Gilgamesh and Odysseus Comparison as a Heroes Essay
Odysseus and Gilgamesh are the characters of ancient myths. Gilgamesh is a hero from early Mesopotamia. This myth is priceless for the researchers of Mesopotamian culture since it mirrors the religious traditions of that period, the treatment of gods, the perception of a hero, and attitudes to friendship and death. The plot of Odyssey is set in ancient Greece. Mythology was an integral part of daily life there. It was used to interpret the events which could not be explained scientifically. Gilgamesh and Odysseus are the heroes of different periods, however, they are similar in their seeking to find the essence of life.
Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Heroic Qualities
Although living in different epochs, Gilgamesh and Odysseus were similar in their searches of the meaning of life. They both are strong legendary personalities popular in the societies of their time. The epic of Gilgamesh is described as “a heroic quest for fame and immortality, pursued by a man who has an enormous capacity for friendship, endurance, and adventure, joy, and sorrow, a man of strength and weakness who loses a unique opportunity through a moment’s carelessness” (Dalley, 2009, p.39). The Odyssey is the story that brought the familiar characters from the previous epics to please the audience (Homer, 2014).
The two characters of famous epic stories share many similar features. For example, they both demonstrate self-confidence, which is a necessary trait for a hero. They are leaders of their time. Gilgamesh is an ancient king of Babylonian Uruk, and Odysseus leads Greek Ithaca. People believed in Gilgamesh’s power to protect them from invaders.
Odysseus, although not do physically strong, also revealed the qualities of a good leader and a brave ruler during the Trojan War. Gilgamesh is aware of his strength and is ready to face the danger. He says to Ninsun, “I am extraordinarily strong (!)… I must now travel a long way to where Humbaba is, I must face fighting such as I have not known, and I must travel on a road that I do not know!” (“The Epic of Gilgamesh”). Odysseus demonstrates his wit when talking to Cyclops. He conceals his real mane, “Noman is my name,” and thus manages to escape (Homer, 2014).
One more feature found in both Gilgamesh and Odysseus is divine giftedness. Gilgamesh as a son of goddess Ninsun, possessed greater spiritual and physical power than any of the people under his rule. Odysseus was not as physically strong as Gilgamesh. However, he had more mental power if compared to the other Greek people. There are some similarities, not only in the positive characteristics of the heroes. They also make analogous mistakes. Despite the divine endowment they possess, the heroes go wrong. Fortunately, they learn those lessons and become stronger leaders.
Nevertheless, the two heroes demonstrated different behavior. Thus, Gilgamesh was focused on his power and introduction of his traditions. He did not always behave as a fair leader. Although assumed to protect the people, he was killing them and raping their daughters. Unlike Gilgamesh, Odysseus was a fair leader and did his best for the people of Ithaca. Their inclinations also differ. Gilgamesh was more concerned of his personal fame during the war while Odysseus struggled to win and unite with his family.
Mesopotamian and Greek Cultures in Ideals and Expectations of the Heroes
Both epic stories demonstrate the ideas of Mesopotamian and Greek people on the images of heroes. Thus, confidence of leaders was considered an important quality in the Mesopotamian and Greek cultures. Another similarity observed between the heroes is their divine endowment. The heroes are usually gifted by the will of gods and possess the qualities not characteristic of common people. These particular powers make them leaders and provide the trust of people. Another important concept of heroes in the Mesopotamian and Greek cultures is trust. However, Gilgamesh lost the trust of people and had to work hard to win it back. Odysseus, on the contrary, preserved his honor and reputation throughout the story.
Another similarity typical of both ancient cultures includes the traditions of guest and host relationships. Moreover, both characters have to travel far away which is related to the concept of overcoming difficulties on their ways to victory. Also, Gilgamesh and Odysseus travel to the land of the dead which was a popular location in ancient heroic stories. A typical feature of epics is mysterious help for heroes to reach the destination. Thus, Odysseus is guided by Circe, daughter of the sun-god, while Gilgamesh follows the instructions of the goddess Siduri, who is also associated with the sun.
The Impact of Cultural Ideals and Expectations on the Role Models and Heroes
Cultural concepts and traditions set the ideals and demands for the role of heroes. Thus, present-day heroes similarly to the ancient ones have to pass a quest on the way to their purpose. As a rule, they face serious obstacles and overcome the difficulties with dignity. A modern concept of a hero includes the traits of a super-person. Often a self-sacrifice is present as well. On the whole, a modern hero is a fighter for greater good of the humanity.
The image of a hero is a necessary component of any culture. It is necessary to make people feel safe and believe that in case of emergency there is a person with super-power able to protect them. The features of a hero differ in various cultures. However, the major concepts of particular abilities and leadership skills are characteristic of the majority of heroic figures.
Dalley, S. (2009). Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and others. Oxford, UK: Oxford World Classics.
Homer (2014). The Odyssey. (M. Hammond, Trans.). London, UK: Bloomsburry Publishing.
The Epic of Gilgamesh. (n.d.)
Tales of Times Now Past and The Tale of Genji Essay
Literature is one of the main sources of information that describe people the way their predecessors lived and a value system they had. Being one of the integral parts of human culture, it has always been used to manifest peoples thoughts and feelings related to a certain issue or phenomena. Moreover, the difference in mentalities and perspectives peculiar to bearers of various cultures preconditioned the appearance of the unique masterpieces that could help to understand the peculiarities of peoples lives in ancient times. In this regard, when reading a great masterpiece that was created at a certain epoch, a reader could not but dig into the atmosphere peculiar to that period.
