The Greeks had no understanding of the way that the world works compared to what we, or even Shakespeare, now know. Volcanos were blamed on the gods because the Greek's didn't know the cause. We now have scientific explanations for volcanoes... ... middle of paper ... ...of the effect of catharsis. When I read Oedipus Rex I didn't feel purged of my fears of existence because I don't believe that our lives are controlled by the will of fate. Catharsis is more relevant to the Ancient Greeks than to us because of the different belief system; we have one good, caring, all-powerful God and they have many gods who don't really care about the humans that much.
In The Illiad, this would never happen, Achilles is chosen to defeat Hector because of his prestige, honor, and family line. Achilles is not chosen because Zeus just wanted him to. Not just anybody could have killed Hector, it had to be someone famous. In the Old Testament, divine intervention, especially in "Genesis," plays a very important part. For example, in "The Creation of the Universe," God wills everything into being.
Zeus, very untypical of a Greek god in his lack of involvem7ent in the Trojan War for selfish reasons, was portrayed as the father figure, being impartial and fair to both sides of the war. He remains this way to serve as a check for each god's involvement in the war. Without his presence at the head of the inner circle of Olympus, it is likely that the activity of the Trojan War would become chaotic, possibly even becoming a playground of war for the gods. With Zeus's majestic power, above all of the other gods combined, along with his experience, he is quite befitting to his role in the storyline of The Iliad. The Iliad was thought to be written by a Greek minstrel named Homer.
Now, how on earth could I forget Odysseus? Great Odysseus who exels all men in wisdom, excels in offerings too he gives the immortal gods who rule the vaulting skies? No, it's the earth-shaker, Poseidon, unappeased ." (Book 1 line 72-84). What Zeus is saying is that Odysseus isn't the man who everyone thinks he is and explains why Poseidon has put a curse on his trip back to Ithaca.
Instead of Zeus being portrayed as someone who is supreme and flawless, he is portrayed as a sky god who is king among other gods but has many flaws to his character. Xenophanes, a poet of the pre-Socratic period wrote “Homer and Hesiod have ascribed to the gods all that is shameful and reproachable among mortals.” (ML 140) One of the most important flaws to Zeus’ character is the fact that he had countless numbers of extramarital affairs while still being married to his wife Hera. Even though Zeus is the god of morality, law and order, he shows very little restraint for his carnal instincts. This weakness for his pure carnal needs is evidently shown in the myths about his extramarital affairs with mortals, nymphs and even other goddesses. One of his extramarital ... ... middle of paper ... ...was not able to free himself from the chains until Thetis, the mother of Achilles, aided the god.
Of their gods there was: Zeus the master of the gods and spiritual father of all people and gods, Athena the god of wisdom, Apollo the god of light, poetry, and music, Dionysus the god of wine and pleasure (also the most popular). Those are but a few of the gods involved in the lives of Ancient Greeks. Worship and beliefs emphasized the weakness of humans in contrast to the strong powers of nature. As is exhibited in Oedipus where he can not outrun his fate no matter what action he takes. Oedipus was so preoccupied with avoiding his fate that he blindly was led right to it.
However, instead of using his fortune in a noble manner, Gilgamesh acts as if he is a full god, ignorant to the consequences of his actions and how this portrayed his character to his people. "By day and by night his tyranny grows harsher... lets no daughter go free to her mother... lets no girl go free to her bridegroom." (George, 169-175). This ultimately caused the people of Uruk to pray to the gods to send a response to Gilgamesh's rule, which will be discussed later. Achilles, son of Thetis, also had divine blood flowing through his veins.
Gilgamesh ignored many of these kingly duties and was eager to become heroic and godly. "The young men of Uruk he harries without warrant, Gilgamesh lets no son go free to his father. By day and by night his tyranny grows harsher" (George, Tablet I 67-69). The beginning of the epic depicts his kingship as tyrannical and immoral, which could go without question or complaint unless the gods will it. Although considered great for his many feats such as his great walls and military expeditions, his faults could not be questioned by the commoners, which show a flaw in Mesopotamian kingship.
As the symbol of supreme authority and justice, he makes judgment calls as to the other gods' involvement in the war, remains impartial, and doesn't seem to get caught up in picking favorites. 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 nothing to express her will.
Does man ha free will? What responsibilities does a man have for his own actions? Should the inferior human intellect and poor human reasoning be placed above obedience to one’s God or gods? Neither Sophocles nor the Greeks originated these questions. Thousands of years before the time of the Greeks man worried that his life, and therefore his fate, was determined by very powerful gods.