Hero Journeys in the Greek Mythology
The creation myth is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how certain beings came to inhabit it. The Greek mythical version of this narrative was created by the Greeks to explain the things that happen I nature that they could not explain, so they used gods’ goddesses and other mythical beings to describe as such. In the world of Greek mythology, it almost seems as if every main character of a story has to go on some kind of journey in order to accomplish something or to be recognized and elevated. Through this perspective most people would assume that only demigod heroes were the only ones who were described to strive for such a status. Yet when observed carefully you’ll find that it’s not just demigods but normal mortals as well as the gods themselves, who may or may not have gone through trials once before in pursuit of something they Desired, or something they believe was right. These kinds of stories are usually generic for mostly following the same generic formula. The hero is either disowned, not-acknowledge or threatened by those of higher status, putting them in a situation to where they are forced to grow up and leave home. The hero leaves home on a quest in order to reach a personal or noble goal. Guided by a higher power or divinity, they go on a journey learning from the conquered trails that had been set before them. By the end of the journey they have proven themselves that they are worthy of being elevated or transcended. They return home acknowledged by divinity and saving the day.
The greatest Greek hero recorded in Greek myth was Hercules, a Demigod born of the god Zeus and the mortal Alceme. There are many tales that tell of Heracles’ strength and heroism yet the most well-known centers around the twelve labors. Driven by a fit of rage by the goddess Hera, Heracles killed his own children. in order to atone for this sin, he was forced to perform twelve labors set by Eurystheus. Hercules was forced out of his home as a result of divine intervention, he left a murderer but came back a hero. King Polydectes of Seriphos wished to marry Danae, the mother of Perseus, something Perseus did not approve of. The wide tension between the two caused Polydectes to get Perseus out of the way by sending him on a journey that would surely kill him. He had to bring him the head of Medusa, whose gaze could turn people into stone. After being given divine artifacts from the gods Perseus went out to slay Medusa. Using his polished shield to view Her reflection, he was able to approach and safely cut off her head. On his way home Perseus spots a beautiful princess named Andromeda who is being tied up as a sacrifice for a sea monster who threatens her kingdom. he defeats the beast and returns home a hero. Also turning Polydectes into stone as well as everyone in to courthouse. His story is an example of divine intervention by assistance.
Theseus a legendary hero and one of the founders of Athens. one of the most famous stories of his heroism was him slaying the Minotaur and escaping from the labyrinth. Theseus wasn’t exactly a demigod, he was the son of a demigod which labeled him more as human or mortal. After finding out his father was a king, he set out in order to claim his birthright. While thins was going on, the wife of King Minos of Crete, mated with a bull, and gave birth to a minotaur. Instead of killing the monster, King Minos imprisoned him in a maze called a labyrinth, and he would trap his enemies in the labyrinth, where they could not escape and where they would become food for the Minotaur. Every year the Athenians were forced to send seven male sacrifices, and this did not sit well with Theseus. Eventually he went against his father’s wishes and left to slay the Minotaur ending the cycle. There, he met King Minos daughter, Ariadne, who fell for him and decided to help him. She gave him a long thread so that he would find his way out after killing the minotaur. Theseus story is an example of how he wants to be recognized by his father by continuously surviving the odds and doing the impossible.
Zeus was the sixth child of the Titan gods Cronus and Rhea. his father Cronus was feared that his children would become far more powerful than him, so he swallowed all five of them whole. the siblings were very much alive but trapped. When Zeus was born, Rhea hid him from Cronus and was raised by nymphs in a hidden forest. As years went by Zeus grew older and wanted to rescue his siblings. He received special potion and snuck it into Cronus drink causing him to regurgitate all five of his children. Cronus and the Titans were enraged. They battled the young gods for years. After setting the giants and Cyclopes free from their restraints they decided to help Zeus fight. They crafted and supplied the Olympians weapons to fight the Titans. After the Titans eventually surrendered, Zeus had them locked deep underground, thus finally ending the first war. Zeus journey to free and make allies to help fight for the throne seemed to be a very human thing to. There were obstacles he had to overcome in order to not only be acknowledged by his siblings but by the primordial as well. One of the two other Greek characters who had to overcome many trails yet were fully human was Psyche, a human girl whose beauty out match even Aphrodite. She sent her son Eros to go and cause her to fall in love with an ugly beast. But little did she now that he himself would fall in love with her. After turning himself invisible he took Psyche for his bride, with her believing that he is the so-called beast the oracle predicted that shed fall in love with. After receiving doubt from her sisters, she decided to take the beasts life. She sees Eros’s true form and falls in love, yet he flees to his mother out of the feeling of betrayal. Later feeling regretful Aphrodite shows up and pretend to give her another chance, saying that if she wants to see Eros again, she must first complete 4 tasks, But Aphrodite has no intention of playing fair, each task more exacting than the last. Psyche ends up passing 3 three of the challenges with flying colors, due to the interference and help from the gods.
Sort a huge amount of barley, millet, poppy seeds, lentils, and beans. Ants (pismires) help her sort the grains within the time allotted. Gather a hank of the wool of the shining golden sheep. A reed (water spirit) tells her how to accomplish this task without being killed by the vicious animals. Fill a crystal vessel with the water of the spring that feeds the Styx and Cocytus. An eagle (Zeus) helps her out. During this time Eros had longed forgiven Psyche but was locked away by his mother not to intervein. Finally, Aphrodite asked Psyche to bring back a box of Persephone’s beauty. this task was too much for Psyche, because the temptation to make herself even more beautiful caused her to open the box after retrieving it, thus forcing her to fall into a deep deathlike sleep, as Aphrodite had planned. Eros breaks out of the small prison and head Strat for Psyche. At this point, divine intervention was called once again and With Zeus’ assistance, Cupid brought his wife to Olympus where, she was given nectar and ambrosia so that she could be reawaken as an immortal. With This this character not being a warrior like the rest, she was aided almost every step of the way. But the fact that all of this happened to one with no relation to divinity means that any being within the Greek myth can be applied to the idea of going the extra mile to prove yourself. Even with Oedipus`s story One of the most tragic Greek tales, where a hero who ends up fulfilling an oracle’s prophecy to kill his father and marry his mother. His journey and trails start and last for almost a life time, and with almost no aid by the gods.
Most of the time, the journey is a means of which the hero receives some form of self-discovery or realization. the hero is able to find the answers of questions that he or she faced even before the journey. There are obstacles that the hero unusually faces before the end of the journey that test their physical and mental fortitude. Each obstacle serves as a lesson to the hero and peels away to the core issue being faced. Therefore, literatures interpretation to the word journey is that it is a catalyst toward an individual’s better understanding of his or her life as well as the life of others. Though journeys and trails are used to point out the greatness of a character, it also confirms that many hero’s come in in different shapes and sizes, including those who may be considered weak. Weather you be mortal, god, or demigod. It something they all share.
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