Besides, the comprehensive analysis of this creation could also help to acquire an improved understanding of certain phenomena and issues that were topical and attracted peoples attention. For this reason, the investigation of ancient texts might also help us to understand the moral and the approach to a certain issue.
Besides, ancient Japanese literature could be taken as a source that contributes to a better understanding of the main peculiarities of culture and the unique traditions of this state. Numerous works could be considered a part of cultural heritage. Besides, The Tale of Genji and Tales of Times Now Past belongs to the same period and have numerous common features that help to analyze the style peculiar to that epoch and cogitate about the most important phenomena that were interesting for people.
Both these works were created at the Heian period and revolve around similar issues. Moreover, their adherence to the same era explains convergence in style and approaches towards the description of the most important events and phenomena that impacted peoples lives. Their structure is different; however, there are still several characters and representatives of supernatural powers that play a crucial role in the development of a plot and contribute to a better understanding of their nature.
Supernatural in the Japanese literature
Moreover, both these stories give attention to supernatural beings that have an overwhelming impact on peoples lives. Traditionally, Japanese culture was rich in various mythological creatures that communicated with people, impacted their destinies, and altered the existed reality. For this reason, both the above-mentioned texts were not able to ignore the given aspect of culture. Supernatural forces play a significant role in the evolution of a plot and the main characters destiny.
This fact could be taken as a certain distinctive feature peculiar to ancient Japanese texts. The unique and rich mythology is reflected in numerous literary works and folklore. Therefore, there are various approaches to the description of these forces and the role they play. Both good and evil spirits interact with the environment and the main characters and promote a better understanding of certain actions and events.
Tales of Times Now Past
Besides, Tales of Times Now Past revolves around numerous Buddhist and secular motifs and contains several episodes peculiar to folklore. The tales that comprise the collection covers a wide range of topics, historical events, and believes related to the spread of Buddhism and the role supernatural elements play in it. For this reason, there are numerous encounters between human beings and other creatures that could be taken as representatives of these very forces. The main characters are typical for the Japanese society and literature of that period. These are merchants, monks, bandits, warriors, noble people, etc. (Ury 177).
Yet, in their adventures, they often meet such creatures as oni and tengu (Ury 178). Japanese folklore provides different descriptions of these creatures. However, in Tales of Times Now Past tengu tries to cause various troubles in the world and harm travelers and main characters. These evil spirits tend to deceive people with false images and undermine the basis of their faith. For this reason, they could be considered evil forces that try to misinform people and destroy their lives.
The Tale of Genji
In The Tale of Genji supernatural forces are also given great attention. However, their role is different. The Tale is one of the greatest novels of ancient Japanese culture. It consists of 54 parts which are devoted to the precise description of Prince Genjis life and relations with women. He has numerous lovers; however, he is depicted not as a mean seducer. On the contrary, Genji is presented as a nobleman who is desired by many women of that period.
For this reason, he could be taken as the positive character and the main hero of the given work. His actions sometimes might be doubted; however, if to consider the most important peculiarities of that period, they could be taken as ethical and even appropriate. Besides, the paper also provides numerous descriptions of sorts or relations peculiar to that epoch. Prince Genji communicates with various women who belong to different layers of society.
The given structure helps to provide a detailed description of every aspect of the society of that time. However, there are also several other important issues touched upon in the tale. As stated above, the story also provides numerous episodes related to the encounters and interactions with the supernatural. The whole novel evidence the great impact religion and other forces had on Japanese society of that period time. Starting from simple illness and ending with some more complex concerns people tried to obtain the approval of forces that nature was not clear to them. For instance, when Genji fell ill, “all manner of religious services were commissioned, but they did no good” (Shirane 312).
This line evidences that people believed in the great power of these forces and tried to obtain their blessing to be able to survive and improve the quality of their lives. Besides, it is the first significant difference between the Tales of Times and the Tale of Genji. In the second one spirits and the ephemeral world are not so dangerous and even helpful. These forces might bless people and guarantee recovery. However, at the same time, they also might be mean and decisive. Yet, Genji also hears the voices of women who seek revenge and wants to restore justice (Shirane 318). From the given perspective, spirits could be similar to those mentioned in Tales of Times. They also might misinform the main characters and contribute to the reconsideration of some approaches and images.
Besides, there are also differences in the way the representatives of supernatural forces are described in these tales. The first one tends to depict these creatures by the traditional image. In other words, they are taken as elements of traditional folklore. Besides, in the Tale of Genji, these spirits are more personified and given human qualities (Shirane 317). This difference comes from the nature and character of these important novels. The first one could be considered a significant collection of folk tales while the second story is a sort of biography of a legendary hero who also encounters the supernatural and feels its great impact on his life
Altogether, both these tales could be taken as bright examples of the ancient Japanese literature and if the first one revolves around the characters typical for the society of that period, the Tale of Genji presents a unique hero who has several unique features and enters numerous successful relations that help to uncover his important feelings, emotions, and peculiarities of individuality. Genji could be taken as one of the most recognizable characters of the ancient Japanese literature as all his actions are introduced to emphasize the important peculiarities of the society of that time and show relations peculiar to it.
