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Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King Essay

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Hubris in Greek Mythology Braden Ruddy

The idea of hubris is monumental in a plethora of Greek mythological works. In many ways the excessive pride of certain characters fuels their own destruction. This is certainly true with respect to the characters of Pentheus, Antigone, and Oedipus. All three of these characters demonstrate, through their actions, various degrees of arrogance that seem to undercut the traditional role of the Gods, and thus largely contribute to their downfall. However, it should be noted that while each of these characters demonstrate hubris, they way in which their arrogance manifests itself is unique to each character.

Pentheus, the authoritarian newly appointed king of Thebes is immediately troubled with the rising influence and odd rituals that surround Dionysus. He seeks to prove his authority and influence over the kingdom, and crush the leader of these ecstatic rituals, which he perceives as a direct threat to his rule. Early on in the play Pentheus is warned by Tiresias, the old seer of the kingdom not to over stretch his bounds and to respect Dionysus as he would the other gods. "No we don't play at theologians with the gods. We stay close to the hallowed tenets of our fathers, old as time. Nothing can undo them ever. I.

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Sisyphus - Greek Mythology

Sisyphus | Greek Mythology

Sisyphus was the mythical founder and first king of Corinth. He was a cunning trickster, known for his abilities to decieve gods and humans alike. He was also known as a murderer in his own kingdom, as he would often entertain himself by killing travellers to his city.

Sisyphus also reported that Zeus had abducted the nymph Aegina to Aegina's father, Asopus.

Sisyphus was condemned to Tartarus, the deepest, darkest reality beneath the Underworld, by Zeus. There, he managed to fool Th´natos, the dæmon responsible for death. Sisyphus asked Th´natos to try out his chains to show him how they worked, and when he did, Sisyphus secured him in place.

The consequence of the inprisonment of Th´natos was that mortals could no longer die. This obviously upset the normal order of things, and especially upset Ares. god of war, who could not enjoy his battles when the men he defeated did not die. Ares intervened and released Th´natos.

Sisyphus was deemed guilty of hubris in his belief that he could outsmart the gods, and that he had betrayed Zeus' secret as if it were his place to be involved in the affairs of a god. As punishment, he was condemned to spend eternity rolling a boulder up a hill. Each time the boulder would near the summit, it would roll back down to the bottom. Sisyphus would then be forced to repeat his task.

Note: French writer Albert Camus compares Sisyphus' punishment to the absurdity of the human condition in his essay, “The Myth of Sisyphs ”. He famously concludes that despite (or because of) his eternal frustration, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy”.

SparkNotes: Mythology: Themes, Motifs & Symbols

Mythology Themes

Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

The Dominance of Fate

Fate was of great concern to the Greeks, and its workings resonate through many of their myths and texts. We see countless characters who go to great lengths in attempts to alter fate, even if they know such an aim to be futile. The inability of any mortal or immortal to change prescribed outcomes stems from the three Fates: sisters Clotho, who spins the thread of life; Lachesis, who assigns each person’s destiny; and Atropos, who carries the scissors to snip the thread of life at its end. These three divinities pervade all the stories of Greek myth, whether they be stories of gods, goddesses, demigods, heroes, or mortals and regardless of the exploits recounted. Nothing can be done to alter or prolong the destiny of one’s life, regardless of the number of preparations or precautions taken. This inflexibility applies just as much to Zeus as to the lowliest mortal, as we see in Zeus’s hounding of Prometheus to divulge the name of the woman who will bear the offspring that one day will kill him.

Though this lesson is somewhat consoling—the way of the world cannot be bent to match the whims of those in authority—it is also very disturbing. The prospect of free will seems rather remote, and even acts of great valor and bravery seem completely useless. The myths provide an interesting counterpoint to this uselessness, however. In virtually all the stories in which a character does everything in his power to block a negative fate, and yet falls prey to it, we see that his efforts to subvert fate typically provide exactly the circumstances required for the prescribed fate to arise. In other words, the resisting characers themselves provide the path to fate’s fulfillment.

