Violence, War, and Peace in Greek Mythology

On our very first day of class, I mentioned that for many people, when they hear the term “myth” they immediately think about Greek myths, and the gods and goddesses of Athens.  They may not immediately think of Homer’s ‘Odyssey,’ but without a doubt, it is one of the most important, most influential mythological works ever written. Though it is understood as a sweeping myth, Homer’s masterpiece is also fascinating as a kind of political document, a manifesto about war and peace, imperialism, violence, hatred, and so on. And that fact has inspired the prompt for your third Blogpost of the semester.  This will be a two-part response, as articulated below:

1) The infamous “clash of the titans” is one of the earliest stories that we have from the world of Greek myth. Thinking back to our class from last Wednesday, I want you to explore a specific story from early Greek myth as a kind of political document, a creative act that negotiates the day’s crises of power and authority.  How is war and violence manifest in this story, and what does it teach us about such violence, the people who enact violence, and, perhaps, about the Greek culture itself? 

2)  In the second part, I want you to build on this thinking by examining something related to war and peace as depicted by Homer in the ‘Odyssey.’ Homer himself apparently endured considerable civil strife and warfare in his lifetime, and it is only natural that he uses the words of his characters to comment on the violence and power-struggles that surrounded him.  Hence, in this section I want you to address a particular war-oriented theme – such as violence, hatred, justice, mercy, authority, surrender, and negotiation – and examine that theme as presented in a particular passage from the ‘Odyssey.’  Pick a quotation or two from the text and then discuss it in terms of its political content.  In your discussion you should identify the central issue of your chosen lines, and detail the challenges, views, and logic of characters concerning the subject; then, you must offer some thoughts on what YOU think about the topic within the context of the story (if not the culture of Greece more generally). 

19 thoughts on “Violence, War, and Peace in Greek Mythology

  1. In the story “The Dethronement of Cronus” by Robert Grave, there is much violence going on between the gods. A war is started because Zeus wants power over his father, Cronus. This war goes on for ten years before ending by Mother Earth. The violence in the story teaches us that Greeks thought violence was acceptable when fighting for power. The violence was seen as okay to the people because they heard stories about how the gods would often go to war. This affects the Greek culture because when city-states wanted power, they would often go to war to gain this power.
    A common theme in Homer’s “Odyssey” was mercy. Odysseus must show mercy to Poseidon to get him to stop tormenting him. Tiresias tells him “Halt, and implant your smooth oar in the turf and make fair sacrifice to Lord Poseidon: a ram, a bull, a great buck boar; turn back, and carry out pure hekatombs at home to all wide heaven’s lords, the undying gods, to each other” (Homer, lines 107-113). Poseidon starts a war with Odysseus because Odysseus stabbed his son in the eye when trying to escape. Now to get home, he must show mercy to Poseidon. It was common in ancient Greek myths for people to show mercy to the gods so they would stop tormenting them. I personally see this as a problem because the gods only wanted mercy because they wanted to feel powerful. A god should want to help the people for the sake of the people, not because they want to gain power.

  2. The story of Prometheus gives modern day readers an idea of biases and favor in ancient Greek culture. Prometheus earns Zeus’ favor by not joining the Titans in their war against the Olympians. Prometheus is then put to work to create all life on earth, he saves humans for last because he wants to make them the greatest, but when be gets to them, he realizes he has given away all the abilities. So Prometheus shows Athena his creation, which she blesses with the gift of sacred fire. With fire, mankind becomes the dominating species. Zeus demands tribute from mankind, but Prometheus teaches the humans how to decieve Zeus. When Zeus finds out he has been tricked, he punishes mankind by taking the fire, which the titan Prometheus then steals back for mankind. Zeus sentences Prometheus to eternal imprisonment and torture, and it turns out that Zeus isn’t the good guy everyone thinks he is. This story shows how Greeks saw their authority as a force to be feared and respected like the king of gods Zeus.

