignati on, she will not listen to the words of her sister. Ismene warned her of the dangers of burying their brother Polyneices but Antigone will not listen. She calls Ismene a “traitor” for not coming to help her and Ismene shakingly replies “I am so afraid o f you”.

Antigone, nstead of listening to the common sense of her sister, snaps back that “You need not be: you have yourself to consider, after all”. Later in the story Antigone is arrested for burying her brother and Ismene comes crawling back to her. Ismene breaks the conversation between Antigone and Creon by admitting that, “I am guilty, if she let me say so”. Antigone will not let her and retorts coldly, “No, Ismene. you have no right to say so. You would not help me, and I will not have you h elp me” This reveals clearly how arrogant and stubborn Antigone can be. Even after her sister wants to share in her punishment and crawls back to her.

She will not accept it to her own demise. Creon and Antigone are both remarkably similar people. Ironically, they are both so much the same that they can not see it. The flaws they share make neither of them willing to listen to the other. Many of their traits are identical, but their opinion s are so different that they can’t stand each other. Sophocles did an excellent job in portraying the two vast extremes of the spectrum, passion and reason. This story hopefully proves to people that neither extreme passion nor extreme reason, but rather be in the middle and achieve arete.

Role of Greek Gods In the Illiad

With our view of God, it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend the actions and thinking of the Greek deities. The Christian God does not tend to take such an active role in the affairs of people’s lives, where, on the other hand, the Greeks regarded direct involvement by the gods as a daily, uncontrollable part of life. Needless to say, divine intervention was a major variable in the equation of Homer’s Iliad. The gods picked who they would favour for different reasons.

Except Zeus: As the symbol of supreme authority and justice, he makes judgement calls as to the other gods’ involvement in the war, remains mpartial, and doesn’t seem to get caught up in picking favourites. Even when his own son, Sarpedon, was about to die, Zeus chose to let the outcome go unaltered. On the other hand, Zeus’s wife, Hera, displayed the more typical actions of a god. After Paris, a Trojan, judged Aphrodite the fairest over Hera, and, after her daughter Hebe was replaced as cupbearer to the gods by a young Trojan boy, she was quite resentful towards Troy and its people.

Obviously she sided with the Greeks and would stop at no length to express her will. Scheming and manipulating she even dared to trick her husband, King of the Gods. Hera, along with Athena, who was also passed over by Paris, is seen as the chief divine aid to the Greeks. Being the god of the sea, Poseidon was another strong supporter of the ocean-faring Greeks. Whenever Zeus turned his back Poseidon tried to help the Greeks in the fight. Poseidon felt that he was somewhat Zeus’s equal as his brother, but recognizing Zeus’s authority and experience, he looked to Zeus as an elder.

There were also Gods who favoured the Trojan side of the conflict. Both Apollo and Artemis, twin brother and sister, gave aid to the city of Troy. Although Artemis takes a rather minor role, Apollo, perhaps angered by Agamemmnon’s refusal to ransom Khryseis, the daughter of one of his priests and was constantly changing the course of the war in favour of the Trojans. Responsible for sending plague to the Greeks, Apollo was the first god to make an appearance in the Iliad. Also, mainly because Apollo and Artemis were on the Trojan side, their mother, Leto, also helped the Trojans.

Aphrodite, obviously supporting Paris’s judgement, sided with the Trojans. Although she was insignificant on the battlefield, Aphrodite was successful in convincing Ares, her lover and the god of war, to elp the Trojans. One view of the gods’ seemingly constant intervention in the war was that they were just setting fate back on the right course. For instance, when Patroklos was killed outside of Troy, Apollo felt no guilt for his doings. It had already been decided that Patroklos would not take Troy, he should never have disobeyed Achilles in the first place.

As a god, he was just setting fate on a straight line. Achilles laid blame on Hektor and the Trojans. He did not even consider accusing Apollo, who never came into question, although he was primarily responsible for the kill. Apollo’s part in the matter was merely accepted as a natural disaster or illness would be today. This general acceptance of a god’s will is a recurring trend throughout the poem. A prime example of this trend is in book XXIV. Achilles, angry over the death of Patroklos brutally disgraced Hektor’s body.

