On Mythological Tricksters, Warriors, and Lovers

For our final Blog post for Unit One, I want you to run with one of three broad options, which are inspired by the content of our latest readings.  Specifically, you may consider and respond to the following:

1)  The very first line of Virgil’s Aeneid gets right down to the heart of the matter.  In my translation, the famous line reads, simply, “This is a tale of arms and of a man.”  In other words, the story of Aeneas is a story about a man at war, a warrior-hero who will fight bravely and who will be, in essence, defined by his valor and prowess on the battlefield.  Hence, I’m interested in seeing what you can do here to address the war-making that is so common in mythological stories.  Using the Aeneid as a test case, offer some thoughts about the meaning and significance of war in the world of myth (and, please, give us some specific examples or quote some passages to help support your case!).

2)  The Roman poet Ovid was widely known as the quintessential love-poet, and indeed one of his masterpieces was appropriately titled the Ars Amatoria (‘The Arts of Love’).  Accordingly, I would like you to use the excerpts you read from Ovid as a way into the question of the “arts of love” (to borrow his title) within a mythological context.  If you go with this prompt, then, I’d like you to provide some commentary on the meaning and significance of love and sex in mythical narrative – in what ways is Ovid’s verse typical of the handling of these topics, and in what ways is his writing utterly unique within the context of mythical storytelling?

3)  For the third and final option, I am curious to hear your thoughts about the mythical Trickster-figure.  The Trickster is a commonly-found character who takes great pleasure in breaking rules and playing tricks on both humans and gods.  Tricksters are often shape-shifters who flaunt the rules of society, but they also frequently play an important role in the creation of the world or the establishment of important human traditions.  They are, in other words, complex figures that raise many questions about the role of the hero and the morality of a specific mythical society.  Your response should pick out one of the Tricksters read for class and use him to discuss the general importance and impact of this common character type.

43 thoughts on “On Mythological Tricksters, Warriors, and Lovers

  1. I chose to go with the second prompt in the group of three. In context to the Ovid’s Verse, my opinion is that sex was an important feature in the Greek life. Although it was one of the more important aspects of Greek culture, women held to it more than men. For example, when Odysseus left Penelope, she was loyal to him although he was gone for twenty years while Odysseus was not a faithful as he should have been. Ovid in particular highlights the fact that these women are lamenting over the fact that these men either were not there to help these women’s desires or they just were not interested in them past the sex. This is not uncommon with Greek mythology due to the fact that a lot of the women in their history were indeed very sexual beings and also required a lot of attention. When they don’t receive the attention they desire, they act (mostly negatively) against the opposite sex. In my perspective, love does not exactly exist in the ancient Greek culture because there is a lot of cheating and deceit.

  2. I chose the third section about tricksters my trickster I would like to discuss is coyote he had a major role in today’s world simply because he was there at the creation of earth and mankind. He saw how great mankind had it they even said to him how great life is, how all they did was eat and sleep well his response was odd coyote said ” I can show you something better than that” so he constructed a foot race and his son was bitten by a rattlesnake and died. Therefore coyote was the trickster god that introduced death and sickness to mankind. I think it was kind of twisted how coyote thought that introducing death and sickness to mankind would be better than them just eating and sleeping with no need for work or anything. Coyotes character type is common simply because many of the tricksters would introduce some kind of important aspect to mankind’s life altering it forever.

    • I agree. Tricksters introduce new aspects to mankind and most of the time it’s negative. Death was a key component in every tail. The story that stuck out the most to me was the story of Water Jar Boy. The unrealistic story was strange and I think that is why I remember it so much. But getting back to death I found the ending very messed up. Water Jar boy was raised by his mother and grandparents his whole life, he lived happily but at the end of the tail Water Jar Boy goes looking for his father. He finds him Satisfied after meeting him he returns home and his mother dies shortly after. Turns out that his father had grew so lonely that he had made his mother ill so that she would die and be forced to live with him along with Water Jar Boy. The ending is very depressing; he was driven to kill her to be with her which is an example of the negative reaction of death brought by tricksters. (I also like the tails where people were dancing themselves to death )

  3. Option #3:
    In the story of Draupadi, the trickster is not one of the main characters. The story is about the five Pandava brothers gambling themselves into slavery to the Kauravas brothers. In a desperate attempt to gain a win, Yudhishthira (the oldest brother calling all the shots) gambles his (their) wife into slavery as well. Draupadi is brought to the Kauravas court where they attempt to strip her naked in front of all the people in the room. Scared, Draupadi prays to the gods for their help. They hear her, and Krishna comes to her aid. Krishna is the trickster in this tale. For every time a piece of her clothing was removed, another would reappear. This frustrated and infuriated the Kauravas and eventually they gave up. Krishna is a very common figure in Hinduism, known as the god-child, the prankster, the ideal lover and a mighty hero. The fact that he is a god pulling the wool over human’s eyes is amusing and helps add to the tale. While he is doing it to help Draupadi, it’s almost as if he’s making a mockery of man and their stupidity (bullying and taking advantage of Draupadi).