    2) The theme of negotiation comes to mind when reading about Penelope’s deception of the suitors. Penelope promises to marry again after Oysseus does not return from war when it ends, however she asks the suitors to wait for her to finish weaving a cloak for the hero and king Laertes. Out of respect for the dying man, the suitors agree. They are under the impression that Penelope is doing a favor for a dying man when she tells them “It is a shroud I weave for Lord Laertes, when cold death comes to lay him on his bier. The country wives would hold me in dishonor if he, in all his fortune lay unshrouded.”. Laertes is Odysseus’ father, and Penelope implies to the suitors that this would be her last action in the honor of her relationship with Odysseus. It is a political move to secure Odysseus’ and her own position of power though, over their kingdom, denying the suitors the chance at greater political power in Greece.

  3. 1) In the story I read “The Gods of the Underworld” it was explained how there were three parts to the underworld: Asphodel Fields/Meadows, Elysium, and Tartarus. The Asphodel Fields were a place for people that didn’t do anything too bad but nothing too good either. Elysium was a place meant for those that were virtuous, typically great heroes lay here, it was supposed to be a happy place. Tartarus was an evil place meant for the bad people. This reveals to us that in Greek culture how someone acted and lived truly does matter. In modern tellings of these Greek myths, like the Disney production of Hercules, it is depicted that the underworld is meant for everyone regardless of what they did during their time alive.

    2) In Book 10 we read: “Circe gives Odysseus a magic drink, but it does not affect him and he threatens to kill her with his sword. Circe turns the pigs back into men but puts them all into a trance. They stay for one year, until Odysseus finally begs her to let them go home. She replies that they must first visit the land of the dead and hear a prophecy from the ghost Tiresias.” This quote contributes to the war-oriented theme of justice. When Eurylochus tells Odysseus about his men turning into swines, he knows they deserve justice and to be saved – he can’t just leave them behind and run because he knows that is not the right thing to do. Odysseus has a role to fulfill as their captain, leader, and king – how could he set a good example if he just leaves his men to suffer with no attempt at rescue. His power in his authority shows when he threatens Circe and she listens to him. I think it is very admirable how Odysseus went back for his men because other captains would have left with those still able. Odysseus stood his ground and didn’t want to leave any man behind, not only is it admirable but I also think it shows how much of a natural hero he is. A hero stands for justice even though it is hard, Odysseus does exactly this: after getting Circe to turn his men back to human she still kept them captive for about a year and Odysseus follows Circe’s orders so he can get his men back home.

  4. 1) In the Dethronement of Cronus, Zeus was the only child of Cronus and Rhea who was not eaten by his father. After Zeus grew up, he decided to seek vengeance against Cronus for eating his siblings. His mother Rhea decided to assist him in mixing a potion that would make Cronus vomit up his children. All of them came out, safe, and ready to fight their father. Zeus went to Tartarus and freed the prisoners which his father had kept there, and rallied them up to fight with him and his siblings against Cronus. For about 10 years, Zeus, his siblings, and the freed prisoners battled against Cronus and the rest of the titans. Eventually they were defeated and exiled to a faraway island. In this tale, war manifests in a traditional, physical fight between two opposing sides (the Titans and the Olympians). We are taught that this physical fighting style is used in pretty much every battle; unless, it is only two vs. two. We can learn that the Greek culture, especially the culture surrounding the Gods, is very family oriented (within the hierarchy, of course). Zeus, the one who initiated the violence, fought for the purpose of seeking revenge for his siblings.

