Leading themes in “The Odyssey” include humility, perseverance, and deceit. Deceit guides some of the characters’ actions, and it also moves the story forward. The poem showcases deception as a common tool among both the antagonists and the protagonists. Each group utilizes their wits with various intentions ranging from maintaining fidelity, self-preservation, and murder. Their lies and illusions usually solve their problems and allow them to help others. For example, Odysseus’s deceptions help him defeat adversaries and also help him return home. He and other characters deploy duplicity to achieve better ends, and that shows that duplicity in the poem is not always negative. Furthermore, the deceiving actions of the characters also reveal that skills in deceit are valuable and critical to the tale, and that the original storytellers respected those skills. The Ancient Greeks valued the ability to deceive as evidenced by “The Odyssey” through the depiction of certain characters such as Penelope, Odysseus, Athena, and Hermes.
The Greek play, Oedipus the King, shows how easy it is for a man to fall apart, while trying to make things right. Sophocles’ tragedy tells the story of Oedipus, a regular man turned king of Thebes. Throughout the tragedy, Oedipus searches for the cause of the chaos and havoc encompassing his land; however, he discovers that he is the one responsible for the hardships plaguing Thebes. As the tragedy continues, Sophocles’ exposes a dark side to power, fame, and ambition. Further, Sophocles’ exposes the fear that many have of the truth, and exposes the grave danger in hiding from it.
It is inferred that the parents should take care of their children and have their best interest at heart. This however, is not the case in Greek and Roman mythology. The killing of ones own children, or filicide, was not viewed as negative upon in their era. The contemporary times contrast with the ancient Greek and Roman’s because it was justified to use any means necessary to obtain a higher status. The Greeks and Romans valued keeping a high social reputation and having respect for those of great power. The motherly union between their children conflict with the reality that the father strives to retain or gain control. These circumstances cause a tense bond between the members of the family. The strained parent to child relationship in
As is archetypal to all Greek tragedies, ‘Medea’ by Euripides chronicles the downfall of a noble hero, Jason, as a result of a combination of factors like fate, hubris and the will of the gods. In ‘Medea’, the hubris of the main character, Jason, was his pride. This drove him to betray his wife Medea’s trust and defy moral parameters set by the gods. Euripides employed the hubris of Jason and his act of disobedience towards the gods as a reflection of Athenian society of the time and used this as an attempt to correct the progressively immoral ways of society. This piece focuses on pride as Jason’s hubris and its contribution to his imminent downfall.
In Hesiod’s Theogony, the Greek family relationships were often a repeated cycle between the husband, wife and their children. Based on the generations including Ouranos, all the men that came to rule automatically loathed their child, because they believed their children would take away their power. Since this behavior was similarly recurring every generation, the women were often forced to create wicked plans involving their children’s rise to power. The cycle of power, deceit and achievement created by the families in the first generation of Greek mythology became dominant characteristics that future generations would inherit.
In Greek mythology, there is always a perpetual notion of power. The desire for power is associated with the father figure of a family. Furthermore, a father sets the tone for his family by setting rules and establishing their reputation. From the beginning of time, there has been angst in losing power, starting with the Earth and sky. Arising fear occurs when a father finds that one of his children is a threat to his throne. It also develops when a father realizes that since he sabotaged his own father, potentially his child could the same. Taking into consideration both of these cases, it is understood that a male parent in ancient Greek consciousness seeks a role having power. This thirst for power has resulted in the betrayal of wives and the attempt to destroy an upbringing of children. Through the fatherhood of Ouranos, Cronos, and Zeus, it is clear that their role is to exercise dominance, moreover keep away potential threats.
Tragedy can either be the darkest part of life for one person or it can be a learning opportunity for the other person. Of all the tragedies written in the literate, “Oedipus the King” written by ‘Sophocles’ is one of the oldest and the most prominent tragedy written till date. It is the story of the king, who is brutally left to die by his own parents, luckily survived, unknowingly killed his own father and married his mother. Although this story was written 2000 years ago, but it still has a great significance in the modern world. Of the most powerful tragedies of the time, “Oedipus the king” discloses such values and situations as parental aggression, child abandonment, self-confidence, ability to handle trauma, and parent-child intimate relationship that people are struggling with in today’s world. Sophocles reveals these behaviours and incidents through the actions of Oedipus.
