(Thamires)Stories of Love, Adventure, and Great Heroes
All the love tales from this weekâ€™s reading have different plots. Pyramus and Thisbe live an impossible love, and the thought of leaving without one another brings them to die. Alcyone is devastated after finding out about her husbandâ€™s death and declares that she will die soon as well, and in the end, she becomes a bird. Cupid and Psyche have a complex story, but they can overcome all the challenges in their story, and in the future, Psyche receives immortality and can live with her love forever.
Apart from all the distinguish stories, all the myths reveal how powerful love can be and how it can overcome any situation, even when it seems impossible. For example, in the tale of Pygmalion and Galatea, he is described as a â€œwomen-hater.â€ He creates â€œa perfect woman [to show men] the deficiencies of the kind they had to put up withâ€ (Hamilton 147). Pygmalion falls in love with the statue and suffers when his lover cannot correspond. â€œHe loved a lifeless thing, and he was utterly and hopelessly wretchedâ€ (Hamilton 149). However, he prays to Venus and asks to find a woman like his statue. In return, Venus turns the statute into a real woman, and Pygmalion can live with the perfect woman he created, who he names Galatea.
Love can even overtake the hate of gods and make them lose their authority position. Venus does not like Psyche after what she does to Venusâ€™s son, Cupid. â€œVenus was determined to show Psyche what it meant to draw down the displeasure of goddessâ€ (Hamilton 128). Still, at the end of the myth, Jupiter gives Psyche ambrosia which makes her immortal, and Venus can no longer object to Psyche.
The people acclaim the heroes of Greek and Romain myths. The heroes are fearless, brave, and face any challenge. Theseus shows how generosity to the people when he kills all the bandits he finds on a journey and â€œ[leaves] not one alive to trouble future travelersâ€ (Hamilton 209). He also resigns his power and builds a council hall, giving all citizens of Athens the right to vote.
Hercules, who considers himself â€œon an equality with the godsâ€ (Hamilton 225), is described as a hero who does not possess intellectual solid but strong emotions. Hercules has all the characteristics to be the perfect hero, but â€œif only he had had some greatness of mind as well, at least enough to lead him along the ways of reason, he would have been the perfect heroâ€ (Hamilton 227). Hercules considers himself as good as a god, but he cannot still be called a perfect hero.
The people show a lot of commotion to the heroes. After doing horrible things like killing his wife and son, people still consider Hercules, a hero and claim he was out of his mind. Nevertheless, heroines do not hold the same appreciation as heroes. Atalanta was denied by her father, who wanted a boy. Later, she helps with the killing of a boar and is prized the animalâ€™s skin. However, many do not approve that the prize goes to a girl. Even after proving her strength and bravery, â€œher father apparently being reconciled to having a daughter who really seemed almost if not quite as good as a sonâ€ (Hamilton 249). Atalantaâ€™s father still seems to wish he had a son instead.
Based on all the challenges the heroes face, they are all very heroic. Although comparing the myth of heroes and heroines, heroes seem more heroic than heroines even though they all show outstanding braveness. The gender difference is clearly noted in those myths, and it makes me wonder if the people would have the compassion they had for Hercules if, instead, Atalanta was the one who killed her husband and son. Based on what I have read, I guess that Atalanta would be punished and not be considered heroin any longer.
Hamilton, Edith.Â Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. Grand Central Publishing, 2011.
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