    2) In Book #21 of The Odyssey, the test of the bow takes place. With the amount of suitors outside Penelope’s home for so long, she decided that she needed to at least try a choosing process. So, anyone who was able to successfully aim and shoot a target with Odysseus’ bow, would be able to marry her. She did this even though she knew it would be impossible. Eventually, Odysseus, in disguise, came back and asked the suitors to let him try. He successfully shoots the bow, shocking all of the suitors. This continues onto Book 22, where Odysseus and Telemachus fight and kill all of the remaining suitors. Overall, these two books show the overarching themes of violence and triumph. “While he had arrows / he aimed and shot, and every shot brought down / one of his huddling enemies.” Lines 118-120 represent that victorious moment in which Odysseus kills off the men who were pining after his wife and reveals to her, his return home. In this case, it makes sense that a man would want to kill the hundreds of men trying to get with his wife. I would be mad too.

  5. Many Greek myths use war and violence like “The Odyssey”. One thing to point out though is that war and violence isn’t always shown through fighting. One classic Greek myth that most people know is Pandora’s box. The gods made Pandora out of clay and trained her to be human. They then gave her a gift and said not to open it to increase her curiosity. The purpose of her existence was revenge from the gods to us humans because we didn’t obey them. When Pandora’s curiosity got the best of her, she opened it. The box released struggles like poverty, death, pain, war, and even disease. This would heavily impact people physically and mentally. This story teaches us that violence in Greek myths always has a purpose. The purpose in Pandora’s box was to make humans obey their rules and for the gods to reclaim their power. There are many purposes of violence in the Odyssey as well. One purpose was because of human ignorance. After escaping the cyclops, Odysseus had mocked him and started yelling at him and revealed his identity. Even though his crew urged him to be silent, Odysseus still carried on with the mocking. After that the cyclops father, Poseidon, was called upon. The son had made a wish that Odysseus would make it home after years of turmoil, and he would be left without a crew, and return home to a city in disaster. In both Greek myths, the gods were punishing humans for their ignorance. In general it shows that usually the Greek culture sends out violence, but only for rehabilitation and to teach mortals a lesson due to ignorance, and disobedience. This can through physical violence, but also violence that impacts people mentally.

    The war oriented theme that I chose was hatred. The cyclops father is Poseidon, god of the sea. Odyseus shouted to the cyclops saying ,”(Pg.1222) If I could take your life I would and take your time away, and hurl you down to hell ! The god of earthquake could not heal you there,” as he escapes. His crew tried to stop him, but his arrogance got in the way. This leaves the cyclops feeling hatred towards Odysseus, and he starts to pray to his father and says, “ Should destiny intend that he shall see his roof again among his family in his father land, far be that day, and dark the years between. Let him lose all companions, and return under a strange sail to bitter days at home.” (Pg. 1223) This basically foreshadows the rest of the story. In the end Odysseus ends up home, but without crew and to a city of chaos because of the suitors. I think that the cyclop’s hatred is valid. Throughout the story we see Odysseus always going to save his crew even though he is told otherwise. He doesn’t listen to people’s advice which leads him into more and more trouble. Odysseus has to use the sea to get home because he travels by ship, I would personally if I was him not to mess with the cyclops and just leave because of the power he holds. You never know someone’s power or lack thereof so when he exposed who he was and mocked the cyclops he made a big mistake. Granted he didn’t know the power of the cyclops, the crew still warned him. This could mean the crew knew the power the cyclops had in advance.

  6. 1) For this assignment I’m going to focus on the birth of Aphrodite. In this specific story Aphrodite was born from a power crisis. Before she was even “born” people were fighting all around her. From this violence she arose from the foam in the sea. All of this violence was coming from wanting power and authority. Cronus wanted power and fought with Uranus for it. This lead to him throwing his fathers testicles into the sea. From this Aphrodite appeared, the goddess of beauty and love. This teaches us in this day and age, violence was the answer to their problems. That solved them, and the violence gave you power when used correctly. In Greek culture, this allows us to see how they solve their problems. Instead of like talking it out how we would now, they used power and violence to do so.
    2) I think a common theme in the Odyssey is violence. I feel like this can be seen in almost if not all of the excerpts we read. One example being in book nine it states, “straight forward they sprinted, lifted it, and rammed it deep in his crater eye, and I leaned on it turning it as a shipwright turns a drill in planking…”( line 291-291, page 1219). This is explaining when they stabbed the cyclops in the eye, and blinded him. This is one of the many acts of violence in the Odyssey. The main issue with this plan of attack is that there could have been an easier way to solve this. Maybe like explaining what their goal was, and maybe the cyclops could have helped. Also Odysseus could have not told him his name. this lead to more violence down the road. He later will have to deal with Poseidon and make a sacrifice to him, because of the things he did to Polyphemus. That being said, that’s why i think of violence when I think of or read the Odyssey.