  4. The options that I choose is option one. I chose one because I believe that war played a huge impact on myth. For starters war was such an impact that there were several war gods capturing each aspect of war such as Ares and Mars. These two gods played a huge role because many men would pray to these gods before going into any battle with the intent of surviving and winning the battle/war. With further reading we see how the “Aeneid” was based off of fleeing from the Trojan war. From war a whole new empire was created. War clearly played a huge role in the creation of the Roman empire. Some examples from the text show us how powerful a leader Aeneas was, war brought forth a new after fleeing, and how one final battle would be the start or the end of the Roman empire. We also see throughout the text how men were given an honorable burial or remembrance when they were killed in battle. I think that war influenced both Greek and Roman cultures in a lot of ways. For example how they valued themselves, we see how Rome was much more strict and built powerful armies, while on there hand Greece took their armies half heartedly because they were already on top of the world. War leads to creations of new empires. In the case of the “Aeneid” it was Rome but in our history war led to the creation of America. Can war be viewed as a source of good or creation?

  5. In Vergil’s Aeneid, Aeneas is sent by the gods to found Rome. Aeneas’s story starts when the Trojans and their land are destroyed in the war between Troy and the Greeks. The very background of Aeneas’s life is of war, which in a sense, is saying that Rome rose from war. In the story, there is a massive separation of love and war. Eventually, Aeneas chooses war over love. In many mythological texts, there must be war before love. In the Odyssey, Odysseus fights in the Trojan war for ten years, and then fights for another twenty years to go back home. The common theme amongst these texts is that struggle and war have to come before happiness. For Aeneas specifically, he was destined to found Rome. The gods would not let him settle down and be happy with Dido until he completed his task. That being said, the rest of Rome and the building of the empire was all due to conquering land and people in order to spread. War is the backstory of the spread of Rome, and without it, Rome would never have been the empire it was.

  6. I have chosen to respond to option one.
    War and battle is a very significant aspect of all mythology. Battles are usually what produce heroes and villains, or send heroes on their journey’s. The Roman Epic Poem by Vergil, is known as a war poem in and of itself. It follows Aeneas, a warrior in the Battle of Troy, who is trying to save the city of Troy, but the gods have destined the city to fall. Aeneas is a hero in this poem, because he builds an entire new empire, and is successful in building it up from the ground. Yet, during his journey, Aeneas has to get through many different battles and wars in order to reach the falling city. This poem describes many brutal scenes in which people are killed and conquered. Aeneas describes the Trojan horse scene, and the bloodshed that occurred during that place in time. He says, “And, if our destiny and the gods’ intentions had not been hostile towards us, he would have driven us to lay waste to the hiding places of the Argives with our swords, and Troy would now stand, and you, lofty citadel of Priam, would still remain.”
    When Aeneas describes this, he is telling the audience how the gods had had a huge influence on why Troy needed to fall, and that he could not contradict the gods. Seeing this shows how important war was in mythology, because it was easy to pick out the weak and the strong. It was also promoted by the gods.

  7. I am going to speak about option 1. We see that war is a very common background or backdrop of ancient Greek myth. War can be seen as a time that will truly test what a man is made of and what he stands on. War also happens to cause a lot of big “events” to happen in a characters story fairly quickly. In Virgil’s story Aeneid we see that war happens to be the background of the story. In this case it is the Trojan War, the same as the Odyssey. We follow the character of Aeneas and what he goes through during and after the war. The main character of war driven stories are usually courageous heroes that must face difficult decisions and opposition. We see that war caused Aeneas to lead the people out of the city and to find a new and build up a new one. The responsibility fell upon the hero of the story and we see that he was able to carry out his responsibility with care for his people. War is seen as a test for the hero of the story.

  8. Out of all the various “Tricksters” that exist in our world, the mythological world, and in worlds passed, one of the most prominent examples of such a character would be the Greek god Hermes. Hermes is most famously known as being the messenger of the gods and often times, in today’s culture, you will see a logo or symbol of a foot with wings which represents him. However, even though he is the messenger of the gods, most people never get to truly see the “trickster” side of him. The most popular occurrence of Hermes being a trickster is when he steals the Greek god Apollo’s cattle. Hermes was craving meat so he ventured to Apollo’s cattle and got them into a cave. While doing so, Hermes was able to cover his footprints up with special sandals he made. Once he got them into the cave he slaughter a few, leaving the meat there as a sign of his deed. By having Hermes, or any other trickster involved in a myth or story, it creates a sort of comic relief in some instances while also giving a different view of a certain character compared to other characters in a piece of work. With Hermes, the stealing of Apollo’s cattle is often viewed as funny because that is so unlike of what a god is expected to act like. Other gods such as Zeus and Apollo are seen as serious and firm which is quite the opposite of Hermes.