Tethering Hektor’s corpse through the ankles, Achilles dragged him around Patroklos’s tomb every day for twelve days. This barbaric treatment was uncalled for and displeased the gods greatly. Achilles mother, Thetis, was sent by Zeus to tell him to ransom the body back to the Trojans. One may think Achilles would be possessive of the body and attempt to put up a fuss as he did before with Agamemmnon in Book I. But, Achilles showed humility and respect for the gods and immediately agreed to ransom the body to the Trojans, showing that all mortals, even god-like Achilles, were answerable to the gods.

This ideology would seem to give the gods a sort of unlimited freedom on earth, although, the gods could not always do as they pleased and eventually had to come before Zeus. Zeus acted as a balance of sorts throughout the Iliad. He had to keep the gods in rder and make sure that what fate decreed would happen. For example, after Achilles re-enters the battle Zeus declared that if Achilles was allowed to go on slaughtering the Trojans with nothing to slow him down, he would take Troy before fate said it would happen.

Therefore, to counter Achilles massive retaliation against the Trojans, Zeus allowed the gods to go back to the battle field. In Zeus’s own interests, he preferred to deal with issues more personal to the individual heros of the Iliad. This can be seen throughout the book as Zeus attempted to increase the honour of ertain individuals. Zeus knew that Hektor was going to be killed by Achilles, and, feeling sorry for Hektor Zeus attempted to allow Hektor to die an honourable death. For instance, when Hektor stripped Achilles armour off Patroklos, Zeus helped Hektor “fill out” the armour so he would not seem like less of a man then Achilles.

Zeus also gave his word to Thetis that Achilles would gain much glory showing his involvement on a personal level. Homer used the gods and their actions to establish twists on the plot of the war. It would not have been possible for him to write the tory without the divine interventions of the gods. Indeed, they affected every aspect the poem in some way, shape or form. Yet, from the immortal perspective of the Greek god, the Trojan war, and everything related to it, was only a passing adventure in the great expanse of time.

Iliad Role of Greek Gods In the Illiad With our view of God, it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend the actions and thinking of the Greek deities. The Christian God does not tend to take such an active role in the affairs of people’s lives, where, on the other hand, the Greeks regarded direct involvement by he gods as a daily, uncontrollable part of life. Needless to say, divine intervention was a major variable in the equation of Homer’s Iliad. The gods picked who they would favour for different reasons.

Except Zeus: As the symbol of supreme authority and justice, he makes judgement calls as to the other gods’ involvement in the war, remains impartial, and doesn’t seem to get caught up in picking favourites. Even when his own son, Sarpedon, was about to die, Zeus chose to let the outcome go unaltered. On the other hand, Zeus’s wife, Hera, displayed the more typical actions of a god. After Paris, a Trojan, judged Aphrodite the fairest over Hera, and, after her daughter Hebe was replaced as cupbearer to the gods by a young Trojan boy, she was quite resentful towards Troy and its people.

Obviously she sided with the Greeks and would stop at no length to express her will. Scheming and manipulating she even dared to trick her husband, King of the Gods. Hera, along with Athena, who was also passed over by Paris, is seen as the chief divine aid to the Greeks. Being the god of the sea, Poseidon was another strong supporter of the ocean-faring Greeks. Whenever Zeus turned his back Poseidon ried to help the Greeks in the fight. Poseidon felt that he was somewhat Zeus’s equal as his brother, but recognizing Zeus’s authority and experience, he looked to Zeus as an elder.

There were also Gods who favoured the Trojan side of the conflict. Both Apollo and Artemis, twin brother and sister, gave aid to the city of Troy. Although Artemis takes a rather minor role, Apollo, perhaps angered by Agamemmnon’s refusal to ransom Khryseis, the daughter of one of his priests and was constantly changing the course of the war in favour of the Trojans. Responsible for sending lague to the Greeks, Apollo was the first god to make an appearance in the Iliad. Also, mainly because Apollo and Artemis were on the Trojan side, their mother, Leto, also helped the Trojans.