  7. 1.) The birth of Aphrodite is a prime example of the ongoing power crisis that is a common theme in greek mythology. Dealing with two powerful Gods, Cronus the god of time and king of the titans and Uranus the god of the sky. The two of them battled off resulting in Cronus cutting off the genitals of Uranus and throwing it into the ocean which then birthed Aphrodite. For greek mythology violence was not a rare thing to see it as it was it almost in every store and or birth. Violence to them is how they would go about their problems, gain power, and find love. To the Greeks that was their solution to everything and in most cases it did more damage than good.
    2.)The story of the cyclops is the best example of the odyssey showing the theme of violence. Not only does it show it with the Cyclops but it also foreshadows the violence and war that odysseus will have with Poseidon later on. One way we saw violence in the book is when the cyclops brutally eats a few of the men that came along on the journey.another way is the when odysseus throws a spear into the eye of the cyclops blinding him which led to the escape. However the violence that Odysseus takes part in is not hateful violence rather it is his only way of him and his men escaping the cyclops and making it out alive. From here the theme of violence changes to hatred from Poseidon who will curse their travel back home.

  8. In the short story The Five Ages of Man it can be viewed as political with the different groups of men. They were categorized and divided, they only ate certain things based on their category. Violence is seen as a way to take care of problems, such as when Zeus just wiped out the silver race when they never made sacrifices for the gods. Those who hold power seem to preform the violent acts on those less than them. These myths can give insight on how greek culture was, violence seems to play a big role in forming the greeks society. Violence is used as a way to claim power over others, and show dominance between groups or between people.

    The war-oriented theme I am picking for the Odyssey is negotiation. In the passages negotiation is seen in a different context, not the typical negotiation you think of when it comes to war. In book 9 when meeting the cyclops they use negotiation tactics to get the cyclops to drink so they can get home. “Here’s liquor to wash down your scraps of men. Taste it and see the kind of drink we carried under our planks. I meant it for an offering if you would help us home.” These tactics they used enabled them too blind the cyclops and get off the island. Some when viewing the text could see this as them taking advantage of the cyclops and unnecessary. I think their negotiation tactics were smart. In book 10 Odysseus uses negotiation tactics with Circe after she turns his men into pigs. In order to get home “She replies that they must first visit the land of the dead and hear a prophecy from the ghost of Tiresias.” This was a typical negotiation used to get home but give something in return. The logic behind this decision was with good intentions as Odysseus was just trying to find a compromise to get home. I think these examples show the culture of Greece and how in order to get something you need to have something to offer in return. Whether it be gifts, giving time for someone, or a simple compromise.