  9. I am using the 1st prompt about war in the world of myth. War is a very important aspect in Greek myth, it is a part of everyday life. Nowadays war is looked down upon and that people should not be going to war with each other over any reason, but back when Greek myth was being written war was almost like a trial of passage for any hero/upcoming hero. From battle, the hero is shaped and also tested to find out is he worthy enough to be a hero. In the story Aeneid, Aeneas is the main character. He is a soldier in the Battle of Troy who is fighting to save the city although the city’s fate has already been sealed by the Gods. From fighting in this battle Aeneas’s leadership skills are tested and shaped which allows him to build a new city from scratch. Also as an example there is the story the Odyssey. The main character Odysseus conquers the city of Troy with the famous men inside the wooden horse trick. He then goes on a long journey and battles many foes in his path to return home. This journey along with the battles he fights is what makes him a hero .

  10. The following prompt which I choose to reply to is number three. The Trickster in my opinion is what makes the story the story. Without the role of a Trickster, the story would not have a meaning or a concept. For example, if you look at the African myth of Legba, the story would have no plot without the Trickster. In the story Legba is tired of being blamed for all the crimes that happen, while God is rewarded with all the good. Legba tricks God one night, steals his shoes, makes footprints as proof, and steals the yams. God was a man of his word and was sent to Heaven. Legba has gotten his revenge and now the entire town doesn’t see God as such an almighty person. The Trickster isn’t always a bad character, sometimes the Trickster shows justice. Legba might be looked at as a bad person, because he did the wrong thing. In his defense though, he did the right thing. This is where you see the Trickster is a key element in human traditions, and values.

  11. The third option with the tricksters I chose. The mythological trickster I choose is Coyote. Always being on the amoral side of things he breaks the rules while helping create humans by laughing, the one thing he was not supposed to do. He then tricks humans out of their perfect lives that they could have kept and creates death. Coyote by tricking the humans, ends up ruining it for himself, he kills his own son and now humans can die. Through his trickery this trickster learned a very difficult lesson and in the Native Americans eyes ruined immortality for us all. I find coyote to be at first a playful character with his laughter but later I find that coyote is none the less all for himself. He has his own selfish needs in his tricking pleasure and does not see the effects it has on anyone else, as long as he saves himself.

  12. War is a huge part of human history, involved in some part in almost every society that ever existed. As horrible as it is, war is interesting and frequent in Vergil’s time, and therefore was being written about. I believe the significance about writing about war was the opportunity to add the gods. Whether the gods were directly interacting with other characters in the story or affecting them from afar, a majority of war stories have a god helping/harming one side or the other. In Aeneid, Prrhus and the Greeks have waged war on the trojans and Priam. The whole time both sides are affected by the god Apollo. No matter what effort the trojans give to save their city, the gods have already determined its fate, something that is irreversible. Sacrifices were offered to the god in order to gain there favor, a solider would always want a god to be on their side, promising their forces would be victorious. It is through war that important figures appear as well. The hero,”Achilles,” made his fame through the trojan war, he is still relevant in todays culture. War was such a big part of Greek life that they even had a war god, Ares. You would never end up with a hero figure like Achilles if he hadn’t performed deeds in the battles for troy.

  13. I’m choosing to reply to the second prompt, discussing the meaning and significance of love and sex mythical narrative such as Ovid’s work. I think the aspect and angle of love and sexual affairs is extremely significant in the myths because they 1. bring excitement into a story, just like any movie or show or play today, 2. give us an incite into how moral or righteous, and also, immoral and unrighteous, a character can be in a narrative as well as the gods themselves, and 3. occasionally give us a genealogy of sorts, whether of gods or humans. Odysseus is a good example to use for point 2, as the others are pretty self explanatory. Through out the narrative, he is held as the hero, a good, faithful and strong man (that wasn’t actually completely man, but nonetheless.) But we see that he has an affair while stranded on the island regardless of the fact that he misses his wife to the point of illness. Even though it is displayed to us as a simple happening that isn’t extended as controversial, it gives the readers a definite insight into the kind of person he truly was.
    Ovid’s style when it comes to love and sex in mythical narratives is similar to most in that it is no doubt, crude and open. He doesn’t beat around the bush about two people or gods having sex, doesn’t try to keep it g rated. Also, he sees no wrong in copious amounts of sex that occur within his characters. Like many others, its typical that it be accepted, if not encouraged.
    But, Ovid also has a very unique concept to it in that he is very good at displaying the deep emotions felt in the characters. In works such as Gilgamesh and Odysseus, there were no extensive chapters or paragraphs dealing specifically with the overflowing emotions of one or both of the characters either in love or having slept together. He takes pages to show the mindset of say Phaedra, the mother in love with her step-son. He wrote all the letters so thoroughly, as if he were the person himself dealing with the loss, or betrayal, or guilt of a lover.