Aphrodite, obviously supporting Paris’s judgement, sided with the Trojans. Although she was insignificant on the battlefield, Aphrodite was successful in convincing Ares, her lover and the god of war, to help the Trojans. One view of the gods’ seemingly constant intervention in the war was that they were just setting fate back on the right course. For instance, when Patroklos was killed outside of Troy, Apollo felt no uilt for his doings. It had already been decided that Patroklos would not take Troy, he should never have disobeyed Achilles in the first place.

As a god, he was just setting fate on a straight line. Achilles laid blame on Hektor and the Trojans. He did not even consider accusing Apollo, who never came into question, although he was primarily responsible for the kill. Apollo’s part in the matter was merely accepted as a natural disaster or illness would be today. This general acceptance of a god’s will is a recurring trend throughout the poem. A prime example of this trend is in book XXIV. Achilles, angry over the death of Patroklos brutally disgraced Hektor’s body.

Tethering Hektor’s corpse through the ankles, Achilles dragged him around Patroklos’s tomb every day for twelve days. This barbaric treatment was uncalled for and displeased the gods greatly. Achilles mother, Thetis, was sent by Zeus to tell him to ransom the body back to the Trojans. One may think Achilles would be possessive of the body and attempt to put up a fuss as he did before with Agamemmnon in Book I. But, Achilles showed humility and respect for the gods and immediately agreed to ransom the body to the Trojans, howing that all mortals, even god-like Achilles, were answerable to the gods.

This ideology would seem to give the gods a sort of unlimited freedom on earth, although, the gods could not always do as they pleased and eventually had to come before Zeus. Zeus acted as a balance of sorts throughout the Iliad. He had to keep the gods in order and make sure that what fate decreed would happen. For example, after Achilles re-enters the battle Zeus declared that if Achilles was allowed to go on slaughtering the Trojans with nothing to slow him down, he would take Troy before fate said it would happen.

Therefore, to counter Achilles massive retaliation against the Trojans, Zeus allowed the gods to go back to the battle field. In Zeus’s own interests, he preferred to deal with issues more personal to the individual heros of the Iliad. This can be seen throughout the book as Zeus attempted to increase the honour of certain individuals. Zeus knew that Hektor was going to be killed by Achilles, and, feeling sorry for Hektor Zeus attempted to allow Hektor to die an honourable death. For instance, when Hektor stripped Achilles armour off Patroklos, Zeus helped Hektor “fill out” the rmour so he would not seem like less of a man then Achilles.

Zeus also gave his word to Thetis that Achilles would gain much glory showing his involvement on a personal level. Homer used the gods and their actions to establish twists on the plot of the war. It would not have been possible for him to write the story without the divine interventions of the gods. Indeed, they affected every aspect the poem in some way, shape or form. Yet, from the immortal perspective of the Greek god, the Trojan war, and everything related to it, was only a passing adventure in the great expanse of time.

Telemakhos – Greek Mythology

Every boy would like to be characterized as a man. Most look to age or the way they see their own maturity to determine manhood for themselves. Neither age nor self-image can determine whether or not you have become a man. In that time, arete would be used to determine ones manhood. Early in the Odyssey, we see Telemakhos daydreaming as an untrained boy. The book says, “… -for he, too, was sitting there, unhappy among the suitors, a boy, daydreaming”(277). He is no comparison to Odysseus as a leader or fighter. As the book goes on, we see Telemakhos become more and more like his father.

By the end of the fight with the suitors we see him now matured from the youth we saw into the man he should be. Telemakhos tries to be like his father to the best of his ability, even though his father has been away since he was merely an infant. The only father he knew was from stories told by people, including his mother. He also dreamed constantly of the man his father must have been, thinking, “What if his great father came from the unknown world and drove these men like dead leaves through the place, recovering honor and lordship in his own domains”(277).