  9. 1.) In the Fall of Achilles it teaches us about the tragedies of the Trojan War and the great war heroes who fought in it. Achilles was a general in the Army and commanded many men. As a piece of politics you see the great horror and tragedy of the people who died in the war. Achilles was also considered a great king and without him the people greatly mourn him. The story shows how the people honor him after his death and what they do after the death of a great leader. This teaches us that the violence through the war eventually caught up to Achilles and also came to punish him in then. The Greek culture is clearly centered to honor those who fight and die in the line of duty. Very similar to American culture where we remember and honor those who protect our country. They also in Greek culture care a lot and honor those who fight for them.
    2.) In the Odyssey the main character goes through many trials and sees lots of violence and war. In fact he spends 20 years of endless battles and war trying to get back to his family. You can see how it takes a toll on not only him but also his family who is waiting for him to get back. Odysseus sees a great amount of violence but is also the cause of said violence. Although he spends time paying for his consequences of enacting such violence he continues to act in the same manner with no regard for life. Odysseus is even berated for his actions at one point, “Must you have battle in your heart forever? The bloody toil of combat forever?”. This quote goes to show that although he is regarded as a great war hero he is also seen in a light of thinking only about blood. In Ancient Greece it was a lot of war and toil that Homer must have seen. He could be making comment on how these great generals are only about trampling over others and conquering the most kingdoms. They had no regard for the people living there that were innocent. In the same way that Odysseus did not care for those who were innocent, Homer saw the same things through what he lived in Ancient Greece.

  10. One of the stories I would like to start with would be Cronos eating his kids. He chose violence to assert dominance and gain power. You could compare Cronos to almost if not all dictators that history has seen. The fight for power and dominance knows no bounds and the struggle for the rest is overbearing. It teaches us to not only not eat our kids, but to look out for imbalances of power and be okay with power coming and going. If Cronos were a human I would probably call him a narcissist.

    170-180 Is my quotation. This quotation talks about how the cyclops do not care for Zeus and it reminds me of those who do not care for government but create chaos and use lawlessness as their guiding principle. Obviously he has a hatred for Zeus, but he also choses violence at all times when it comes to these men. His guiding principle is based on no mercy as well. Odysseus was not able to negotiate, either. The logic for the hatred is not there, unless there is something missing that I am unaware of. If we had more insight on backstories involving Polyphemus, maybe there is a rationality that we are not privy to as an audience, who knows. That aside, I don’t believe there is logic or rational thinking behind his emotions.

  11. The story that comes to mind for me would have to be the story of Cronos. If you pay attention to his story, it is plain to see that he requires power and control. The main thing he wants is actually a political statement- though it is not plain to see, if you dig a little bit, you can tell that Cronos is an imperialistic dictator that has power and control issues. He wants to maintain his power any way he can, thus, eating his kids was the best option he could think of. Violence is the first thing that comes to mind in this story, and it is clear to see why. I believe that if Cronos were alive I would probably call him a narcissist.

    My quotation is line 170-180. This quotation is in the chapter about Polyphemus and his little spurt of violence. It is interesting the way he chose violence every single time and how he never left room for any kindness. His first resort was straight away violence. I would also like to point out the disdain he shows for Zeus (rightfully so), which I believe is a political statement. Zeus is often seen as the god of the gods, but for what? He did defeat his father, but only because he was given the chance due to him being able to grow up past being a baby. Maybe Polyphemus believes his father Poseidon could’ve been the ruler of Olympus? Maybe he believes Zeus is a tragically bad ruler who isn’t as powerful as his Dad. Who knows.

  12. 1) I read Medusa’s story, I thought that this story was particularly driven by violence. Not only the curse Athena puts on her but the harm caused by Poseidon. The story I believe about Medusa is that she was assaulted by Poseidon in Athena’s home. However Athena doesn’t believe that, she blames Medusa saying she seduces him and brings impurity to her sanctuary, and proceeds to curse her. Violence is manifested by the harm that the gods enacted on each other, it teaches us that often we tend to blame those who have been hurt simply because in society being assaulted means you did something to cause it (which is not at all the truth). I think that the violence in this myth is more heartbreaking than anything, seeing Athena hurt Medusa and Medusa having to suffer for the rest of her life although she was a victim of assault is sad. I think this teaches us that in Greek culture all these gods and goddesses cursed each other, caused war and violence if something did not go their way. They had very specific views of life and the way things should be and shouldn’t;t be, so they create all this violence although they’re supposed to be “good” it’s just another reinforcement that they really aren’t perfect.
    2) “Must have you battle in your heart forever?” “Will you not yield to the immortal gods?” I picked this quote because it kind of ties in with my previous answer, all these myths tend to take the road of being about war and violence and fighting people off who have been cursed for their mistakes. The gods have this power over all these stories, and while they are the ones who will save you they are also the ones who got you in trouble because they were upset in the first place. Circe is warning Odysseus about these terrible creatures, and he is ready to fight but she asks him if he must always solve everything with battle. I think this line is important because it shows how much battle there has been and will continue to be, but it also gives him another option that is kind of saying you are human and you must be better. The central issue is the violence created by the gods and the creatures in this particular scene, it ties back to the Cyclops and Poseidon and the curse he has put on him. I think that this just shows how much power the gods have, and how they’re the ones who will decide their fate and drive them to be violent.