  14. I’ve chosen to go with option two. Ovid’s writing has opened the window of perspective for many of the great mythical texts we have seen and read before. While doing this, it is safe to say that love and or lust has made a huge impact of their society and in some ways our own. Love played a major role in a way such as everyone was either in love or doing what they did for the sake of love. This is shown in many ways throughout Ovid. For example, when Briseis is writing to Achilles after she is taken during the war. It is interesting to see how much she was willing to give up for him. She goes through many stages of grief for the sake of love. Specifically, the anger and helplessness she feels is something that sets him apart from others. The feelings are poured right onto the page allowing the emotion to be evoked.

  15. The idea of war is seductive, because it lures a person in. In mythology it is war that makes people look at characters as beyond perfect. But it is not only the readers, but the people alongside the heroes in mythological stories. War is force, and that means someone heroic and strong must be behind it all. That is why it is so alluring. In book 1, Coroebus says “We all went after him, our swords at play, But here, here first, from the temple gable’s height, We met a hail of missiles from our friends, Pitiful execution, by their error, Who thought us Greek from our Greek plumes and shields,” (540) These lines show the unintended consequence of Coroebus and some of the other Trojans’ decision to arm themselves in Greek weapons. Although they succeeded in taking some of the Greeks by surprise, they also ended up getting attacked by their own citizens, who did not know who they were. These lines stand as an example of the confusion often referred to as the “fog of war,” which in other terms means the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations. People are unaware of their abilities when it comes to war, which makes battle so prevalent when it comes to mythology. Heroes are heroes because they do what no one can imagine, therefore war is what makes a myth worth telling. Only heroes and villains are remembered, therefore battling in war makes them one of the two.

  16. I chose to analyse the trickster as a character in the story of a hero. The hero, as a character, is rarely of surpassing intelligence with his main characteristic normally being his strength. In the story of Cuchulainn, the hero is tricked by Culann and as a result that is how he gets his name. Cuchulainn resembles most heroes in that he is emotional and unruly at the beginning and it is the trickster character that often reigns the unruly hero in. Cuchulainn is a hotheaded character and he often needs to be brought back to his senses with a funny trick. The trickster is also the rare comedy that takes place in a hero story since the hero’s name becoming “the dog of Culann” would be funny to the audience at that time. The trickster lends himself to the skirting of convention that means he often brings a learning moment with him as he represents the opposite of a hero. The trickster, not the hero, brings the greatest amount of depth to the story because a hero story without a trickster is simple or just plain linear.

  17. Tricksters in myths can do one of two things. They can create comedy for one. Look at Hermes when he steals the cattle from Apollo. Nothing is introduced to society, but instead it’s a funny little tale to re-tell. It’s something out of character for a God to do, as they are supposed to be serious figures that demand respect and power. But you have other purpose for tricksters, which is to introduce something to the world/humanity. Such as Coyote, who through the foot race, introduced death and sickness to mankind. Each has a purpose, no matter what that purpose may be, and it affects some cultures and societies the same today, as it did back then.

  18. The preface to the Heroides sums up the importance of the work Ovid created. Through his conception of fictitious love letters from mythological heroines, a new perspective is produced, which is significant because it brings the voices of females to the surface. These females that Ovid portrayed represent love and sex and show how significant in a mythical narrative they can be. The women are typical in a sense because they miss the men as one would expect a woman to if their lover was away. This flaw could be seen as a weak characteristic in women and show that men are stronger. However, it is important because it gives the reader additional knowledge as to what might have been going through the woman’s mind during a crucial event in the story. Ovid’s technique is utterly unique as he writes the narrative through these women so the reader can experience what the heroines were feeling. It also shows the bond that these men and women have. It is not truly depicted through the men or their narratives, but through the women, you see this caring, sorrowful notion that shows how strong their bond was.

  19. I’d like you to provide some commentary on the meaning and significance of love and sex in mythical narrative – in what ways is Ovid’s verse typical of the handling of these topics, and in what ways is his writing utterly unique within the context of mythical storytelling?