A perfect example is the king of Thebes, who has learned that his son, Oedipus, will one day kill him. The king takes steps to ensure Oedipus’s death but ends up ensuring only that he and Oedipus fail to recognize each other when they meet on the road many years later. This lack of recognition enables a dispute in which Oedipus slays his father without thinking twice. It is the king’s exercise of free will, then, that ironically binds him even more surely to the thread of destiny. This mysterious, inexplicable twinning between will and fate is visible in many the stories and philosophical treatises of the Greeks.

Bloodshed Begets Bloodshed

Aeschylus’s Oresteia, Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy, Euripides’ plays, and Homer’s two great epics all demonstrate the irreparable persistence of bloodshed within Greek mythology that leads to death upon death. The royal house of Atreus is most marked in this regard: the house’s ancestor, Tantalus, inexplicably cooks up his child and serves him to the gods, offending the deities and cursing the entire house with the spilling of its blood from generation to generation. We see the curse manifest when Atreus himself kills his brother’s son and serves him up—an act of vengeance for wrong-doing done to him. Atreus’s son, Agamemnon, then sacrifices his own daughter, Iphigenia, as he has been told it will procure good sailing winds for the Greeks to start off to Troy. Rather, this deed leads his wife, Clytemnestra, to kill him on his first night home, with support from his cousin Aegisthus, who is in turn avenging Atreus’s crimes. Last but not least, Orestes, the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, comes back to kill his mother and Aegisthus. Only two members remain in the House of Atreus: Orestes and his sister Electra. Everyone else has been foully murdered in this bloody chain of events.

Though these characters have brought terrible violence upon those to whom they owed bonds of love and loyalty, they are still not wholly condemnable. Orestes knows that he will incur the wrath of the Furies and the gods in committing matricide. As terrible as matricide is, Orestes would be even more in the wrong if he let his father’s death go unpunished. Clytemnestra no doubt follows a similar rationale, as she cannot allow Agamemnon’s sacrifice of their daughter to stand unavenged. Even this is not the beginning of the chain: Agamemnon felt he had no choice but to sacrifice Iphigenia, since his only other option was to break the oath he made to Menelaus years before. Indeed, the whole line of Atreus is cursed with such irresolvable dilemmas, the outcome of divine anger at Tantalus’s horrific and unprompted sacrifice of his son. In this slippery world of confusing and conflicting ethics, the only certainty is that bloodshed merely begets more bloodshed.

The Danger of Arrogance and Hubris

In many myths, mortals who display arrogance and hubris end up learning, in quite brutal ways, the folly of this overexertion of ego. The Greek concept of hubris refers to the overweening pride of humans who hold themselves up as equals to the gods. Hubris is one of the worst traits one can exhibit in the world of ancient Greece and invariably brings the worst kind of destruction.

The story of Niobe is a prime example of the danger of arrogance. Niobe has the audacity to compare herself to Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo, thus elevating herself and her children to the level of the divine. Insulted, the two gods strike all of Niobe’s children dead and turn her into a rock that perpetually weeps. Likewise, young Phaëthon, who pridefully believes he can drive the chariot of his father, the Sun, loses control and burns everything in sight before Zeus knocks him from the sky with a thunderbolt. Similar warnings against hubris are found in the stories of Bellerophon, who bridles the winged Pegasus and tries to ride up to Olympus and join the deities’ revelry, and Arachne, who challenges Athena to a weaving contest and is changed into a spider as punishment. Indeed, any type of hubris or arrogance, no matter the circumstance, is an attitude that no god will leave unpunished.

Reward for Goodness and Retribution for Evil

The Greeks and Romans incorporated aspects of their ethical codes in their myths. In a sense, these stories are manuals of morality, providing models for correct conduct with examples of which behaviors are rewarded and which are punished. The clearest example is the story of Baucis and Philemon, an impoverished old couple who show kindness to the disguised Jupiter and Mercury. Of everyone in the city, only Baucis and Philemon are generous with their humble hospitality. Jupiter and Mercury reward them and destroy all the other inhabitants of the area. The lesson is clear: the gods judge our moral actions and dispense blessings or curses accordingly.

