Zeus' Tyranny in Greek Mythology

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Zeus is known most frequently as the fair ruler of all Gods and men. He is the god of hospitality and justice known for his courage and fairness to the people; he saved his brothers and sisters from the depths of their evil, selfish father; and he is the “father of gods and men.” While it is true that these are incredible deeds worthy of honor, it is important to note that Zeus was not always portrayed as the good guy by ancient writers. There are many instances in Greek literature and mythology where Zeus is wrathful and unfair. However, while Zeus has had his fair share of rage-induced tyrannical punishments and practices, overall he was not a tyrannical leader. Further, he was nowhere near as awful as his father and grandfather who ruled before him. To understand and justify Zeus’ occasional wickedness, it is important to note what kind of Kings were ruling Olympus before Zeus’ birth. To understand why Zeus was so loved and respected as ruler, we must first go all the way back to his grandfather, Uranus. Through the pairing of Uranus and Ge, the Cyclopes and the Titans of Zeus’ father’s generation were created. Immediately as they were born, Uranus “hid them all in the depths of Ge and did not allow them to emerge into the light.” He did this probably for his own selfish gain; with no children, there was no one to steal his power as ruler away from him. Uranus’ last child was overall terrible and had a very passionate hatred for his father; this child was Cronus , the father of Zeus. Cronus castrated his father, freeing his siblings from their imprisonment in Ge. Cronus despised his father and freed his siblings, but this did not stop him from following his father’s footsteps when he starting having his own children. Uran... ... middle of paper ... ...time, the key to labeling Zeus as a just or tyrannical leader was the balance between kindness and rage, and if the good in him outweighed the evil. The tyranny of his forefathers paved the way for his shining heroism, and set a high standard when it came to overall maliciousness. Zeus was clearly different from the moment of his birth. For the most part, he was well-respected, loved, and cherished. When he was angered, it was usually for good reason, and the people seemed to agree with his choice of punishment. Those who disliked him were usually represented as evil themselves, and therefore could not be trusted. While I agree that Zeus was not always the loving, caring father figure most people made him out to be, I would not consider him as sinister as his father and grandfather who ruled before him. Works Cited Theogony by Hesiod Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus

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