  13. 1) One of the most popular Greek myths known to man is the Trojan war. This myth shows lots of violence and a fight for power between the two opposing sides. The Trojan war was started because the prince of Troy named Paris had made a deal with Aphrodite the goddess of love. That deal was, if he was to Aphrodite out of the three goddesses then she would gift Troy the most beautiful girl on the world. That girl was named Helen, but Helen already had a husband named Menelaus and he did not like what was going between Paris and Helen. So him and his brother Agamemnon created a large army and waged war on Troy. The war lasted 10 years. The reasoning behind the war is silly to be quite honest. It was started because the goddess Aphrodite wanted to be picked best goddess out of three goddesses, so she bribed Paris with a girl who was already married. If it wasn’t for Aphrodite being selfish the war on Troy would of never occurred. This theme of Greek Gods being selfish and in turn causing major problems because of it is an overlapping theme shown throughout early greek mythology.

    2) A big theme in the ‘ Odyssey‘ is Authority. An example of that would be Zeus. In this epic the hero Odysseus was trapped on an island owned by the goddess names Calypso for 7 years and needed to find his way back to his home Ithaca. So in order to help out Odysseus, Zeus uses his authority to send the god Hermès to the island. When he arrives he tells Calypso that Zeus request that she frees Odysseus, and she does. In the text it states, “ having giving heed to Zeus’s mandate, went to find Odysseus”. This quote shows that Calypso did not hesitate to followed orders from Zeus showing the true authority he had. I personally think that the this theme/concept of authority is essential in greek myths in order for certain this to fall in place for the plot and because it gives character more power which is needed sometimes for certain characters.

  14. 1) While it does not technically qualify as one story, the Amazons are included in a variety of ancient Greek Myths. As daughters of Ares, the god of war, who worship Artemis, goddess of the hunt, they were well known for their proficiency in riding and fighting. The Amazons appear in a lot of Greek myths often as a part of a major battle or as an obstacle on a protagonist’s journey. During the Trojan War, after Hector’s death, part of the Amazon force aided to put more pressure on the Greeks until Achilles returned and the Greeks won the battle. Although in most cases the Amazons are depicted in violent situations, they are not an inherently violent people. They live mostly isolated and tend to be sought out by various heros on their missions. As a group of women who, for the most part, detest men, it is interesting for history to show them so well-versed in warfare and independently powerful. A large group of men who are regularly confronted in battle would just be called an army, however that is not the case with the Amazons. They are trained warriors and fighters, but are rarely specified as being a part of an army. In the case of the Amazons, violence is typically sought out by an opposing party and they are forced to respond, they are considered a challenge more so than a people.