The idea of these myths as moral guides is not unlike the Judeo-Christian morality tales in the Bible. However, while the God of the Bible is an infallible moral authority, the gods who judge good and evil in classical myth harbor their own flaws. They have favorites and enemies, often for vain reasons—Hera’s jealousy, for example, predisposes her against several entirely innocent women—and are capable of switching sides or abandoning their favorites for no clear reason, as Apollo does to Hector just as Hector faces Achilles in combat. Aside from their prejudices, of course, the gods are poor moral judges because they frequently act immorally themselves, philandering, raping, lying, and callously using innocent mortals as pawns.

Motifs

Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes.

The Hero’s Quest

The story of a hero with a quest frequently recurs in mythology. Many of these stories are similar: a hero is born, raised in poverty by foster parents or a single mother, and at a certain age ventures forth to reclaim his patrimony. He is charged with some very difficult task and is offered the hand of a noble woman in marriage upon his success. By accomplishing these tasks, the otherwise unknown hero demonstrates his fitness to take on his father’s throne. This framework is subject to some degree of variation, of course, but it holds true for many of the hero stories Hamilton retells in Mythology .

Theseus is the perfect example: though raised far from Athens, he proves himself—from the moment he departs toward his father—a decent and upstanding heir by ridding the highway of bandits. Perseus, Hercules, Achilles, and others offer small variations on this framework of the hero’s quest. Interestingly, however, Odysseus, whose name has come to be synonymous with the hero and quest, offers a notable difference from the archetype. He does not grow up away from his parents, and he is already married and undergoes an arduous journey on his return home after battle. This difference, perhaps, explains why Odysseus strongly resonates as a more modern character relevant to present times.

Beauty

Beauty in all its forms figures prominently in Hamilton’s Mythology, particularly in the Greek myths, which ascribe an immeasurable value to beauty. Though appreciation of beauty is hardly a surprising find, it may seem superficial to see aesthetic and artistic beauty given such a prominent place in myths that also purport to be religious or moral guides.

Nonetheless, the assertion that beautiful is better pervades the myths. It is evident in Zeus’s and Apollo’s philandering, Orpheus’s winning over of Hades with his lovely music, the sparking of the Trojan War over Helen’s legendary loveliness, and Hera’s and Athena’s bitterness at Paris’s preference for Aphrodite’s fairness. With these myths in mind, we see that, in the classical worldview, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but rather a verifiable, objective actuality about which even the gods must agree.

Love

The seemingly indefinable notion of love is an important agent in much of Mythology, the source for many rewards, punishments, motivations, and deceptions. The myths treat love in a way that is different from most of our modern-day ideas of love. In creation myths, love is described as a force, and it is out of love that Earth arises. There are actually very few ordinary love stories, at least in our traditional sense of the word, with a man and woman bonding in romance and living happily ever after. There are, rather, several tragic tales, as those of Pyramus and Thisbe or Ceyx and Alcyone, as well as many stories of unrequited love, such as Polyphemus and Galatea or Echo and Narcissus.

Broadening the myth’s exploration of love and lust are tales of kidnapping and rape, such as Hades and Persephone or Apollo and Creusa. There are instances in which one party—always the woman—loves so strongly and under such false premises that it spells disaster for her. Such are the cases of Medea, Ariadne, and Dido, all of whom give themselves over to love, heart and soul—betraying their own families—only to have the men whom they love heartlessly move on after the women’s usefulness is expended. These tales perhaps imply a cautionary warning that blood is thicker than water and that a bride’s family by marriage is never as trustworthy as her birth family, to whom she truly owes allegiance.

Symbols

Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

Cannibalism

Cannibalism, eating the flesh of one’s own kind, is disturbingly present in Mythology. While it might seem repulsive to include cannibalistic details within a story, there are a strikingly large number of myths in which people—for the most part children—are sliced, cooked, and eaten. Aside from Tantalus’s inexplicably poor decision to serve his son to the gods, we see several stories in which the cannibalism of one’s children serves as the sweetest revenge—as Atreus exacts it upon his brother, and Procne upon her husband, Tereus. Even Cronus, the father of Zeus and lord of the universe, methodically swallows his children one by one in an attempt to forestall his downfall. Though the prevalence of cannibalism in these myths might lead us to believe that the practice was accepted in classical society, we see that cannibalism is severely punished in each case. Why it occurs so frequently in the first place remains a mystery.