It is as if Odysseus did raise his son in some ways, through the dreams and stories, perhaps being a better figure to look up to rather than in person. In the dreams and stories, you can be built up to be more than you really are. In person, you can see how flawed the person really is, which may lower your opinions and ideals. But still, one would not want to sacrifice that for the intimate father and son love and memories that would have been attained during childhood. The better father would be the one that was always there.

By traveling far from home and risking his life to learn about his father, Telemakhos is forced to mature at a tremendous rate. He learns more from his trip than he could have by staying at home with the suitors. From Nestor and Menelaos he learns courage, bravery, and how to be both a man and a host. He learns that he must fight against what the suitors represent, to stop them from claiming what is his. Nestor and Menelaos guide Telemakhos, with Athena’s help, toward manhood, a destination long overdue. When Odysseus finally reaches home the first person he reveals himself to, besides Athena, is Telemakhos.

Their reunion is full of joy and emotion leading to tears. Odysseus immediately treats him like an inferior telling Telemakhos his plans while expecting him to carry them out. This is a role that Telemakhos still deserves, though not for long. After the plans are laid, Telemakhos gathers the suitors spears and shields, along with his fathers display of weapons, while his father finds out how strong the suitors are. Telemakhos does very well in gathering the arms and keeping the suitors busy while holding his temper at the mistreatment of his disguised father. He does not want to jeopardize a triumph with ignorance.

He acts very mature, having learned from the best sources in the land. He has definitely changed from the boy he was. Telemakhos does equal his father by the end of the book. He strings the bow that only Odysseus could string and stops only because of his fathers plan, and he said, “Blast and damn it, must I be a milksop all my life”(549)? Saying this, he proves he has wisdom over pride because he could have proved equal to his father with everyone watching. Instead he gained much arete by using his wisdom over selfish ambition. He obviously has the strength and wit of Odysseus and it is clear that Athena favors him as she does his father.

When time comes for Odysseus to reveal himself, the suitors mock the decision of the queen to let the beggar try to string the bow. Telemakhos says, “Mother, as to the bow and who may handle it or not handle it, no man here has more authority than I do-… “(555). Then he tells her to go to her room so that she will be safe. Telemakhos changes greatly during the Odyssey. He matures, grows smarter and wiser, and becomes much more like his father. He learns a lot from Nestor, Menelaos and Athena, but when Odysseus returns home he is finally able to take his rightful place as equal and son of Odysseus.

Antigone: The Significance of Historical Setting

Desirees Baby, by Kate Chopin, is not only a story about a mother and her child, but one of hatred and prejudices during the time in which they lived. Armand Aubigny, not knowing the origin of Desiree, fell madly in love with her as quick as a pistol shot. They were married immediately and soon after Desiree gave birth to a baby. Unfortunately, as the baby grew older, a particular feature stood out which changed the attitude of Armand towards Desiree and the baby. Armand decided, almost as quickly as he fell in love, that he no longer loved Desiree and their baby due to a racial barrier.

The story is set in the 1800s when colonization in America was flourishing and slavery was a part of everyday life. Blacks were still referred to as negroes and picked cotton on plantations, while their masters/employers led an easy-going and indulgent life. Although, it is not clear if the story took place while slavery prevailed or just after the abolishment of slavery, for the mind set of the people was extremely prejudice, even after the integration of the different races. The Deep South, in which the story took place, was especially close minded towards the black race and interracial relationships were more or less a sin.

White men were the dominant figures of society and had a dominant role in the family life. Armand took care of his family until he noticed that the babys ethnicity was not entirely white, then he disowned Desiree and the baby by telling her to leave. This incident paralleled the mind set of the white man in the 1800s, where if a black slave did not satisfy his master in any way, he would have been lynched or kicked off the plantation with no other reason than being unsatisfactory.

Desiree was rejected by her husband who thought she wasnt of white decent, when, in fact, it was Armand who belonged to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery. His ignorance led to the death of a woman he once loved and his interracial son. Because of color, people of the Deep South were treated like animals rather than equal human beings. During this era, blacks served as scapegoats to all of the mishaps and problems that occurred in the society; thus Desirees baby was an outcast in the society dominated by the white race and was better off with his mother.

