Interactions with the Gods

analytical Essay
2738 words
2738 words

Interactions with the Gods Nothing can be more life changing than when a god chooses to interact with a mortal man. Much of Greek mythology describes the natures of these interactions. The Olympian Gods meddle with the mortals they rule over constantly, but what is the result for these interactions, and how do they impact the mortals? The question that this paper tries to address is what is the nature of these divine interaction, and how does each side truly perceive each other? The Gods and mortals interact in a variety of ways, but the true natures of these interactions truly describe how the ancient Greeks perceived their gods. Before one can understand the interactions between the Gods and mortals, one first has to understand the nature of the Gods. In Homer, the Olympian Gods are anthropomorphic; that is to say they have human characteristics. The Gods have both a human shape as well as human emotions and needs. It is very evident that the Gods behave much like the mortals they lord over. Another facet to the Olympians Gods is that they represent a facet of nature, such as fire, water, death, weather, love, anger, nature, and death. The duel nature of the Gods creates a paradox in which the Gods are both anthropomorphic, as well as abstract representations of nature. In Homer, the Gods alternate between each of these parts, and on occasion become one. It can be best said that while the Gods are anthropomorphic, they are also a personification of nature. There are numerous examples of this in both the Iliad and the Odyssey. In book 21 of the Iliad Achilles has to fight the river god Xanthus, but he is saved by the fire god Hephaestus. Hephaestus is portrayed both a fire God as well as the fire itself. Xanthus, who na... ... middle of paper ... ... are this middle class, respected by the Gods, but still not their equals. The gods prove this time and time and again, and with these interactions, they make the heroes what they are. Heroes are nothing more than men who strive to be as great as the gods. Sometimes they fail, but they are remembered for daring to dream of greatness. Bibliography: Bibliography Ian Ross Barnes, Hazel E. The Meddling Gods Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press 1974 Ferguson, John. Greek and Roman Religion Park Ridge, New Jersey: Noyes Press 1980 Nilsson, Martin P. A History of Greek Religion New York, NY : W.W. Norton & Company 1964 Guthrie, W.K.C. The Greeks and their Gods Boston, MA : Beacon Press 1950 Caldwell, Richard S. The origin of the gods : a psychoanalytic study of Greek theogonic myth New York : Oxford University Press, 1989

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how greek mythology describes the natures of gods and mortals' interactions. the olympian gods meddle with them constantly, but how does each side truly perceive each other?
  • Explains that the olympian gods are both anthropomorphic and abstract representations of nature in both the iliad and the odyssey.
  • Explains that gods are human in characteristics, therefore they have the same motives as mortal men. divine interactions and relationships with mortals can be compared to a mortal kingdom.
  • Explains that when talking about divine interactions, it is best to group them into two groups, physical and psychological. the first type is the physical interactions between gods and mortals.
  • Analyzes the role of the gods in heroic myth. they play both protagonist and antagonist, help or hinder the hero, and decide the fates of mortal men.
  • Argues that to make a hero, one of the gods is needed. hector had apollo on his side, and patroclus had no divine assistance, so he could not lose.
  • Argues that the gods can make heroes, or make true heroes even greater. odysseus and hector have a god acting as their champion.
  • Analyzes how the gods interact with heroes in the form of protection. in the iliad, meneleaus and paris duel for helen.
  • Analyzes how the god decides who wins and dies by deciding these factors in a battle, such as when achilles and hector fight to the death.
  • Analyzes how poseidon, the god of the sea, plays the antagonist, and provides conflict for odysseus throughout the entire epic.
  • Analyzes how the fury of diomedes is an interesting example of physical interaction in greek mythology, when a mortal attacks the gods themselves.
  • Analyzes how diomedes did more than equal the gods, he was their greater in combat. this type of interaction is rare and tells much about the greeks view of the gods when they interfere.
  • Analyzes how the example of diomedes fits in with the other divine interactions. odysseus fights against the gods, and is a hero because he survives and succeeds in his journey.
  • Explains that the second form of physical interactions have nothing to do with battle, but with love and anger. gods constantly lust over the mortals they rule.
  • Explains the rule to follow when looking at these types of relationships is that the children of sods and mortals are also mortal. dionysus is the result between zeus and the mortal woman semele.
  • Analyzes how the role of divine parentage in greek myth is used to make a king or hero seem even greater. the children of gods are greater than mortals, but lesser than their own parents.
  • Analyzes how the gods punish the mortals, not in the name of justice, but when they offend them in some way. the stories of artemis and actaeon are examples of punishment.
  • Explains that the gods punish in anger, which can come from jealousy, refusal, insult, and when a mortal tries to be as great, or greater, he faces their wrath.
  • Analyzes the psychological interaction between the gods and the mortal mind.
  • Analyzes how the gods are used as an excuse for a sudden change in behavior or something so irrational that it is unthinkable.
  • Compares ares, the god of war, and athena, who is the goddess of civilized, just battle. the gods are the driving force of the battle throughout the iliad.
  • Explains that in greek myth, a sudden change of heart or mind was explained that the gods are responsible. this is not unlike someone today saying "the devil made me do it!"
  • Analyzes how the gods offer psychological counseling to a hero or other mortal, such as athena, but they don't always help heroes in such interactions. zeus tells agamemnon it's time for the acheans to try and take troy.
  • Illustrates how the gods are used to explain an action when the mortal wanted to avoid the blame for the action.
  • Analyzes how the interaction between gods and mortals tells us a lot about both of them.
  • Explains that the gods are the ruling class, and the mortals themselves are their servants and subjects. heroes and kings are a middle-class, respected by the gods, but not their equals.
  • Describes caldwell's study of greek theogonic myth and the origin of the gods.
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