Perhaps the roots of cannibalism lie in human sacrifice, the same source Hamilton identifies in the flower myths of Hyacinth and Adonis. As we see, these sacrifices are unwanted by the gods and typically punished severely, an indictment of both cannibalism and human sacrifice. In this regard, it is interesting to note the one instance in which a god actually does want such a sacrifice: Artemis’s call for the sacrifice of Iphigenia. Significantly, in a later telling of this myth, Artemis miraculously saves the girl instead.

Art

As civilizations prized for their art, it is no wonder that the Greeks and Romans retained a mythology that elevates art to a divine practice or at least one that almost consistently pleases the divine. The most prominent examples of mythological artistry are Pygmalion’s beloved statue Galatea, Arachne’s tapestry, and the poet who is the one person Odysseus spares from death at the end of the Odyssey. Both gods and mortals in the myths understand the power and influence of art almost as they do the unwritten rules of fate.

On a literary level, the symbol of art serves a glorifying purpose, staking a claim for the power of the text itself. This self-glorification is perhaps most obvious in Homer: Odysseus spares the poet, unlike the priest whom he has just dispatched, because he is loath to kill “such a man, taught by the gods to sing divinely.” In a less than subtle way, Homer is hinting that he himself is one such sacred, divinely touched creature. In addition to this self-glorification, art is used to link men with their gods, as the gods not only appreciate art, but actually make it themselves. Apollo is proud of his lyre, Pan of his set of pipes, and Hephaestus of the artisanship of the fine products of his smithy. Art, then, is symbolically and literally a bridge between mortals and gods.

Greek Mythology Essay, Research Paper Greek Mythology

Greek Mythology Essay, Research Paper

Greek Mythology, beliefs and ritual observances of the ancient Greeks, who

became the first Western civilization about 2000 BC. It consists mainly of a

body of diverse stories and legends about a variety of gods. Greek mythology had

become fully developed by about the 700s BC. Three classic collections of myths-Theogony

by the poet Hesiod and the Iliad and the Odyssey by the poet Homer-appeared at

about that time. Greek mythology has several distinguishing characteristics. The

Greek gods resembled humans in form and showed human feelings. Unlike ancient

religions such as Hinduism or Judaism, Greek mythology did not involve special

revelations or spiritual teachings. It also varied widely in practice and

belief, with no formal structure, such as a church government, and no written

code, such as a sacred book. Principal Gods The Greeks believed that the gods

chose Mount Olympus, in a region of Greece called Thessaly, as their home. On

Olympus, the gods formed a society that ranked them in terms of authority and

powers. However, the gods could roam freely, and individual gods became

associated with three main domains-the sky or heaven, the sea, and earth. The 12

chief gods, usually called the Olympians, were Zeus, Hera, Hephaestus, Athena,

Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hestia, Hermes, Demeter, and Poseidon. Zeus

was the head of the gods, and the spiritual father of gods and people. His wife,

Hera, was the queen of heaven and the guardian of marriage. Other gods

associated with heaven were Hephaestus, god of fire and metalworkers; Athena,

goddess of wisdom and war; and Apollo, god of light, poetry, and music. Artemis,

goddess of wildlife and the moon; Ares, god of war; and Aphrodite, goddess of

love, were other gods of heaven. They were joined by Hestia, goddess of the

hearth; and Hermes, messenger of the gods and ruler of science and invention.

Poseidon was the ruler of the sea who, with his wife Amphitrite, led a group of

less important sea gods, such as the Nereids and Tritons. Demeter, the goddess

of agriculture, was associated with the earth. Hades, an important god but not

generally considered an Olympian, ruled the underworld, where he lived with his

wife, Persephone. The underworld was a dark and mournful place located at the

center of the earth. It was populated by the souls of people who had died.