Oedious As A Statement Of Hope In Oedipus At Colonus

The Greek tragedy Oedipus at Colonus was written by the great and renowned Greek playwright Sophocles at around 404 B. C. or so. In the play, considered to be one of the best Greek dramas ever written, Sophocles uses the now broken down and old Oedipus as a statement of hope for man. As Oedipus was royalty and honor before his exile from his kingdom of Thebes he is brought down to a poor, blind old man who wonders, “Who will receive the wandering Oedipus today? ” (Sophocles 283) most of the time of his life that is now as low as a peasant’s.

Although former ruler of Thebes has been blinded and desecrated to the point where he is a beggar, he will not give up on his life and on the life of his two daughters Antigone and Ismene, and his two sons Eteocles and Polynieces who were supposed to help their sorrowful father like true sons and true men but instead they “tend the hearth like girls. “(304). Yet Oedipus still gives praise to those who have helped him, his daughters Antigone and Ismene, although he has no sight, is poor, and his life is of no meaning to him, he recognizes honor and loyalty when he sees it:

Antigone from the time she left her childhood behind and came into full strength, has volunteered for grief, wandering with me, leading the old misery, hungryHard labor, but you endured it all, never a second though for home, a decent life, so long as your father had some care and comfort. And you, child, in the early days, all unknown to Thebes you left the city, brought your father the oracles, and prophecy said to touch his life. You were my faithful guard, you took that part when I was an exile from the land” (304).

It would be hard to think of any suffering more overwhelming than the suffering that was endured by Oedipus: “At the summit of his power he discovered himself damned, by his own pertinacity [stubborn persistence] discovered that he had horribly offended against the decencies by which men must live. In one day he fell from sovereignty and fame to self- blinded degradation, and later was driven into exile. ” (Fitzgerald 145). In the eyes of all the people, Oedipus was looked at as no better than a slave and was treated as no better than one as well.

When being led by his older daughter Antigone after 20 years of exile from his homeland Oedipus and Antigone stumble upon the city of Colonus, a beautiful city governed by King Theseus. Oedipus entering the city in old rags, as a blind poor man is a contrast between Oedipus and the beauty of Colonus of which is easily revealed. (145). Here in the cities are where the Furies dwell. Those who commit severe sins, such as murder in Oedipus’ case, are pursued to these Furies. Oedipus, well aware that the Furies must punish him as an act of punishment from the gods, asks the chorus to tell him “their awesome names so I can pray to them. (Sophocles 285).

After all that Oedipus has suffered; after killing his own mother and having wed his mother, after being betrayed by his sons, after exile, after blinding himself so he would not have to look into the eyes of the horrors of life, “why is he merely not an obsessed and vindictive old man? ” (Fitzgerald 148). Oedipus was and still is an intelligent man in the play, as wee see him going for the supreme importance of the pure man. “During the years in which Oedipus probed his own guilt he has come to terms with it. ” (148).

Though he was guilty of murder and of incest relations he has redeemed his sins and is still hopeful for a second chance at life as an honest and noble man in the eyes of the gods. Oedipus is considered to be a large symbol of hope in Oedipus at Colonus. In the play, Oedipus is a protagonist, a good man, a former ruler, who wants to redeem himself for the dreadful sins he has committed some 20 years ago or so. Oedipus’ dress is quite significant in his mark of hope and him the protagonist because in the later years of Sophocles, “he began to stage his men as beggared kings and heroes in rags” (Whitman 146).

Sophocles did this to his protagonists to express that true good men have benevolent inner and outer morals and “it is hard to see how the supremacy of man’s inner divinity could have achieved fuller expression than in the shimmering vision of Oedipus. ” (146). The true purpose of Oedipus’ appearance and his purpose in life in Oedipus at Colonus really was to not show that god show mercy on men and men can redeem themselves heavenly in the eyes of the gods but the purpose was bring out the, so called, god and divinity, in men: Oedipus, beginning with that knowledge, now becomes a god- in the specifically fifth-century sense of a god such as man can become

His anguished burden of tragic courage has by its very weight prevented him from turning into the shadow the gods would make for him; for his tragic courage is as divine and inviolable as they. ” (146-147). In the plays of Sophocles, the protagonist who is action-oriented is behaving as any hero should and does behave. In Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus does not lack action so he therefore can be regarded as a hero, although his triumph has halted years back.