    I would like to write about the second prompt, Ovid’s mythological work about the letter from Penelope to Ulysses is a great example of how his writing can be typical and similar to other stories of this topic, but it can also be utterly unique within the context of his storytelling. This work is very typical of other realistic stories where women wait years and years for their husbands to come back from war and they just never do. Penelope was faithful to her husband while he probably wasn’t the most loyal husband to her as he had an affair on the island he was on. His writing is unique as he takes these stories and applies them to himself, like he is the sad wife awaiting her army husband, or he is the ashamed stepmother in love with her stepson, or that he is the saddened slave who wants to belong to her owner once again because she is in love with him. The sexual content is very unique as it was very important to the gods, and it was crucial that they were satisfied at all times. The love wasn’t as real, in my opinion, as they all either cheated on each other or just killed themselves because they got their heart broken.

    • I’m sorry I copy and pasted the question so I could remember what I had to answer on the top half.

  20. Ovid’s writings give an added layer of detail to many Greek mythological texts. One of the most famous being the Odyssey, and his letter from Penelope to Ulysses (Odysseus). Sex and love are two key themes in the epic. It is Odysseus’ love for Ithaca and his family that propel him through the many trials and tribulations that the Gods put him through. Ovid uses Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, to shed light on her trials of waiting for Odysseus to return. Ovid captures the tone of an anxious and loving wife. While also showing her anger towards her husband for not being home after the Trojan War. Ovid’s letter is very unique in terms of mythological texts because he excels at putting the emotions of a character behind his writing. You can feel the longing of a wife for her husband’s embrace, and her disgust at the suitors that are attempting to wed her.

  21. I will be addressing the first question asked in this post. The significance of war in the world of myth cannot be under estimated. Many of myths greatest stories either have to do with war, have war as an undertow, or even are recounts of the war itself. If you look at Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey much of what happens is due to the Trojan War. The events that had taken place in the war are what directly lead to the struggles of Odysseus in the Odyssey. In the creation myths of Greek mythology the way the Gods gained power and were able to survive was because they had to fight the Titans. War is a very large part of the Greek myths, especially the major ones where war can be seen as a major point. A large reason I see the Greeks doing this is to install national pride into their warriors. If they think they come from a strong war like culture they will try to become stronger and fight better for their country. Though slightly off topic it is interesting to see how Greek stories of war could affect Greece as a civilization.

  22. My favorite mythical Trickster is Hermes, although I may be biased since Greek mythology is my favorite. Hermes is almost always depicted as a God who didn’t mind to joke, as the messenger of the Gods I’m sure he grew bored and wished to have fun so he chose to make his own. Tricksters are needed to shine light on something that may otherwise be dull or even scary for the people.
    I feel as if it is a common type of character because the Trickster is easy to relate to. They are an easy going character who breaks the boundaries of the normal tropes.

  23. Tricksters in mythology are important characters because the demonstrate people of a certain character who go against the odds and accomplish, discover, and help. A prominent trickster in Native American mythology is Coyote. Coyote is an infamous trickster, who teaches the people of his area to respond to certain conditions in the world. Coyote’s “trickster” characterstics come from him not only laughing when he was trying to create humans, but lying about it as well. Coyote also got involved with the people by trying to skew their opinions and told them it would be better if people got sick and died instead. Unfortunately, Coyote’s desire to take charge and trick the people turned for the worst when his own son got bit by the Rattlesnake and died. He then went from a person of no morals to someone who ultimately learned their lesson by losing something so important to him. The tale of Coyote tells the story of why people need to die and not live eteranally, but I think the reprecussions of being a trickster is demonstrated in this tale as well.

  24. I decided to go with option three and talk about the coyote in the native American trickster myth. In the myth god created humans and set out to make their lives easy and without pain or struggle. god fed man everyday so he would not get hungry when man got old they simply had to walk into lake and they would become young again. coyote saw how easy man had it and said he could show them something better then that. so coyote planned to a race during the race coyotes pet rattlesnake had hid in a hole in the races path. out of all the racers coyotes son was the fastest but since he was in front of all the others he was bit by the rattlesnake and died. after that coyote buried his son and told everyone that this will have to do from now on. in a way what coyote did can be considered a good thing. before life for man was easy but in now by showing them death and sickness life can no longer be easy. in a way this can be considered good because its pain and hardship that make us enjoy the good things that happen to us and not take anything for granted. perhaps coyote did have it right when he said he had something better because he created pain but pain can give birth to an even greater happiness that one might have never known without suffering

  25. It doesn’t take much searching to find a myth that includes war. In fact, just about every mythic tradition or mythic culture includes war tales. Many myth scholars would agree that myths often provide a sort of code of conduct for citizens or idealistic characters upon whom the people of the target culture would look up to, appreciate, and hopefully emulate. War is often included because of it’s persistence in the ancient and classical worlds. Way back then, there wasn’t a UN or NATO to settle international disputes. If two peoples claimed an area of land, 9/10 times they were going to war over it. Every war calls it’s share of heroes fighting for their culture, so a war story can run the gamut of purposes in one tale.