    2) “how sound that was! Yet I refused. I wished to see the caveman,” (130)
    “Then he dismembered them and made his meal,” (195)
    “And now I pondered how to hurt him worst,” (222)
    “Cyclops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye:” (416)
    During Odysseus’s entire interaction with Polyphemus, his blatant arrogance and need to show authority resulted in excessive violence. By continuously baiting the Cyclops, even when his men told him he shouldn’t, Odysseus ended up losing a lot of his group. Polyphemus, now angry and insulted, initiated the physical violence putting everyone in Odysseus’s party at risk. Odysseus himself participated in the excessive and needless violence when he blinded Polyphemus once again bragging about his physical and intellectual superiority. The risks of Odysseus’s arrogance clearly did not outweigh the reward by the end of the story as the sheer size of his party was one of his great advantages. It also resulted in a slew of misfortune as he seriously offended Polyphemus and Poseidon as a result.

  15. One of the perfect examples of war and violence would be The Oresteia. This myth is a 3-part story with a central theme of vengeance, The king Agamemnon returns from the Trojan War only to be killed by his wife for allowing his daughter to be sacrificed for the sake of winning the war. Then, to exemplify the revenge plot, the surviving son of the king kills his mother to avenge his father. I think this myth tells quite a bit about the Greeks’ sense of morality, as well as how they are extremely fixated on the violence for revenge.

    “Telemachus lets Odysseus know that they face more than 100 suitors. Odysseus tells Telemachus to return home. He will follow still disguised as an old man- and Telemachus must pretend not to know him. He must also lock away Odysseus’ weapons and armor.”(Homer, Book 16). In this quote we learn of the plot of Odysseus and his son, Telemachus, to return home and kill all the suitors who have been trying to make advances on Odysseus’ wife and home. The central themes of the quote could be justice as well as violence. Odysseus and Telemachus kill all the men who entered Odysseus’ home, which would be a very violent action as well as a justified one. To kill the men who entered his home, eating his cattle, and have been making advances on his wife in a sense could be justified in this period. Where he brings justice and order to his home to finally reunite with his family after being gone for 20 years.

  16. 1). The story of Zeus and Métis is one rooted in greed, paranoia, and obsession of power. In one of the versions, Métis is the first wife of Zeus after his defeat over his father Cronus and the Titans. She successfully escaped Zeus’ lust multiple times until she was finally caught and impregnated. An oracle of Gaia proclaimed that if Métis were to ever give birth to a son then he would be the one to overthrow Zeus, as he did his father, and his father to his grandfather. Refusing to continue the cycle, Zeus swallowed Métis whole. In some variations, he coaxes her to turn into a fly, and then swallows her. This story teaches us how someone would rather keep all the power they have over a loved one. And how that love instantly goes away should the power be threatened. Métis’ death is violent in the way where she is betrayed by her husband, and he is without remorse.

    2). Hatred plays a large part in “The Odyssey”. Some of the most dangerous forces that come after the protagonist is due to the hatred one has for he and his crew. Hatred fuels many of these characters. The hatred of being away from his wife and son for twenty years fuels Odysseus to get home by whatever means. And the hatred Polyphemus has for Odysseus and his crew for stabbing his eye fuels him to pray to his father Poseidon to sabotage their journey back home, “…Let him lose all companions, and return under strange sail to bitter days at home” (450-452). Polyphemus’ hatred and anger is completely understandable, as they invaded his home, got him drunk, and blinded him all out of childish curiosity. I also understand Polyphemus’ hatred, and if I were to be in his position, I’d be outraged as well.

  17. I chose the story of Lamia, who was the daughter of Poseidon. She was one of Zeus’s many mistresses. She was given the power, from Zeus, to pluck her eyeballs out and replace them at her own will. She bore Zeus several children but Hera killed all of them but one. This caused Lamia to take revenge and ended up killing the children of others. Violence is pretty much the whole reason for this story. Hera, who was extremely jealous of all her husband’s mistresses, began taking it out on the children that Zeus made with these other women. This teaches us that Hera was someone who beat around the bush in these instances. She took things out on the wrong people when in the first place things should have been fixed with her husband. It shows us that Hera, the person who participated in this violence was doing it to the wrong person. Her doing this sent Lamia on a spiral of killing the children to replace her own. In all, everything could have been prevented. This also may show that in Greek culture that men were seen to do no wrong and that it was the woman’s fault. Zeus was all-powerful and was allowed to sleep around while his wife chased everyone who he slept with because ‘it was their fault, not Zeus’’.