Oedipus would not be considered the best of Sophocles’ heroes if he achieved his successfulness by his own self-destructiveness. (147). After Creon comes to Colonus to take Oedipus back to Thebes and bury him right outside their borders so the city will not be plagued Oedipus refuses to go and yet persistent Creon does not withdraw. He captures Oedipus’ guide and beloved daughter Antigone so that Oedipus will suffer more than he already has. But still Oedipus remains confident that he will get his revenge on those who harmed him most.

Wandering around Greece for 20 years in exile has been a hard feat for Oedipus and for his young daughter but Oedipus still lives, not only because the gods let him live until he has fulfilled his destiny but because he alone knows that he must fulfill his destiny. Although blind Oedipus cannot see, he sees what he must he do before he is to leave the world. When Oedipus’ own sons betray their father he still remains focused on his revenge and he dies at the end but only after he has had his revenge on those who he planned it on and after his daughters are safe from the threat of Thebes and it’s inhabitants and rulers.

Sophocles made it so clear that Oedipus was a representation of hope in Oedipus at Colonus that other playwrights, such as Seneca, a famous Spanish playwright, used characters after Oedipus in his tragedies. However, “In literary quality, Seneca’s tragedies will not bear comparison with Greek tragedy. ” (Baade XV). Sophocles made Oedipus such a sign of hope for Seneca, that he began writing tragedies of that stature. (Baade XIV). Since Oedipus wasn’t allowed exile from Thebes to the mountains by Creon, he was forced to live in the palace as Creon was the king and his two boys grew up to be men.

When he finally leaves Thebes and wanders for many years as a beggar with his young daughter Antigone by his side as his guide. “His life is so wretched that he feels death creeping up on him,” but he knows he cannot die until he has had his revenge. (Melchinger 154). An oracle is given to the people of Thebes that the town where Oedipus is dead and buried will be at peace. Knowing of this oracle, Oedipus still continues on to Athens to seek refuge and redeem his sins.

“The play describes how Oedipus approaches death, and how political power tries to seize him in order to secure its own salvation. (155). Throughout this escapade, Oedipus remains loyal and true to his destiny before he dies in anyway, by force or by act of the gods. This is why Sophocles allows Oedipus a choice of where he should die, because he is so concentrated on the well being of his daughters and on his fates. One main point of why Oedipus is an icon for all hope is his interaction with the king of Athens/Colonus, King Theseus. Throughout mythology, King Theseus was known for his kindness and goodness and his willingness to help people.

When this poor, old, blind, broken down Oedipus enters Colonus and Theseus speaks to him for the first time, he quickly agrees to help the poor man with anything that he asks of him because he knows what suffering he has had and what his life has been like since birth and the fact that Oedipus has carried on this far amazes the young Theseus who is willing to care for this poor beggar: “Such kindness-who could reject such a man? First, in any case, Oedipus is our ally: by mutual rights we owe him hospitality I espect his claims, I’ll never reject the gifts he offers, no, I will settle him in our land, a fellow-citizen with full rights. ” (Sophocles 323).

These gifts Oedipus offers are the desecration of his body. When he dies he must be put in the grave of the city where he chooses to die and that city will never have disputes and will remain in peace forever. When blinded Oedipus entered Colonus, Theseus vowed to him he would protect him always and never let anyone take him away against the will of Theseus: “I do know this: no one can take you away from here against y will. Men have threatened for ages, blustered their threats to nothing in their rage I know my name will shield you well, you’ll never come to grief. ” (Sophocles 325). When Creon comes to Colonus to “take back Oedipus and give the proper burial he deserves in his true homeland,” Theseus steps in and holds true to his word, his name did shield Oedipus. (Roche 158).