Though the Greek hero overcomes many hardships in his twenty-year journey back, he shows no mercy to the young women who slept with the suitors. Heroes, who are expected to be the gleaming, godlike examples for humanity to aspire to, should not penalize miscreants with death. Instead, like Apollo required Hercules to perform twelve labors, Odysseus might punish the maids with difficult intellectual or physical tasks or actually forgive them of their ‘sins’. The ‘hero’ also spares no thought to the fact that the maids are forced into sexual relations with the suitors, rather than being willing participants in them. Time and again, Homer establishes the unruly behavior of the suitors, who “after [putting] aside desire for food and drink…set their minds on other pleasures,” making a sly reference to their harassment of the maids who carouse with them (82). Yet, Odysseus still refuses to acknowledge the result of coercion that clearly merits forgiveness. Furthermore, the maids are unmarried, but Odysseus sees their relationships as a breach of his own relationship with the maids, though he was not reluctant to have adulterous sex with Circe. Odysseus “[mounts] Circe’s gorgeous bed,” quickly, and without any visible qualms (241). While readers might argue that Odysseus needed to sleep with Circe in order to return home to Ithaca, his maids, and ever-faithful Penelope, Odysseus exhibits tells that show he in fact, wanted to stay in Aeaea amid his comrades, “feasting on sides of meat and drafts of heady wine” until a year “had run its course”
Even though Agamemnon made a success for his homecoming, what was waiting for him was her wife’s conspiracy with Aegisthus and his death (262-263). Namely, his nosmos was rather a failure and he also faced fate of his failed household. This Agamemnon’s gives a comparison with Odysseus future success for preserving his family and throne. Furthermore, Clytemnestra’s unfaithfulness and infidelity provides a foil to Penelope’s faithfulness and loyalty. Clytemnestra’s merciless and brutal actions, not sealing Agamemnon’s eyes while he was dying, adds contrasting characteristics between Odysseus and Agamemnon’s wives. Note that here, the story of successful vengeance for Agamemnon by Orestes gives a foil to Telemachus’ weakness and deficiency. Orestes here is depicted as a heroic example with murder of Aegistus after he comes of age (264). On the contrary to Orestes who saved his household and restored order in his family’s kingdom, Telemachus, as he came of age, couldn’t serve as protecting his household and repel his mother’s suitors in the absence of his father. In the light of comparing each heroic figures’ sons, the son of Achilles is also depicted as successful warrior with great strength and fame in the battlefield against Trojan, adding a foil to Telemachus’ unsuccessful position as a son (266).
Odysseus, the king of Ithaca from the Odyssey, has been lost on a journey after the Trojan war. His quick-thinking results in him wronging Poseidon, losing his men, and committing adulty. The most important aspect of his journey is that his is not being able to return to his kingdom. Although Athena admires his wits and heroism and even has the desire to help him return, he still runs into many troubles on his adventure. Because of him not home, his household is held captive under the suitors’ rule. The suitors mistreat it completely by eating and drinking their supplies, sleeping with the maids, and plotting to take over the kingdom. Odysseus hears and experiences the mishap when returning to Ithaca undercover as a homeless man. The disloyalty displayed by the suitors not only made Odysseus furious, but made him desire vengeance. Odysseus’ rage, in book XXII, drove him to relentlessly murder all the unfaithful suitors and maids solely for their disloyalty.1
In Hesiod’s Theogony, the Greek family relationships were often a repeated cycle between the husband, wife and their children. Based on the generations, including Ouranos, all the men that came to rule automatically loathed their child, because they believed their children would take away their power. Since this behavior was similarly recurring every generation, the women were often forced to create mischievous plans to help their children’s rise to power. The cycle of power, deceit and achievement created by the families in the first generation of Greek mythology became dominant characteristics that future generations would inherit due to the repetitive cycle that was unable to be broken.
In the trilogy of Oedipus, Sophocles constructed an enthralling family dynamic that induces central themes throughout the play. In numerous works of literature, family relationships engage in the central message of a piece of work. In Sophocles three plays, specifically interconnection between siblings and parent relationships create, refines, and complicates themes of power, love family, pride, and extreme fate.
Numerous mythologies we have read throughout this semester have had an underlying message. Those who are loyal to their beliefs, their spouses, and the gods are rewarded, but those who prove to be unfaithful are dealt with harshly. From the multitude of examples in mythology, I have chosen four to discuss: Cupid & Psyche, Odysseus & Penelope, Medea & Jason, and Antigone & Creon. Each of these characters and their stories exemplify either rewards or punishments for their actions from the gods and fates. First, we must discuss how to define loyalty in a way the Greek and Romans would agree with. Loyalty wasn’t just wives obeying husbands, or servants obeying masters, but also the people obeying the rules of the gods. Obedience is a key part of the ancient concept of loyalty, as you cannot be truly loyal to a person or to the gods without respecting their wishes and being obeying them.
In Ancient Greece, as the government turns to democracy, an important political debate arises between two crucial topics, authority and family. If a leader, for example, creates a law to restrict his or her people, but a member of the leader’s family breaks the law, he or she must decide where loyalties lie. Sophocles enters this debate in his play Antigone when Antigone, Creon’s son’s fiancée, breaks a heavily enforced but possibly immoral law. Although Sophocles emphasizes the importance of authority, Antigone illustrates that family is held in higher regard, exhibited through Creon’s tragic downfall.
“The truest characters of ignorance are pride and arrogance. This quote by Samuel Butler is truer than gold in the two greek myths Phaethon and Daedalus and Icarus. The protagonists of both stories boastful,arrogant and prideful natures lead them to their agonizing deaths and downfall. The two myths would be lifeless and stale without the use of of literary elements like conflict,imagery,and and characterization. Conflict shapes the story,Imagery foreshadows and provides color,and characterization develops the characters personalities and behaviors. These elements are how the authors were able to teach the lesson in the theme. The two stories’ main characters, Phaethon and Daedalus and Icarus share the same moral theme of a prideful disregard from those elder and wiser can quickly lead to disastrous consequences,existing thanks to these literary elements.