In conclusion, supernatural forces were given great attention in various literary works. Being an integral part of the culture, oni, tengu, other vengeful spirits, and demons were depicted in different ways and endued with various qualities. However, one of their main purposes is to warn people about the great influence these forces might have on their lives. Genji encounters various spirits that help him to understand the sense of his living. For this reason, one could admit the crucial role supernatural plays in the ancient Japanese literature and various approaches used to show their significance to readers. The Tales of Times and The Tale of Genji perfectly demonstrate this tendency.
Shirane, Haruo. Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginning to 1600 – 1900, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. Print.
Ury, Marian. Tales of Times Now Past, Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1979. Print.
World Creation in “The Earth on Turtle’s Back” Story Essay
The story chosen for the analysis is titled The Earth on Turtle’s Back, and it offers a different viewpoint on the creation of the world. According to the legend, which the story in question can be described as the creation of the Earth began as the wife of the chief of the sky complained about the dream that had been troubling her for quite a while. To comfort his spouse, the chief uprooted the tree, thus, revealing a hole in the sky. Curious and careless, the wife fell down through the hole and was about to drown when the creatures inhabiting the water saw her and decided to save her. The Turtle agreed to hold the earth mass so that the woman could survive; thus, the earth emerged amidst the sea (The Earth on turtle’s back, n. d.).
Brief and naïve, the story sends the reader back to the beginning of times. The surreal imagery, such as the tree growing in the clouds and the hole in the sky creates a unique and quite a surreal setting. Thus, the author allows for the development of the suspension of disbelief, allowing the audience’s imagination to work. Moreover, the specified approach creates more wiggle room for the story to develop.
The same cannot be said about the characters, unfortunately. Since the narration is aimed at telling a large story representing a large chunk of what seems to be an ancient religious philosophy, it needs to be either very broad and brief or very detailed and specific yet very long. The author clearly chooses the first option to keep the readers’ attention, yet this trick comes at the price of character development. Indeed, neither of the characters represented in the story can be defined as believable and three-dimensional. One could argue that is what seems to be ancient gods, neither the chief nor the wife need to be fleshed out and were only supposed to keep a basic resemblance to people. However, to make sure that the readers can relate to the characters, one should have added more uniqueness to them. The curiosity of the wife should have been explained and displayed in a more detailed manner. In addition, the holes in the lot leave readers with numerous questions, such as what the relationships between the chief and the wife were, what made the spouse see the dream about the tree, why the water creatures cared about the wife so much, etc. While the narration works fine as a piece of an ancient set of legends, it clearly needs to be explained better for people to want to learn more about the unique culture that brought this legend to the world.
In other words, the author’s choices can be viewed is understandable, yet their effect is clearly dubious. On the one hand, the key goal, which was to represent an ancient myth and create an environment that could be viewed as both simplistic and intricate was achieved. On the other hand, the characters that were represented in it lacked depth and development, as the author of the narration clearly had very little concern for expanding the myth beyond the existing clichés and introducing something new to it. Therefore, though interesting and engaging, the story under analysis cannot be deemed as complete. Leaving too many blank spots, it can be viewed as an exercise in creativity rather than a study of characters.
The Earth on turtle’s back. (n. d.). Web.
Ancient Greek Mythical Characters Essay
Daedalus is a character from Greek mythology, a famous artist and craftsman known for his numerous inventions, as well as for building the Labyrinth on Crete. He is also known as the father of Icarus; he made wings for Icarus and himself to escape from Crete by air together. The story of Icarus and Daedalus is told in a Roman source, Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”; the Isle of Crete was blocked by the order of King Minos, but Daedalus wanted to return to his home, Athens. Thus, he devised the wings for himself and his young son; but the son disobeyed his instructions and sank in the sea.1 It is stated that Daedalus is a symbol of the ability of Athenians to invent and solve extremely complicated problems. Making The Labyrinth is one of the embodiments of this ability; creating the wings enabling people to fly is another.
Artemis is the Ancient Greek goddess of wild animals and hunting, of fertility and virginity; she is also the embodiment of femininity. This daughter of Zeus and Leto is usually portrayed as a huntress with a bow and arrows, sometimes accompanied by a deer. According to one of the myths, Agamemnon angered Artemis during the Troyan War by slaying one of her animals. Agamemnon was advised to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to appease the goddess.2 Apparently, the Ancient Greeks, who very much disliked human sacrifice, believed Artemis to be rather cruel and ruthless if they thought she would wish Iphigenia to be sacrificed. That the goddess of femininity and virginity possessed such traits is not surprising; it was common in that (rather a sexist) culture to think of women as of ruthless and cunning beings.
Medusa, a mythical being of the Ancient Greece, was one of the three of the Gorgon sisters, the only one mortal among them. She had the appearance of a hideous human female with snakes instead of hair; her gaze was able to turn anyone into stone permanently. Ovid tells the story of how Perseus beheaded Medusa in order to protect her mother from Polydectes, who fell in love with her and whom Perseus believed to be dishonorable.3
Numerous gods helped Perseus and equipped him for battle so that he could slay Medusa. Thus, Perseus killed one woman in order to protect another. Interestingly, late classical myths state that Medusa was at first a beautiful woman who offended Athena and was transformed into a beast of malevolence, an embodiment of female rage. Thus, Medusa was first abused by one woman, and then slain to save another, which, perhaps, also shows the attitude of the Ancient Greek (male-dominated) culture towards women.