    In the Odyssey there are many war themes but, personally, the theme of authority and violence work hand and hand. For example, when Odysseus landed on the island near the cyclops, he wanted to see if they were Friend or Foe. He soon found out that these cyclops were not friendly and they were extremely violent. They snuck into a cyclops’ home and had the opportunity to leave yet, Odysseus used his authority poorly and decided to stay to see the beast. Eventually, it did come home and Odysseus and his crew were discovered. He talked to them and when they had different beliefs he, “…in one stride he clutched at my companions and caught two in his hands like squirming puppies to beat their brains out, splattering on the floor…and made his meal,”(book 9). For the rest of their time in the cave, he kept eating the crewmate leaving the rest of them in fear of being the cyclops’ next victim. They were tortured and killed violently two at a time. The cyclops barely even knew the people who were in his cave and chose violence and decided to eat them. He also, being the biggest one in the cave, felt the need to show his authority this way. In the end, Odysseus and his crew, what was left of them, fled by stabbing the eye out of the cyclops and waiting for him to open the door. Again, it was the showing of violence and a battle between the humans and the cyclops. Their battle was to stay alive while the cyclops did it just because. He could have easily gone out or even eaten some of his herd. Personally, although it did include violence and many other war themes, I feel as though this was a vital thing that he needed to do to save everyone. But, he got extremely cocky and told the cyclops his real name when he left the island. This was where the downfall began for Odysseus and where he showed his authority as well because it put everyone on board the ship in danger as well.

  18. In “The Castration of Uranus” Uranus holded the the power of authority. He threw his sons the Cyclops, down to the underworld. In return mother earth persuaded his own son, Cronus to plot against his father. Later castrating him. This same scenario manifests itself with Cronus in “The Dethronement Of Cronus.” Cronus feared a prophecy that stated one of his own sons would dethrone him. Because of this he ate every kid born but Rhea let one survive and persuaded him into attacking his father just like what happened with Uranus. Both stories teaches us that violence is never the answer when embodying selfishness. Violence was the key to Uranus and Cronus downfall. This might give a sense of morality in greek culture.

    Book #21 and #22 in the “Odyssey” by Homer has a central them of violence and authority. Penelope tells the suitors that she will marry one of them if they could shoot Odysseus’ bow. Although nobody was able to, Odysseus comes in disguise and shoots the arrow himself. He later uses violence to kill every suitor that tried to get at his wife and presumes authority. In Book 22, it states “every shot brought down one of his huddling enemies.” This quote shows the violence Odysseus brought upon the suitors. I believe that the theme of Violence throughout greek myths is the key to attaining authority.

  19. In the Clash of the Titans, the older gods ruled the earth before the Olympians basically overthrew them. Cronos was the ruler of the Titans, who was then overthrown by his son Zeus. The story of how Zeus overthrew his father was very interesting & I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard anything like it. Cronos’ wife, Rhea, got pregnant & unlike other father, Cronos decided to eat his kids. He was so afraid of the fact that his kids could possibly overthrow him so he ate them. But, Rhea secretly had one child, his name was Zeus. She sent him away & when he got older & when he came back, that’s when he overthrew his father. As Zeus became the new leader, he wasn’t as power-hungry as his father so he decided to bring his siblings back out of his fathers stomach.
    This is an act of peace & war because in the beginning, Cronos was causing all types of destruction & he’d belittle any & everyone who felt like they could stand a chance against him. The lines I’d use to support this claim are from Book 9, lines 178-182. This part of the text explains that the cyclopes attitudes toward the gods are very negative. They don’t think the gods are stronger than them & they’re not afraid of them.

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