The Powers Above Essay Research Paper The — страница 2
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Zeus’ mere presence in the form of a god is enough to kill Semele. Most every god or goddess has power over a vital aspect of human survival, therefore putting humans at their mercy. Mortals that go against the gods inevitably end up in great dispair. In the tragedy, The Bacchae, young king Pentheus, and his mother and aunts meet a miserable doom for disobeying and doubting the god Dionysus. Pentheus mocked and refused to worship the new god, and remained stubborn and arrogant until he met death in the face. Punished mortals were many a time made an example of to the rest of the human world. Dionysus made Petheus’ death an example by having his mother and aunts kill him and exploit his head for all the city to see. His death also serves to punish his mother, Semele’s, sisters for not believing that Zeus is the father of Dionysus. Insanity possessed the women, and they unknowingly killed their own king. Their guilt would be an eternal punishment, along with banishment from the city. The gods always take terrible revenge on humans who wrong them. Sometimes, the gods take pity on humans for things that happen that are out of their control, but other times, the gods punish the mortals. In The Bacchae, Cadmus and his wife are sentenced to be serpents and roam the world for generations. Cadmus worshipped Dionysus and tried to get Pentheus to so the same, but still ended up with a miserable fate. His daughters were banished, and his grandson and successor to the throne was violently murdered. Even though Dionysus made Cadmus face a miserable life, he eventually took pity and promised to send Cadmus to the land of the blessed in death. This shows that most of the time, the gods were compassionate to mortals with integrity and fear of the higher powers. The gods also have power over each other. There is definitely a pecking order on Mount Olympus, and it is very clear in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Prometheus goes against Zeus’ wishes and befriends the rudimentary race of humans. He is bound to a rock for centuries to be pecked at by a bird everyday. In the play Zeus is depicted as a villainous tyrant, but one with which the other gods give a great amount of respect and fear. Might describes Zeus’ rule perfectly in a conversation to Hephaestus when he remarks that “There is nothing without discomfort except the overlordship of the Gods. For only Zeus is free” (P.B. 49). This shows the power Zeus has over the other gods. The relationship between the Greek gods and the mortals is fairly well defined. Gods can help in a time of crisis, but only if they want to and see it fit to do so. They have power over most everything in a human’s life, from weather to death. Humans usually recognize this and pay their respects to the gods. If a mortal does not give thanks and worship to the gods they can face a terrible doom, as seen in the plays by Sophocles and Euripides. The higher beings sometimes punish humans for situations that they are not at fault for, and humans are forced to realize that they are under the mercy of the gods. As Prometheus Bound demonstrated, the gods have power over each other as well. Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles have demonstrated that the gods possessed an all-encompassing power over the entire ancient Greek world and culture. References Consulted Grene, D., and Lattimore, R., eds. “Antigone” and “Prometheus Bound.” Greek Tragedies: Volume 1. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1991. 178-232, 65-106. Grene, D., and Lattimore, R., eds. “The Bacchae.” Greek Tragedies: Volume 3. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1991. 195-262. Powell, B.B. Classical Myth. Prentice Hall: New Jersey. 459-462. Bibliography References Consulted Grene, D., and Lattimore, R., eds. “Antigone” and “Prometheus Bound.” Greek Tragedies: Volume 1. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1991. 178-232, 65-106. Grene, D., and Lattimore, R., eds. “The Bacchae.” Greek Tragedies: Volume 3. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1991. 195-262. Powell, B.B. Classical Myth. Prentice Hall: New Jersey. 459-462.
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