Heracleidae, or Heraclids, were the numerous descendants of the Ancient Greek hero Heracles and his multiple consorts. The words are most often used to denote the descendants of the oldest son of Heracles, Hyllus, one of the generations of whom were able to capture the Peloponnesus, a land once owned by Heracles. According to Euripides, the children of Heracles were pursued by the Herald Copreus working for King Eurystheus, who was responsible for many of Heracles’ problems and thought the hero’s sons would take revenge on him.4 The play finishes with the death of Eurystheus; other myths state that Heraclids would recapture the Peloponnesus later. According to some historical hypotheses, the recapture is associated with the Dorian invasion, which might have taken place in the latter half of the 2nd millennium B.C. These hypotheses reflect the fact that some historical events often might stand beyond the stories told in myths and beliefs.
Seven against Thebes
Seven against Thebes is the third (and the only one extant) part of Aeschylus’ trilogy about Oedipus; it was first staged in 467 B.C. The story starts when Polynices leads an army to Thebes in order to take power from Eteocles; both are sons of Oedipus, who married his own mother and, having learned of it, left their children to divide the kingdom via bloodshed. According to the story, Polynices leads six other heroes to attack and capture Thebes; there are seven bloody battles, in which most of the heroes die.
Tydeus, a fallen hero, even eats the brains of Melanippus.5 Noteworthy, the story was written circa 467 B.C., approximately 10-12 years after the unsuccessful invasion of Xerxes supported by Thebes; thus, Thebes was rather disliked by the other polises. It is, therefore, not surprising that the cruelty, greed, and other adversities of human nature are depicted as attributes of Thebans.
Theseus was one of the most famous Ancient Greek heroes, the 11th King of Athens, the son of either Aegeus (an Athenian king) or Poseidon (the God of the Sea), and Aethra. Theseus was famous for numerous feats, including the death of the Minotaur. According to Plutarch, Theseus, assisted by Ariadne who had fallen in love with him, killed the Minotaur, the beast who had been terrorizing the population of the Isle of Crete.
Theseus then found the way out of the Labyrinth using Ariadne’s thread, and sailed off Crete with Ariadne and “the youths.”6 Interestingly, by finding the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, killing him, and finding the way out, Theseus shows his Athenian strength and intelligence (even though he was helped by Ariadne). Importantly, the Labyrinth was built by Daedalus, and is, thus, also a result of Athenian ingenuity. Thus, Athenians attempted to make Theseus one of their most famous heroes, and a symbol of their wisdom, intelligence, and strength.
Aeschylus. “Seven against Thebes.” Theoi Greek Mythology. Web.
Euripides. “Iphigenia at Aulis.” The Internet Classics Archive. Web.
Euripides. “The Heracleidae.” The Internet Classics Archive. Web.
Ovid. “Metamorphoses, Book 8.” Theoi Greek Mythology. Web.
Ovid. “Metamorphoses.” The Internet Classics Archive. Web.
Plutarch. “Life of Theseus.” Theoi Greek Mythology. Web.
- Ovid, “Metamorphoses, Book 8,” Theoi Greek Mythology. Web.
- Euripides, “Iphigenia at Aulis,” The Internet Classics Archive. Web.
- Ovid, “Metamorphoses,” The Internet Classics Archive. Web.
- Euripides, “The Heracleidae,” The Internet Classics Archive. Web.
- Aeschylus, “Seven against Thebes,” Theoi Greek Mythology. Web.
- Plutarch, “Life of Theseus,” Theoi Greek Mythology. Web.
Governance and Society in Mi’kmaq Creation Story Essay (Article)
The element of governance is traceable in the Mi’kmaq’s creation story. The story is a folklore passed down to generations and explains how the Mi’kmaq people lived in North America. The story is full of religious undertones especially about the Great Spirit who is the creator of nature and all living things. The survival of the story for many generations can be attributed to strong governance skills of the community leaders. The responsibility of ensuring that the creation story survived over the years was given to the elders. Historians allege that Mi’kmaq elders were wise and knowledgeable about issues of life and the environment.
The ingenuity of the elders and respect of the societal culture is a critical governance issue. Importantly, governance of the Mi’kmaq people was based on cultural practices especially in the belief of the number seven. The numeric figure offers guidance on matters of territorial integrity, medicine, leadership representation, authority and religion. The governing figure in the story is Gisoolg who is the Great Spirit and creator. The creator is above all living and non-ling things. Other authoritative figures in the story include Nisgam who is the sun and represents life. Ootsitgamoo and Glooscap represents earth and man respectively. The creator disseminates authority to man and other human characters within the story.
Mi’kmaqs are known to abide to a code of social rules. In this context, the authoritative structure and levels of creation have predetermined social and individual responsibilities. For example, total respect to the creator, the sun and mother earth is a religious obligation. The first man or the elder is the ultimate leader of the society, followed by grandmother, nephew and mother. Each member has specific responsibilities to the community.
However, the most prolific rules are those based on the number seven concept. In this context, the land is divided into seven districts. In addition, spiritual medicine is produced from seven barks and roots under special guidance from the elders and medicine-men. Each district must produce a man to represent the territory in the Grand Council District.
In the council, various ceremonies are conducted by the seven representatives. The ceremonies must be conducted in a sweat-lodge where seven men smoke pipe and burn grass. According to the Mi’kmaq traditions, the seven men are required to pour purified water over some chosen rocks. Moreover, this is done separately on seven, fourteen and twenty-one rocks. The idea of pouring water is to produce hot steam for the sweat-lodge. From this practices, purification rituals such as symbolic rebirth are conducted inside the sweat-lodge as a way of giving thanks to the creator and other authoritative figures within the seven levels of creation.