    War stories are great for myths because they do a few things. First, they can show which neighboring nation(s) to beware of, and why not to trust them. In the Case of the Aeneid, Aeneas makes it clear very early that he mistrusted the Greeks and his city got sacked because not enough people took seriously the knowledge of Ulysses’ (Odysseus’) trickery (because it was well known that he was a trickster by this point-he tried to weasel his way out of the war). Second, they feature many heroes who valiantly lead their men into battle, care for any citizens in danger or who perish, and generally don’t back down to a challenge. In the Aeneid, Aeneas leads a band of men back into the burning city to slay as many invaders as they can even though he has had a dream telling him that resistance is futile, and that he is faced with overwhelming numbers. Aeneas also very obviously languishes in the retelling of his companion’s sacrifices for their city. Lastly, these war stories carry on the culture, even though it may have been destroyed otherwise. The Aeneid is Aeneas’ account of the events at Troy and his efforts to create his own new city afterwards. Aeneas’ survival and tale ensures that the values of his people continue with him into his new city.

  26. I will be responding to the first prompt. War always seems to be in myths. It is very much related and in almost every story. War/war-making is apparent in Aeneid with Aeneus. The battle is about to begin, and Aeneus says “Men! Hearts hopelessly brave! If you have resolved to risk everything and follow me, consider what the situation is. Gone are all the gods on which our power depended. They have abandoned our temples and altars. You are bringing help to a city already in flames. Let us die and rush into the fray. The only salvation for the conquered is to expect none” He is saying here that they basically have to fight for what they believe in and to fight for what is right. The main reasons for war and battles in mythology is mainly due to characters wanting to get justice or prove their strength. And a lot of the times, it is a battle for power, authority, and justification.

  27. I am choosing the third option which is the mythical “Trickster” character. I see the Trickster as a very interesting aspect of the classic myth. It is very rare for us to see someone defy the Gods and live to tell the tale but that is what the trickster is meant to do in these stories. One of the Greek tricksters I come to recognize would be Prometheus. Prometheus possesses the gift of fire and since he betrayed Zeus by “tricking” him and the other Gods into giving the humans the best animal sacrifice they could get. In turn, Zeus took the power of fire away from the humans due to Prometheus’s actions. Then Prometheus proceeds to trick the Gods once again by stealing an ember from them to keep the humans right to fire. What I find interesting is that tricksters were created. I think they serve to prove to the mortals and the Gods that there is always a way around things. Just because everyone is scared of one force doesn’t mean that you should be. Prometheus tricks Zeus twice and although it lead to punishment for the mortals Prometheus wasn’t killed and the mortals still retained some of the power that was supposed to have been taken from them. I think the trickster character is supposed to be one who is loved and hated for tricking the Gods and also being able to trick the Gods.

  28. The Trickster archetype in my opinion is the one of the most interesting godly figures for a myriad of reasons. They are a unique existence who acts through selfish interests without seemly trying to harm others even if they are injured as the butt of their jokes. They constantly through history give off the impression they live off of whims and their own amusements. One other fact I believe is extremely important is how they outwit others in a way that truly shows their cunning. They are not the most intelligent god but they have a way of spinning others around their plans that give credence to the idea behind “Street smarts over Book smarts.” One example of such a trickster god would be the African god Legba who had a story in which he grew fed up of taking the blame for God’s orders. He decides to instead commit an act that he would then frame God for so that he would receive the ire of the people. His plan covered multiple possibilities and in the end even made God unsure of what truly happened even though he did still blame Legba. One final insight into Legba’s scheme is that even though he did it to get back at God the way he did it it maximized his own amusement from God’s plight. Again highlighting that tricksters make these elaborate plans mostly so they can get a good laugh out of it.

  29. I am going to respond to the second prompt, the mythological works of Ovid (the lover). Ovid’s letter from Penelope to Ulysses, for instance, shows Ovid’s capacity to be unique from all other mythology authors. Ovid wrote in a different style and wrote more on love than on war. In mythology, it is typically of men to go to war and leave behind women for years and years. Most of these relationships end in affairs or death. Love is a very tricky subject in mythology because most lovers end up leaving one another for someone else in these stories. If looking at the individual feelings being discussed in Ovid’s work, love would seem to be there and strong. In reality, most stories involving “love” in myth are actually about lust and sex. Most- if not all- mythological stories have sex indirectly in them. Ovid writes about Phaedra who is in love with her stepson Hippolytus. But is it really about love? I think what the real case is that Phaedra is attracted to Hippolytus simply because he is unavailable. Hippolytus has sworn to not love a woman ever and is her stepson, therefore he is completely off limits from her. This then becomes a story of lust. Phaedra can’t love Hippolytus if shes never had him. Phaedra simply wants Hippolytus because she can’t have him and this along with Hippolytus’s death, leads Phaedra to commit suicide. All in all, Ovid writes love stories that are mostly based on lust, sex, and affairs. Each story we’ve read acts as a lamentation of past relationships.