Dionysus, god of wine and pleasure, was among the most popular gods. The Greeks

devoted many festivals to this earthly god, and in some regions he became as

important as Zeus. He often was accompanied by a host of fanciful gods,

including satyrs, centaurs, and nymphs. Satyrs were creatures with the legs of a

goat and the upper body of a monkey or human. Centaurs had the head and torso of

a man and the body of a horse. The beautiful and charming nymphs haunted woods

and forests. Worship and Beliefs Greek mythology emphasized the weakness of

humans in contrast to the great and terrifying powers of nature. The Greeks

believed that their gods, who were immortal, controlled all aspects of nature.

So the Greeks acknowledged that their lives were completely dependent on the

good will of the gods. In general, the relations between people and gods were

considered friendly. But the gods delivered severe punishment to mortals who

showed unacceptable behavior, such as indulgent pride, extreme ambition, or even

excessive prosperity. The mythology was interwoven with every aspect of Greek

life. Each city devoted itself to a particular god or group of gods, for whom

the citizens often built temples of worship. They regularly honored the gods in

festivals, which high officials supervised. At festivals and other official

gatherings, poets recited or sang great legends and stories. Many Greeks learned

about the gods through the words of poets. Greeks also learned about the gods by

word of mouth at home, where worship was common. Different parts of the home

were dedicated to certain gods, and people offered prayers to those gods at

regular times. An altar of Zeus, for example, might be placed in the courtyard,

while Hestia was ritually honored at the hearth. Although the Greeks had no

official church organization, they universally honored certain holy places.

Delphi, for example, was a holy site dedicated to Apollo. A temple built at

Delphi contained an oracle, or prophet, whom brave travelers questioned about

the future. A group of priests represented each of the holy sites. These

priests, who also might be community officials, interpreted the words of the

gods but did not possess any special knowledge or power. In addition to prayers,

the Greeks often offered sacrifices to the gods, usually of a domestic animal

such as a goat. Origins Greek mythology probably developed from the primitive

religions of the people of Crete, an island in the Aegean Sea where the region’s

first civilization arose about 3000 BC. These people believed that all natural

objects had spirits, and that certain objects, or fetishes, had special magical

powers. Over time, these beliefs developed into a set of legends involving

natural objects, animals, and gods with a human form. Some of these legends

survived as part of classical Greek mythology. The ancient Greeks themselves

offered some explanations for the development of their mythology. In Sacred

History, Euhemerus, a mythographer from the 300s BC, recorded the widespread

belief that myths were distortions of history and the gods were heroes who had

been glorified over time. The philosopher Prodicus of Ceos taught during the

400s BC that the gods were personifications of natural phenomena, such as the

sun, moon, winds, and water. Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived during the

400s BC, believed that many Greek rituals were inherited from the Egyptians. As

Greek civilization developed, particularly during the Hellenistic period, which

began about 323 BC, the mythology also changed. New philosophies and the

influence of neighboring civilizations caused a gradual modification of Greek

beliefs. However, the essential characteristics of the Greek gods and their

legends remain unchanged. See Also Aegean Civilization.

"Greek Mythology," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c)

1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Bacchae Essay

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Hubris in Greek Mythology Braden Ruddy

The idea of hubris is monumental in a plethora of Greek mythological works. In many ways the excessive pride of certain characters fuels their own destruction. This is certainly true with respect to the characters of Pentheus, Antigone, and Oedipus. All three of these characters demonstrate, through their actions, various degrees of arrogance that seem to undercut the traditional role of the Gods, and thus largely contribute to their downfall. However, it should be noted that while each of these characters demonstrate hubris, they way in which their arrogance manifests itself is unique to each character.

Pentheus, the authoritarian newly appointed king of Thebes is immediately troubled with the rising influence and odd rituals that surround Dionysus. He seeks to prove his authority and influence over the kingdom, and crush the leader of these ecstatic rituals, which he perceives as a direct threat to his rule. Early on in the play Pentheus is warned by Tiresias, the old seer of the kingdom not to over stretch his bounds and to respect Dionysus as he would the other gods. "No we don't play at theologians with the gods. We stay close to the hallowed tenets of our fathers, old as time. Nothing can undo them ever. I.

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Essay on greek mythology

Essay/Term paper: Socrates theme paper Essay, term paper, research paper: Greek Mythology

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on Greek Mythology: Socrates Theme Paper. you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.