Before Oedipus should die and be buried, be buried in Athens, he must continue with his atonement for his sins and purify his soul before he may enter the afterlife. Roche 159). In this part of the play Sophocles makes use of that Oedipus is a sign of hope and the fact that Theseus will guard Oedipus makes it evident that Theseus believes in Oedipus’ hopes and desires. Theseus knows Oedipus will properly fulfill his destiny and he has hope in him that Oedipus will die in Athens after his soul is cleansed of all evil, and then all will be at peace. Sophocles has built his plays on the audience knowing the outcome of the end of the play.

In Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles “constructed scenes to get the most out of the ironic contrast between appearance and reality. ” (O’Brien 32). In the play Oedipus seems to the characters in the play to be a poor, blind, helpless old man with no hope or meaning in life. Yet to the audience Oedipus seems like a strong and confident man who after suffering so much, after what no ordinary man could live to bear through, will not die until he is cleansed of all evil deeds and dies when he so chooses to.

In conclusion, it is evident that Oedipus is a very big depiction of hope, not only in Oedipus at Colonus but also in Oedipus the King. Although he seems to the audience in one play as a honest and loyal man who suffers great damage, and in another one who should die and not live the miserable life of not seeing and knowing what you have done in your past. However, careful analyzing of Oedipus will lead the audience to believe Oedipus will not die until he is a pure man, his destiny is fulfilled, and he has a chosen a resting place for all eternity.

Sophocles “Oedipus the King”

Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian’s. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus’ life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius’ son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinx’s riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes have been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus’ intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinx’s riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life.

Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. Oedipus does not unselfishly seek out the truth even though he knows it will be painful for him, rather, he has no idea what the outcome of his search will be, denies the truth at every turn, and threatens those who speak it. Many people may paint Oedipus as a great man, pointing out that he pursues the truth at whatever personal cost and has the strength to accept and endure it when found. They admire that Oedipus was willing to bring himself down in his lust to find his true identity.

However, the driving force of Oedipus’ fact-finding mission is an attempt to end the disease that plagues his city. He doesn’t realize the personal consequences his hunt will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance of it. In fact, if we examine his “quest for identity”, it becomes apparent that the sequence of events are quite coincidental. First, he summons Tiresias to name the killer, who Oedipus does not at the time believe to be himself. Secon! The tragic hero Oedipus emerges as anything but a social person.

He may begin that way, motivated by a genuine desire to help the people, but what emerges throughout is different. It becomes plain to see that Oedipus is actually, deep down where it really counts, far more concerned with his own sense of self and demands for justice on his terms, than in compromising his desires like any other true leader would. This tragedy reminds us that even the bravest, those known throughout the world for their knowledge, are doomed if they set themselves up against the mystery of life itself, and if they try to force life to answer them, they are going to self-destruct. Bibliography:

Oedipus Fatre Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian’s. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus’ life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius’ son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinx’s riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes have been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus’ intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinx’s riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life.

Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. Oedipus does not unselfishly seek out the truth even though he knows it will be painful for him, rather, he has no idea what the outcome of his search will be, denies the truth at every turn, and threatens those who speak it. Many people may paint Oedipus as a great man, pointing out that he pursues the truth at whatever personal cost and has the strength to accept and endure it when found. They admire that Oedipus was willing to bring himself down in his lust to find his true identity.

However, the driving force of Oedipus’ fact-finding mission is an attempt to end the disease that plagues his city. He doesn’t realize the personal consequences his hunt will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance of it. In fact, if we examine his “quest for identity”, it becomes apparent that the sequence of events are quite coincidental. First, he summons Tiresias to name the killer, who Oedipus does not at the time believe to be himself. Secon! The tragic hero Oedipus emerges as anything but a social person.

He may begin that way, motivated by a genuine desire to help the people, but what emerges throughout is different. It becomes plain to see that Oedipus is actually, deep down where it really counts, far more concerned with his own sense of self and demands for justice on his terms, than in compromising his desires like any other true leader would. This tragedy reminds us that even the bravest, those known throughout the world for their knowledge, are doomed if they set themselves up against the mystery of life itself, and if they try to force life to answer them, they are going to self-destruct.