  30. The whole point to war within myth, is to show off power of those who were in power, and to prove even gods could be shown fear. Every time there is war it shows a hero being a victor. This allows their to be multiple thoughts on the same point that was made. War in myth is mostly a display of power. Power is converged into multiple groups. Most of the time gods help in the war in order to give who they think deserves the power of the gods. This usually includes the spawn of the god who is involved in the conflict. Wars give the gods a reason to intervene, because most of the time their children are involved, or the gods were angered in a way where they could not leave the humans to decide the war for themselves.

  31. The topic of war and mythology go together very often within many civilizations. War is a major part of society and in some situations those conflicts need to be explained. This has been done with stories and myth to give a better explanation for why people had to die, for and example there is the Iliad. Within the story it is love and the gods that caused the Greeks and Trojans to fight, but in reality it was most likely the fact that Troy had control of an important waterway and had a lot of wealth. The result of this war is the Aeneid, where it is said that the gods decree that it is fate that Aeneas will found Rome. Aeneas could have avoided war and still fulfilled his requirements but at the end of the Aeneid he causes the war and tries to justify it with that mythological fate.

  32. I choose the second option. Love and sex have their own little categories. In my opinion, love did not exist between the Greek Gods. There was only lust. There was however, love, between a mortal and a human. For the Gods, having sex made it possible to create other Gods for various purposes. There are, of course, a lot of stories where Gods fell in love with human beings and tried to get the humans to bend to their will. These couples. produced demigods. These couples were the causes of a couple of battles as well with the Gods. Also, from the text that we have read, it seems that the women, especially the mortal ones, hold the value of fidelity high in their eyes. Here is one example. Penelope did not take another suitor when her husband didn’t come back for years. So, love and sex have two purposes. One teaches a lesson, and one creates friction and war.

  33. For this prompt I am going to discuss option three; the mythical Trickster-figure. The trickster plays an important role in every story, most of the time their cunning, creative and tricky ways lead to ,as the prompt said, the creation of the world or the establishment of important human traditions. For example in a Native North American myth Coyote creates the worlds first lie when he says he wasn’t laughing while making the animals. In some cases the trickster of the story creates a conflict for the other characters, sometimes without them knowing about it. Coyote creates the conflict of death for the people when he deceits them and tells them that he has something to make life better than it already was for them. Coyote has them race and when his son is bitten by his pet Rattlesnake and dies, unable to be revived by the lake, he tells the people that from now on they will have to dig graves for people when they die. Coyote played an important role in Native North American myths, being the origin of death and lying.

  34. Option #1
    I chose option #1 because there are many examples of war in myths besides Aeneas. The gods on Olympus took over power in a great war against the Titans. Many famous hero’s are known for some sort of skill in battle whether it be brain or brawn, Achilles was such a great warrior he was thought to be invincible. Odysseus fought well but came up with the idea of the Trojan horse to win the war and used his wits to trick Polyphemus on his Odyssey. When Troy was under siege by the Greeks, Aeneas still fought while his city burned only to be more determined to avenge it. And before Rome even came to be, Aeneas was told of the battles that will be fought against the Greek Kings as recompense for destroying Troy. War is thought of as a place for men, men who are strong physically and mentally which almost always creates great hero’s for us to read about. Their triumphs over their enemies are hard fought and well earned of praise and those who fight the hardest are the ones that are remembered in myths.

  35. I will be writing in regards to number 3, the trickster. In the context of Aeneid, the trickster is the trojan horse, who appears and is thought of as a blessing by the characters for the most part, He turns out to be just the opposite. I think this is so important to the context in that Virgil lived through the era of Augustus Caesar. This immediately made me think that this role of deception played by the trojan in Aeneid is supposed to be some form of reference to Caesar and his conquests. He at first was seen as this noble leader, who preached that he had no desire to take on a monarch position, but instead uphold the democracy of his people. This blessing of sorts was a blatant deception as Caesar famously went on to be a vicious tyrant. A deceptive blessing turning into a curse. Sounds familiar to the plot of the trojan horse in Aeneid. I think this is so important because it illustrates the fear the people of this time had of being deceived into maybe believing the wrong things or following the wrong people. That is why the trickster character is such a motif in the myths of this time.