A master artisan and innovator of the Greek tragedy, Sophocles's insightful plays have
held their value throughout countless time periods and societies. Through the use of common
literary techniques, Sophocles was able to express themes and ideas that reflect all of
humankind. On particular idea was that Sophocles believed that hubris is destructive and will
eventually lead to one's demise.
Creon, the proud king of Thebes has such a fatal flaw. His hubris alienates Teiresias,
Haimon, and his people. Teiresias attempts to explain to Creon the severity of Creon's
actions, but Creon only shuns Teiresias. No matter how potent the signs, Creon "would not
yield," (Scene 5, Line 47). Creon's hubris prevents him from recognizing his self-destructive
behavior. Instead, he accuses Teiresias of disloyalty and succumbing to bribery. He feels
Teiresias has "sold out" (Scene 5, Line 65) and that Creon was "the butt for the dull arrows
of doddering fortunetellers" (Scene 5, Line 42). Such inventions of Creon prove to be both
counter-productive and foolish, for Teiresias did speak the truth and Creon is only further
drawn into his false reality dictated by hubris.
Creon's fatal flaw overcomes him in a discussion with his son. Haimon confronts his
father about Creon's reckless and unreasonable actions dealing with Antigone. His hubris
transcends his better judgement and causes Creon to become defensive. Creon then ignores his
son's recommendations on the basis of age and seniority as follows: "You consider it right for
a man of my years and experience to go to a school a boy?" (Scene 3, Line 95). His anger
intensifies until he explodes at his son, "Fool, adolescent fool!" (Scene 3, Line 114). At
that point, Creon was far too immersed in his own foolish pride to recognize his perverseness.
His hubris had reduced him into a raving lunatic only capable of destructive behavior.
Not even the Choragos was too insignificant to suffer the wrath of Creon's fatal flaw.
The Choragos asked if the gods might have had some part in the burial of Polyneices. To this
he replied in a most vile manner, "Stop! Must you doddering wrecks go out of your head
entirely? "The gods!" Intolerable!" (Scene 1, Line 92). The attitude of Creon's response
demonstrates the counter-productivity of his fatal flaw.
The resolution of Antigone is Creon's loss of everything dear to him. Creon is left a
pitiful wreck, "I am alone guilty.", "My own heart. darkness to final darkness", "I have
been rash and foolish.", "To risk everything for stubborn pride." (Scene 5, Lines 121, 87,
143, and 93 respectively). Creon is in such a position because he allowed hubris to cloud his
judgement.
While Creon did not directly kill his family, his foolish pride did, "I have killed my
son and wife." (Scene, 5 Line 135). Antigone committed suicide because her situation, which
was dictated by Creon, seemed hopeless, "hanged herself. father had stolen her away. "
(Scene 5, Line 60). His hubris had led to the destruction of all he loved.
Creon is the representation of all humanity and his misfortunes were brought about
through hubris, which eventually leads to unhappiness, demise, and or destruction. Sophocles
presented this idea to his audience over two centuries ago, and it is still a subject of much
conversation. His plays have influenced past works and they will continue to affect literary
works to come.

Other sample model essays:

Was Socrates wise to stay in Athens to die? Examine firstly the context of the word wise. Socrates wasn't wise in the sense of preserving his own life as he stayed to die. He was en.

Hubris - Oedipus essays

MegaEssays.com Hubris - Oedipus

Oedipus like some other well-known Greek heroes was guilty of equating temporal success with godliness. Thus despite the prophecy of Apollo, Oedipus pushed himself into the very fate that was pre-ordained for him, while he was deliberately ignoring the negative tidings. He did not heed the prophecy believing that no one and nothing could destroy him, yet he himself brought destruction upon himself by his ruthless means and his arrogance. This excessive pride and arrogance is known as hubris and this was the tragic flaw of Oedipus that led to his downfall. It is because of this that Oedipus becomes spiritual blind and later becomes the cause of his physical blindness as well. Physical blindness was an indication of the destruction that his hubris had wrought. Spiritual blindness was indicated by his consistent rejection of Apollo’s prophecy. When Choragos asks Oedipus, "What god was it drove you to rake black / Night across your eyes?" He replies in extreme state of agitation and anguish:

Apollo, Apollo, Dear
Children, the god was Apollo.
He brought my sick, sick fate upon me.
But the blinding hand was my own!
How could I bear to see
When all my sight was horror everywhere?