The teachings of the Mi’kmaq creation story are intriguing. It is critical that mankind understands the genesis of existence from a traditional perspective. The survival of cultural beliefs especially on humanity is a great achievement that requires strong governing institutions in the community. From the example of the Mi’kmaq, history can be preserved for eternity. From the Mi’kmaq creation story, one learns the significance of structured governance levels in the society.
The organization of the society is vital to cohesion and survival of the community and respective traditional practices. Moreover, respecting social rules and norms is the foundation of a stable society that preserves nature and humanity.
Justice and Inequality in Oedipus Rex and Antigone Research Paper
Inequality and adherence to outdated cultural traditions are two of the main sources behind the tragedies that were seen in the case of Oedipus Rex and Antigone. For instance, in the case of Oedipus Rex, the origin behind the tragedy can be traced to the belief of King Laius in the words of an oracle. The mere fact that he was willing to believe in something that “might” come true on the basis that an oracle stated shows that the problem is a mistaken belief in a cultural tradition that is far from what can be stated as being logical.
The same can be seen in the case of Antigone, wherein the female protagonist (i.e., Antigone) places religious belief over the laws established by the state. On the other end of the spectrum, the issue of Antigone can also be traced to the problem of inequality in Greek society at the time. The opinions of Antigone when it came to the burial of Polynices were surreptitiously ignored due to the fact that she was a woman. In fact, her treatment at the hands of Creon and Haemon shows that she is considered as an item to be owned and disposed of rather than an actual person who has rights.
Leadership in the Greek Stories
The first theme in the Greek stories is the absolute nature of the authority of leaders and how they are apparently not subject to the same restraints as their followers. In the story, we see Oedipus threaten a Shepard to get information and inform that if he is not given what he wants, there will be torture and execution (Diski 49). In Antigone, we see Creon imprisoning Antigone in a tomb for burying a body. This shows the concept of absolute authority in action wherein the leader’s status grants them the capacity to issue orders which normally sound criminal yet are followed anyway.
The second theme of leadership in the case of the Greek stories is based on leadership being attained through great deeds. For example, in Oedipus Rex, we see Oedipus solving the riddle of the Sphinx and then being subsequently given the leadership of a city (Mahony 290). This eschews any type of actual governing ability and focuses on the fact that he accomplished a great deed for the city (Kousoulis 155). On the other hand, in present-day society, great deeds are interchangeable with the concept of popularity.
Election into leadership positions is now based on how popular you are, resulting in a majority vote within the election process. While leaders at present are required to show the capacity to actually lead, it does show that leadership, as we know it is basically a popularity contest. In line with this train of thought is the leadership of Adolf Hitler, who became a leader of the Nazi party due to his popularity. His leadership is well known in history as the direct cause of millions of deaths and the genocide of the Jewish population. This shows that being just popular does not make anyone a good leader.
Justice and Inequality
From Oedipus Rex to Antigone, we see examples of social injustice and inequality at play based on the plight of Antigone and the Shepard. Antigone suffers by virtue of being a woman while the Shepard suffers by virtue of being part of the common working class. Their rights are not considered to be equal to the commands of their rulers, resulting in absolute orders being meted out into unjust acts (Kovacs 56). This shows that Greek society is basically hierarchical, wherein women and ordinary workers are not thought of like the ones having the same social rights or even the capacity to experience proper justice. In fact, it is implied throughout the stories that the concept of justice is one that is based on the intercession and will of the Gods rather than being in the hands of humans. This creates the notion that for ordinary people, justice is something they have to pray for and not something that is given to them by virtue of their inalienable human rights (Nassaar 148).
The same themes occur today, as seen in the case or rampant inequality and laws that favor the rich. The leaders in both Oedipus and Antigone show themselves as owners of absolute power and worry very little about the consequences of their actions; the same can be said about those in power today (Miller 245). Wealth, prestige and popularity are the vestiges of power in societies around the world at the present and they are only accessible to a small percentage of the population. There is little in the way of a significant trickle down effect resulting in the rich getting even richer while the poor get much poorer. This, partly due to the way in which the current system has been constructed, results in some correlation to the system seen in the Greek stories which limit the capacity of the common men and women from being able to exert their rights.
Injustice today is similar to what can be found in the Greek stories based on the continued isolation of power and opportunities towards the rich. Simply put, we all seem to have been placed in a similar position as the Shepard where we apparently have no choice but to follow what is being dictated. The rich today can be described as people with the same type of absolute power that Oedipus depicted in the story due to the fact that they are the ones who create laws, dictate the progress of the current system and are apparently immune to the same application of justice unlike the common human being. Evidence of this can be seen in multiple cases where a rich person is arrested for a crime yet subject to what can be considered as the equivalent of a “slap on the wrist”. On the contrary, an ordinary person committing the same kind of crime may be punished harshly (for example, illegal drug possession).
After going over everything that has been presented in this paper, it can be seen that ancient literature helps to showcase problems that plagued society in the past. We can see whether society as we know it has grown or changed or if we are merely repeating the same mistakes that our ancestors made so long ago. Based on present day events and the way they resemble times of Antigone and Oedipus Rex, the outcome is rather unfortunate; past mistakes have apparently been repeated in the present. Through this paper, a window into the past has shown that we continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again; hopefully, as people understand more about past and present events, similar instances can be prevented from happening in the future.
