Lessons Taught in Greek Myths
Around the world, there are many ancient stories, religious and non-religious, that leave moral lessons behind. Generation after generation, parents and grandparents pass on these stories to their children and they pass them to on to theirs. Specifically, ancient Greek myths leave lessons behind that can be considered very important in the modern world. Story after story, goddess after god, the hundreds of myths almost always have a moral lesson at the end of each one. Not all of these stories include gods and goddesses; in fact, many myths show humans as an example for these mistakes. The modern reader can learn valuable moral lessons from the ancient Greek myths such as being careful of one’s wishes, being respectful of one’s elders, and being too self-involved.
To begin with, those mentioned in Greek myths, tend to make wishes that they would soon regret. In particular, the famous story of King Midas and his golden touch focuses on this case. Granted one wish by Dionysus, the wealthy King Midas wished for one simple thing; to turn everything he touched into gold. He soon regretted his decision as his most valued things and even his daughter turned into gold as well. Midas’ irrational decision showcases the result of not being careful of one’s wishes. The king was very excited to make his wish that he made a quick and unreasonable decision without thinking about the consequences later on.
Moreover, the story of ‘Phaeton and the Fiery Steeds’ is another example of this message. Phaeton, son of Clymene and Apollo longed to see his father one day after hearing the many great stories about him and his glorious chariot and how he rides it across the heavens to bring light upon the city. After meeting his father Apollo, he made one wish; to ride his father’s chariot across the heavens. This shows how people can make foolish decisions at times of great joy. Phaeton attempted to ride the chariot which ultimately resulted in his death. This absurd decision is just one of the many other stories that showcase signs of quick and unreasonable decisions. In this story, Phaeton wanted to be like his father and did not listen to him when he was told “death waits for you on the way’ (Myths of the Greeks and Romans 32). These two myths are great examples of moral lessons being taught to the modern reader. The tale of Phaeton also teaches another moral lesson, being respectful of one’s elders.
Furthermore, the young characters in these legends have a tendency to ignore their parents/elders’ advice, which subsequently resulted in a rather bad consequence. These stories teach people; mostly children, to listen to their elders.
The story of Phaeton and the fiery steeds exhibits this moral lesson. Phaeton was so dedicated on riding his father’s chariot that he did not listen to his father, Apollo, when he told him that only he can ride the chariot and not put himself and the world in danger. Yet after his father allowed him, he once more did not follow his instructions of staying on the middle path which brought destruction upon the world. This myth shows that most of the time, adults have more wisdom than ones younger than them and it is wise to listen to them. Likewise, the myth of Daedalus and Icarus is another story that teaches this lesson. After being trapped in a tower, the father and son immediately thought of ways to escape. Daedalus, an excellent craftsman, created wings for him and Icarus to fly out with. He gave his son instructions for flying and they started their escape. Icarus became overwhelmed by the power of his flight and forgot about his father’s instructions. He flew too high and melted the wax on the wings and fell into the water to his death. This story also ends with the death of a child, and while this is unlikely in most places, it shows the consequences for not listening to one’s elders and respecting their advice and instructions. In the modern world, being respectful of elders is considered very important and taking their advice is a widely popular belief. These stories showcase these habits with valuable lessons and important stories behind them.
As children, we are told to be proud of our work but as we get older, being too proud and being too self-involved is looked at in a bad way and is often frowned upon. In these Greek Myths, those who suffer the consequences, are sometimes extremely proud of themselves. One of the most popular stories that showcases this lesson is the tale of Narcissus.
Narcissus was a handsome man who was very proud of his looks and thought that no woman was good enough for him. He fell in love with his own reflection whilst trying to take a drink from a lake which resulted in his death. This situation is quite unlikely but it showcases the act of narcissism very well. Narcissus was so distracted by his looks that he turned away every woman that wanted him which resulted in him dying alone. Correspondingly, the myth of Arachne and Athena is another great example of this lesson. The talented weaver, Arachne, thought of herself as the best weaver in the world; even better than Athena, the goddess of wisdom and crafts. She challenged Athena into a contest to prove she is the best; her loss resulted in her turning into a spider. This myth demonstrates that there is almost always someone better than the person bellow them and that humans should accept that they are not the best but that is not a problem. These tales express narcissism and being too proud of one’s self greatly with ancient stories.
In conclusion, Greek Myths are tales that not only entertain but also teach valuable lessons to modern readers. For thousands of years, humans have been clueless and clumsy and often, they make mistakes. They make irrational decisions without thinking which resulted in terrible consequences, and even death. They occasionally do not listen to their elders’ advice which is both disrespectful and also has bad consequences. They can be narcissistic and turn away everyone who tries to be in contact with them. The Ancient Greek Myths show these mistakes with famous stories that are told in many different ways. Greek Myths are one of the many kinds of tales around the world that can teach valuable moral lessons to any modern reader.
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