The Signifigance of Irony, Metaphor, and Reversal of Situation in Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex is a tragedy of a man who attempts to flee a prophecy out of fear of what the future may hold for him, and in doing so blindly falls straight into his tragic fate. The use of literary devices in this play such as irony, metaphor, and reversal of situation in this play help to weave Sophocles masterpiece tragedy in to a work of art to be appreciated for centuries to come. The literary artwork of Oedipus Rex makes it a tragedy honorable of the title perfection. As these threads of literary devices join together throughout the play, they weave the magnificent tapestry of Oedipus Rex.

In the play Oedipus Rex, there are many hints of irony laced throughout this tragic play. The plot of the play in itself is ironic: Oedipus goal in the play is to find the source of the plagues haunting Thebes, a search which ironically leads to the main hunter, himself. Many of these threads of irony are found in the third scene of the play. For example, in the beginning of scene three, Iokaste begins the scene by presenting a prayer to the Gods to help her land in this time of turmoil. In these opening lines, Iokaste observes that the king is not himself (scene 3, line 4).

In this part of the play, Iokaste is only referring to Oedipus mood. Iokaste will later in the play discover that Oedipus is indeed not the same person that she believes him to be. Iokaste had given birth to a child that she was prophesied to marry years later, and so not to shame herself with this event in the future; she bound the baby and left it in the forest to die. What she does not know is that another family found him, and raised him, and he is now the man that she has married in Laius absence.

Another spot of irony in scene three of the play: In line 182, Oedipus blindly boasts when speaking on why he insists that he pursue the truth I am a child of luck, I cannot be dishonored. Ironically, Oedipus is actually extremely unlucky as he blindly follows a path that he thinks will lead him away from his predestined fate. In reality, this path only leads him directly to it. Another thread of irony To add color to the Oedipus Rex tapestry, Sophocles adds to his play the threads of metaphor. The riddle of the Sphinx becomes a metaphor for Oedipus himself.

Oedipus is the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits, which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus life and to further characterized him as a tragic man. The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of Thebes: What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest?

Oedipus correctly answered Man and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well-being. Oedipus was the child of Iokaste and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a Shepard to be killed so the omen of the god Apollo that Laius son would kill him and lay with Iokaste would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point.

If it has not been for the Shepard sparing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them. Unintentionally, Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Iokaste the Queen of Thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Iokaste a plague kills many of the people of Thebes.

Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very persistent in the inquiry and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Iokaste kills herself at the horrible realization that she has married her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth. This fulfills the final part of the Sphinxs riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx.

The literary device reversal of situation becomes the foundation for the Oedipus Rex tapestry. As indicated previously, Oedipus opens the play as man of pride, a man on top. As Oedipus pursues his truth and his fate, he tragically falls to the bottom, and becomes a man of shame. It had been prophesied to Oedipus many years earlier that in his future he was destined to marry his own mother, shed his fathers blood (scene 3, line 89). To avoid this from happening, Oedipus attempts to flee from whom he believes his birth parents in Corinth, and finds himself saving the day by solving the Sphinx in Thebes.

As a reward for saving the city, Oedipus is crowned king, and marries the queen, who is his real birth mother. This act of unintentional incest brings a plague upon the town, which Oedipus attempts to lift. When found that he is the source of the plague, he must inflict punishment upon himself. Throughout the course of the play, Oedipus has gone from Savior to terrorist, husband to son, king to commonality, man of honor to a man of shame. Anything and everything that Oedipus was at the beginning of the play he is by act of fate not at the end of the play.

Oedipus reversal sets the foundation for the story line of the play. The articulate tapestry of the story Oedipus Rex is that of a tale that has fascinated readers for years past and years to come. Through the literary threads of irony, metaphor, and reversal of situation, Sophocles play Oedipus Rex presents an entrancing story line that keeps the reader interested throughout the play. After a more intense look at the play, it is understandable why Aristotle could call a play so great a perfect tragedy.