Diski, Jenny. “A Great Fall.” New Statesman 141.5125 (2012): 48-55. Print
Kousoulis, Antonis A. “The Plague Of Thebes, A Historical Epidemic In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.” Emerging Infectious Diseases 18.1 (2012): 153-157. Print
Kovacs, David. “The End Of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus: The Sceptical Case Restated.” Journal Of Hellenic Studies 134 (2014): 56-65. Print
Mahony, Patrick. “The Oedipus Rex Of Sophocles And Psychoanalysis.” International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 7.4 (2010): 290-306.
Miller, Patrick Lee. “Oedipus Rex Revisited.” Modern Psychoanalysis 31.2 (2006): 229- 250. Print
Nassaar, Christopher S. “Tampering With The Future: Apollo’s Prophecy In Sophocles’s Oedipus The King.” Anq: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews 26.3 (2013): 147-149. Print
The Ideal Relationship in Ramayana Essay
Rama may have come on earth for a godly mission, but the impact he had on Sita brought about a different outcome (Mines and Lamb 182). Rama was the first born son of Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya, and his mother Kausalya. The king had two other wives. At the age of sixteen, the sage Vishwamitra sought the help of Rama and Lakshmana to fight the demons (Pemberton 200).
The King from a neighboring kingdom found a baby girl in the field. Her past was unknown, and even the king named her Sita and thought of her as a “miraculous gift of God” (Pemberton 200). Rama, Lakshmana, and Vishwamitra went to King Janaka’s party. When Sita had reached marriageable age, the King wanted a man with special abilities for his daughter (Galbraith and Marsack 328). Only Rama wielded the heavy bow and won the king’s prize (Pemberton 200). There were three marriage arrangements. The weddings happened at Mithila while their marriage parties took place at Ayodhya.
They lived at their home during this marriage time for about twelve years. Rama’s father, Dasharatha, wanted to crown him as the next king because he was too old to continue ruling. But his stepmother did not like the idea. She asked the king to send him into the forest for exile. Love could make a man do the things he would not have done if he was not in love. The king obeyed Kaikeyi’s demands to have Rama go to exile for fourteen years.
Rama accepted the punishment from his reluctant father (Coward, Neufeldt and Neumaier 255). Sita told him that “the forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me” (Coward, Neufeldt and Neumaier 255). They agreed to go to the forest together with Lakshmana.
They built cottages in the forest. Surpanakha was the sister to the demigod Ravana. She came and disguised herself with the intention of winning over the love of Rama and Lakshmana. When she failed, she planned to kill Sita. Lakshmana managed to cut her ears and nose. When her brother, Khara, came to avenge her, Lakshmana also killed him. The demon God kidnapped Sita as revenge.
Sita refused Hanuman’s help to escape and said that “Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction” first (Hair 26). The battle ensued at Lanka where Rama killed king Ravana. Rama made Sita to go through the “Agni pariksha” (Hair 26). She had to prove her purity, and she won the test. They returned to Ayodhya and ruled as king and queen in an ideal state with good morals.
Rama banishes Sita to the forest because of rumors of her impurity. She gave birth to Rama’s twin boys, Lava, and Kusha, while under the care of Valmiki. When Rama invited them for a ceremony, he recognized his children but Sita went back to the ground because of her husband’s mistrust in her (Losty 440). Rama returned to the gods.
Sita proved her love for her husband all her life. She even trained her children to obey their father. As a good father and husband, there was a need for trust in the family. The father also had to bring them together even during difficult times. Siblings need to support each other.
Coward, Harold, Ronald Neufeldt, and Eva K Neumaier. Readings in Eastern Religions, Second Edition, Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006. Print.
Galbraith, Iain, and Robyn Marsack. Oxford Poets 2013, New York: Carcanet, 2013. Print.
Hair, David. The Pyre of Queens, Toronto: Razorbill, 2011. Print.
Losty, J. P. The Ramayana, London: British Library, The, 2008. Print.
Mines, Diane P, and Sarah E Lamb. Everyday Life in South Asia, Second Edition, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. Print.
Pemberton, John. Myths and Legends, New York: Chartwell Books, 2010. Print.
Reality of Achilles in “The Iliad” Report
In “The Iliad”, Homer portrays Achilles as a superhero of the Achaean army during the Trojan War. Achilles enjoyed a close relationship with the gods and possessed extraordinary strength although he was dominated by anger and rage. According to the poet, Achilles is a proud, merciless, and brutal warrior who eventually defeats Hector; Troy’s best warrior. The poet wrote the poem between the eighth and ninth Century B.C., several years after the actual Trojan war had taken place. The character of Achilles is real as it is presented in the poem although most of the powers that are portrayed through this character are mere fantasies.
Most researchers reckon that the City of Troy was not fictional. In addition, the Trojan War where Achilles is said to be the main warrior took place. Most of the characteristics that are portrayed in the poem about Achilles are realistic representations of any warrior. He is devoted and loyal towards the people who show him love but he is also brutal towards those who harm either him or his beloved ones. Achilles’ soft and emotional side is portrayed when his friend Patroclus (with whom Achiles had a true and deep friendship) was murdered. Achilles “mourned so bitterly to the extent that he did not accept food or dressing during the war” (Strachan 16).