  36. 1.) Using the Aeneid as a test case, offer some thoughts about the meaning and significance of war in the world of myth.

    In the times of these ancient civilizations, power was everything. There was constant war involving all these countries, and they made it present in their myths as well. They used these myths to tell great stories about past wars and to teach lessons. War was often added in these myths because it showed the power of the gods over the people, or people over people in some cases. Many myths that are to show praise to Ares involve war as he is the god of war. These myths show his greatness and wittiness on the battle field. In the Aeneid, it takes place after all the destruction of the Trojan war and shows the movement of the remaining Trojans to Italy. Aeneas, is to lead the rest of the Trojans and does so even after Troy has fallen. War is significant in these stories because it shows the trails and tribulations of man through these tough times. And a lot of myths were based off of events that might have occurred, so it’s a way of projecting these stories on a wider, more understandable scale.

  37. I’ve decided to go with option three and discuss the “trickster” character role in mythology. The trickster often acts as a figure who uses his wittiness and “street smarts” to deceive other characters. The trickster I’m going to talk about is Coyote, from Native American mythology. An instance in which Coyote plays the “trickster” role, is when Coyote faces the Monster. The monster picked up on the fact the Coyote was clever, so the Monster tried to befriend the Coyote so he could develop a trusted relationship until he felt that he could kill Coyote. After the Monster asked Coyote to go to his home, Coyote said he would after he could go inside the Monsters stomach to see his friends(whom the monster had eaten). The Monster then mistakenly agreed, as Coyote lit his insides on fire and freed all of his friends. Coyote outsmarted the Monster and deceived him into letting Coyote into his stomach. In the grand scheme of things, Coyote is looked upon as a trickster, and a creator in Native American Mythology.

  38. I choose option three and will focus on the trickster Legba. Legba did everything right in the eyes of God. Whether is was good or harmful, he would follow through every order from God. To man, he was nothing but trouble and would blame him for everything that went wrong. This was due to the fact that God took credit for Legba’s good deeds only. Legba decides to deceive God and turn His people against Him because he tired of being hated. He ends up watching over man and reporting what occurred on earth to God who decided to stay in the sky as a result of Legba’s trickery. In the other tale of Legba, isn’t satisfied again and doesn’t want to be reprimanded for his mischief. He succeeds in tricking God and gets to stay on earth again as God is pushed away. The purpose of this tale is to show that men are greedy and long for more. They want power and would rather rely on their own knowledge than God. It also reveals how being the center of all the praise can get to your head. The lesson from Legba is that you should “leave your father’s home” and have a mind of your own. Also you won’t always get to shine when you do a good deed.

  39. I have decided to discuss question three about the importance of “Tricksters” in myth, but specifically talking about the Mesopotamian “Trickster, Enki. Now Enki was a Sumerian god, king of the Earth and was also closely associated with irrigation. In this myth, Enki is challenged by a goddess Ninmah. She is to create new humans with defects and Enki was to give them the ability to do something productive with their lives that skirt around those said defects, like giving a blind man an ability to sing. Then the god and and goddess decided to switch positions, where Enki now creates the defected humans and Ninmah is to provide those with gifts. But Enki out smarts Ninmah, by creating an umul, a human that cannot walk, talk or feed itself. Ninmah gave up in defeat and Enki wins this contest, thusly creating the first infant. What is so important about Enki being a clever “trickster” is that his sly challange match with Ninmah ended up being an creation myth important to the Mesopotamian culture. I believe that Enki sets up a complex act to follow for all the following “tricksters” in myth. Enki ends up creating something so beautiful and fragile by a complete accident in order to win a contest with a fellow deity. It is his pure cleverness to outsmart Ninmah that helps him out in the end.

  40. The trickster character in most works of myth and fiction is typically produced in order to introduce the concept of a character that likes to see how far he can break the rules that others must follow. This character is usually associated with a sense of comic relief in the given narrative, and is also referred to as the prankster, with his antics usually having no great effect aside from a few angry people. The trickster is meant to show a more lighthearted side of human existence, where even in today’s day and age, shows like “Punked” exist as a kind of homage to our seemingly immature need to get an extreme reaction out of people for the sake of our own entertainment and bliss.

  41. For my post I have decided to respond to the third prompt. In almost every story you can find a trickster or a person who does bad things for a good cause. In Greek culture the main trickster was Hermes and it didn’t take him very long to commit his first prank/crime. Hermes was such a born trickster that not long after he was born he stole cattle from his brother and hid them. But when he did such things it was not only for his benefit. Hermes was a god who helped create things that were very popular to the Greeks of the time. One of the things he created was the lyre from a turtle shell and also wicker sandals. Tricksters are always important to have in stories because without them the story would be very boring. What good is a hero if there is no one to match wits or brawn with.

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