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Essay on The Destructive Power of Love in Hesiod's Theogony

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The Destructive Power of Love in Hesiod's Theogony

Love is one of the most fundamental forces at work in Hesiod's Theogony.Ê Personified as Eros, Love is one of the first gods to appear.Ê Although he is parentless and fathers no children of his own, he plays catalyst to the reproductive creation of the world.Ê Just as the world is not perfect, however, so Eros is not an entirely benevolent power.Ê He affects all beings indiscriminately, which results in the proliferation of monsters and dark forces.Ê He is also persistent in his work, continuing to facilitate the production of new gods who threaten the established ones, causing tensions, rivalries, and all out war.Ê In fact, we find that Love?s creative power is the root cause of a
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(822).Ê Zeus? battle with Typhoeus creates tremors deep enough to shake the underworld (851-853) and the giant?s strength is such that it takes a constant battering of thunderbolts to finally fell him.Ê When he collapses, he spews flame across the earth until it melts (861-862).Ê All this destruction comes about as a result of Love?s goading.

The monsters that spring from Love?s primal urgings are forceful and dangerous, but even Typhoeus is limited in his potential for sheer damage.Ê Dark gods, on the other hand, are unbound by material constraints and have a far greater influence.Ê Night, who had previously mated with Erebos and produced Ether and Day (124-125), also ?[gives] birth to hideous Moros and black Ker / and then to Death and Sleep and to the brood of Dreams? (211-212).Ê Sleep has a soft touch, but he brings the ?brood? of Dreams with him.Ê The word ?brood,? also used to describe Echidna?s offspring, clearly denotes something feral.Ê Some of the Dreams may be good, some may be merely mysterious and perplexing, but some Dreams are nightmares for which the sleeper is hardly grateful.Ê All are unpredictable
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