Achilles’ character is determined to avenge the death of his friend. The main character is also consumed by his emotions. Although the story does not talk about his death, it ends on a positive note where Achilles changes his heart, his rage fades, and his immense anger at Agamemnon diminishes. All these developments are a testament to the reality of Achilles’ character. Additionally, even though Achilles and Priam remain enemies, their enmity becomes more respectful and noble. This latter situation portrays the main hero as a real character with real emotions hence the reality of Achilles in “The Iliad” is determinable.
Strachan, Ian. The Iliad, New York: Kingfisher, 1997. Print.
One Eye Character in the Valhalla Rising Film Essay
Reflections of ancient mythological heroes and quests are very common in modern literature, music, cinema, and art. The film called “Valhalla Rising” is a good example of such reflection. The main character of the film represents Odin, the most important god of Norse mythology. He is famous for his thirst for knowledge and for the desire to learn. One Eye, the main character of “Valhalla Rising,” possesses many distinct features of Odin and goes through his quest, which ends with a sacrifice, pursuing his main goal, looking for knowledge, and returning to the underworld.
Ancient mythology serves as a great and limitless source of inspiration for the artists and thinkers of the modern world. The characters and events that reflect the ancient legends can be found in literature, music, cinema, and art of the present days. The mysterious stories of the past that survived through the centuries keep bothering our imagination; this is why the most famous contemporary artists try to present their audiences with modern representations and new understandings of ancient mythological creatures and their adventures. One of such reflections is the film called “Valhalla Rising” created by Nicholas Winding Refn in 2009.
The main character of the film, One Eye, goes through a course of spontaneous and dramatic events, which leads to his death. One Eye is thrown into one tragic situation after another. Yet, he silently walks his way as if he knows that this was his mission, and as if all of these events had a final goal and value the character was aware of. One Eye, the representative of a pagan society, gets involved in a Christian Crusade. The participants of this mission mention that they have heard about the warrior called One Eye and the priest of the group tells him that by joining the Crusade, he would have a chance to free himself from his inner sufferings, make his soul pure, clean and sinless. From the behavior of the main character, is it noticeable that none of the words or behaviors of the people around make any impression on him? One Eye forms his decisions based on his own conclusions, senses, and knowledge.
In the film by Nicholas Winding Refn One Eye, played by the famous Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen impersonates one of the most well known and important gods of Norse mythology, Odin. This pagan Scandinavian god was a symbol of several notions such as war and death, wisdom and knowledge, persistence, and sacrifice (Why Odin Is One Eyed 2014). Here is the list of Odin’s most important characteristics:
- He played the leading role in the Scandinavian pantheon of gods and was also called “Father of the slain.”
- Odin was the king of Valhalla, the place where heroes killed in combat went after death.
- According to the myth, Odin had a great thirst for knowledge. In order to drink from the famous well of wisdom, the god had to bring a sacrifice to the guardian of the well, giant Mimir. Following the guardian’s demand, Odin plucked one of his eyes out and dropped it into the well. After that, the giant allowed Odin to drink from the well. Due to the events of this quest for knowledge, Odin was always depicted as a one-eyed man.
- Mimir asked for an eye in exchange for a sip from the well for a reason. The wisdom Odin obtained after drinking the magical water gave him an amazing perception of the world around, he lost one of his eyes that could see the physical side of things, but he received the ability to perceive what was invisible to the others.
- Odin was an excellent warrior and the god of violence and fury. On the battlefield, he was unstoppable and merciless.
The similarities between One Eye and Odin are quite obvious. First of all, the main character of “Valhalla Rising” misses one of his eyes. The cause of this trauma remains unknown to the audience. At the same time, the viewers of the film from the very beginning get to notice that the main character is a great fighter, he is able to defeat any rival, even if a group of men attacks him and he is leashed to a pole. One Eye is fantastically good at combat, and his rivals and captors often notice that he is full of hatred and fury. Besides, the first part of the film is called “Wrath.” This presents the viewers with more similar features between Odin and One Eye. Moreover, soon we notice that One Eye has supernatural powers and is able to have premonitions, he can see beyond the physical side of things, just like the legendary god did. It is also shown that the silent warrior called One Eye came from a pagan society and represented the beliefs that dwelled on the territory of Scandinavia before the Christian crusaders came. When the leader of the crusaders asks the boy that accompanies One Eye through his quest where this warrior came from, the boy answers that he was taken away from the hell that is on the other side of the ocean (Andersen 2009). The boy, obviously, is talking about the underworld, the kingdom of the dead.
The adventure of One Eye presented in “Valhalla Rising” is an interpretation of one of Odin’s quests for wisdom. It is very noticeable that the character surrenders to his destiny and goes wherever the course of events takes him. At the same time, his premonitions help him to see his path and follow it accurately. One-Eye agrees to accompany the crusaders and travel to the new land only because he has seen this in one of his visions. One Eye also senses when his time to die comes. He starts to build a cairn, a Nordic memorial for the dead. From the way One Eye surrenders to his killers, it seems that death was the purpose of his quest, yet he had plenty of opportunities to die while he was a captive, and he still fought for his life. This fact makes it clear that One Eye was looking for wisdom and knowledge, which he obtained in the new land. After that, he started getting ready to die and tried to build a cairn for himself.
The creators of the film do not tell the audience what exactly One Eye came to this world for. It could have been knowledgeable about the new Christian gods, or about the new lands, or about the people inhabiting the world of that time. Whatever his goal was, One Eye accomplished it and left without a fight, returning to where he came from.
Andersen, J. (Producer) & Refn, N. W. (Director). (2009). Valhalla Rising [Motion picture]. Denmark & United Kingdom: Scanbox Entertainment.
Why Odin Is One Eyed. (2014). Norse Mythology. Web.
Myths about Gods and Spirits in Different Cultures Essay
Supreme Being Myth
|Myth: Alla||Religion or culture of origin: Islam|
What are the characteristics of the Supreme Being?
God in Islam can be described as an omnipotent and all-knowing being that created the universe. Moreover, mercy is another attribute of this Supreme Being. In Islam, God is outside or above nature. This is one of the aspects that distinguish it from pagan deities. Furthermore, one should mention that Allah is an indivisible entity that does not have various representations. Furthermore, one should mention that the actions of this Supreme Being cannot be understood by a human being. Moreover, Allah should not be judged according to anthropomorphic standards. This is one of the reasons why the depictions of god are prohibited by the norms of the Quran (Shah, 2012, p. 400). These are the main details that can be distinguished.
How did the Supreme Being create humanity?
According to Islamic tradition, Allah created a human being out of wet earth or clay. Moreover, the Supreme Being did not create people within an instant. In particular, he did not simply breathe life into inanimate matter. More likely, human beings were the result of gradual and long-term development. This is one of the peculiarities that should be taken into account.
Great Mother Myth
|Myth: Gaia||Religion or culture of origin: Ancient Greece|
What are the characteristics of the Great Mother?
In the myths of Ancient Greece, Gaia is depicted as the entity that gave birth to the Earth as well as heavenly gods. Overall, Gaia can be viewed as the representation of nature that sustains human life. To a great extent, she can be viewed as the creator of material reality. Nevertheless, Gaia is not the Supreme Being because her powers are limited. Apart from that, she is not omniscient. These are some of the traits that can be singled out.
How did the Great Mother protect or look after humanity?
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that Gaia is not a protective figure, especially if one speaks about humanity. She can care about her own children, such as heavenly gods or Titans. Nevertheless, she is not concerned about the existence of human beings or the hardships that they can encounter. This is one of the issues that should be considered because Gaia cannot be viewed as a caring deity.
Dying God Myth
|Myth: Adonis||Religion or culture of origin: Ancient Greece|
How did the god die?
It should be noted that Adonis was killed by a boar (Detienne, 1977, p. 67). According to different versions, this boar could have been sent by Artemis, who envied Adonis for his prodigious hunting skills (Detienne).
How did the god come back to life?
One should keep in mind that at the beginning, Adonis was a human being, but he was resurrected by Zeus on the bequest of Aphrodite. Moreover, he was given the status of a deity. Later, Adonis became the god of desire and beauty (Detienne,1977). He is traditionally associated with Aphrodite (Detienne,1977).
|Myth: Coyote||Religion or culture of origin: The folk culture of Native Americans|
What tricks does the trickster pull?
Overall, Coyote uses his skills and knowledge to disobey the established rules. For instance, this fictional character steals water from the so-called Frog people and gives it to other living beings. Similarly, he is credited for stealing fire from gods and giving it to people (Moncrieffe, 2012, p. 128). To some degree, he can be compared to Prometheus (Moncrieffe, 2012). The main difference is that Coyote was not punished for this action. However, at the same time, this character can play practical jokes which are not beneficial to anyone.
Do these tricks help humanity? If so, how do these tricks help humanity? If not, what is the purpose of the trickster? ‘
Overall, these tricks help humanity; to some degree, they are critical for the survival of people. This argument is particularly relevant about his theft of fire from deities. However, this trickster also poses challenges for people and creates obstacles that they need to overcome. Thus, Coyote prompts the development of human beings. These are some of the functions that this character performs.
Deities and Spirits
What are the general characteristics of deities and spirits?
|Characteristic||Example of deity and spirit|
|It should be mentioned that deities and lesser spirits have some behavioral characteristics of a human being. To some degree, they are anthropomorphic.||In particular, these deities can become vindictive. For instance, one can mention that Athena turned Arachne into a spider for her disrespectful depiction of gods. Thus, one can say that these deities do not seem to be morally superior to humans. This is one of the points that can be made because it is important for understanding the way in which myths portray supernatural beings.|
|Deities tend to come in conflict with one another. They do not share common goals.||For instance, according to Greek mythology, the Trojan War divided the Olympic gods. They supported different sides; moreover, they could even fight one another. Thus, one cannot say that these deities always act unanimously.|
|These entities are not omnipotent or all-knowing, even though their abilities are superior to those ones of human beings.||For example, it is possible to mention that Apollo cannot resurrect his friend who dies in the course of an accident. Furthermore, Apollo cannot predict or avert this disaster. Thus, one can say that these entities differ significantly from the so-called Supreme Being that has unlimited powers.|
|Deities and lesser spirits can develop attachments to human beings.||In particular, one can mention Calypso, a nymph who falls in love with Odysseus and uses her magic to prevent him from leaving. However, Odysseus eventually escapes her, even despite her pleas.|
Detienne, M. (1977). The Gardens of Adonis: Spices in Greek Mythology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Moncrieffe, K. (2012). Understanding Myths and Legends. New York, NY: Brilliant Publications.
Shah, Z. (2012). Anthromorphic Depictions of God: The Concept of God in Judaic, Christian and Islamic Traditions: Representing the Unrepresentable. Boston, MA: MIT.