Hubris thus becomes the greatest obstacle to deliberation- to the ability to reflect, think, ponder and react in moderation. The corresponding virtue for this vice was moderation. However Oedipus was blinded by his own success and thus became extremely arrogant; thereby causing his own destruction and downfall. He becomes the cause of his father’s death, sleeps with his mother and has children with her. This had all been predicted by Apollo but Oedipus was so blinded by arrogance and over confidence that he could discern what was happening. He couldn’t see that Apollo’s predictions were coming true and thus began the hunt for his father’s killer- cursing him all along while the readers knew that he was in fact cursing himself.

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Informative Speech Topics Dealing With Greek Mythology

Informative Speech Topics Dealing With Greek Mythology

There are hundreds of stories concerning the intrigues and affairs of Greek gods and heroes. For a speech topic, you could focus on the legends of a specific Greek figure, highlight a part of the mystical world of Greek mythology itself or describe how the myths have influenced the cultures of the world.

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  • The Best Informative Speech Topics
  • Informal Speech Topics
Realms of Greek Mythology

The ancient Greeks divided their world into three realms -- the mortal plane, the underworld of Hades and Mount Olympus, where the gods resided. If your audience is unfamiliar with the Greek cosmos, describing the gods, their powers and their domains is a great way to quickly bring them into the world of Greek mythology. If you want to educate your listeners on a more specific topic, pick a specific god, his domain and one or two of the myths surrounding him. For example, if you are focusing on Hades, you might describe how he is the god of the dead and lord of the Underworld, and go on to describe the different regions of the Underworld --Tartarus, Asphodel, and Elysium -- and the different types of dead souls inhabiting each. You could also include the myth of how Hades came to rule the underworld by casting lots with his brothers, and his abduction of Persephone in order to be his bride.

Greek Creation Myth

While Greek gods, heroes and monsters are relatively well known, the Greek creation story is a topic less frequently explored. A lesson in how the Greek cosmos came to be is an opportunity for your audience to learn about a topic they might not already be familiar with. You can either compare and contrast the creation myth to those of other cultures and religions, or focus on a specific section of the myth that intrigues you, such as the triumph of the Olympians over the Titans or the birth of Uranus and Gaea. There are also many figures in Greek myth -- such as the goddesses Nyx and Eris, the furies and the nymphs -- who were born before either the Titans or the Olympian Gods. Focusing on these lesser-known characters is a great way to explore a new and exciting area of the Greek tradition.

Drama and Poetry

Ancient Greek culture comes down to us not only through recorded myths but also through the poems of Homer and the dramas of the ancient Athenian playwrights. Picking one play, such as Aristophanes' The Clouds or focusing on a specific topic, such as the portrayal of Athena in Greek literature, is a good way of providing your speech with focus and direction. If you are, for instance, speaking on the subject of hubris, or pride, as a fatal flaw in Greek heroes, you might cover how these protagonists suffer as a result of their pride. Ajax, for example, ultimately commits suicide as a result of refusing Athena's aid, and Odysseus is subjected to an excruciatingly long journey home for believing he is clever enough to outsmart Poseidon, god of the sea. Be sure to include quotes from these works where appropriate. Greek dramas often include a chorus which serves to explain the action and themes of the play to the audience.

Mythology and Modern Culture

The language and characters of Greek mythology are still alive and well today, from Freud's Oedipus complex to the video game God of War to the sneaker-company Nike, which takes its name from the Greek goddess of victory. Showing how Greek mythology continues to inform and enrich our culture can be an excellent way to capture your audience's interest. For example, a topic focusing on how Greek gods and heroes continue to influence our notion of heroism might highlight how superheroes Wonder Woman and the Flash take their design from the Amazons and Hermes, and the ways Disney's Hercules reinterpreted the legend of Heracles. Be sure to highlight both how modern imitations resemble and change the myths they are based on; for example, Hercules casts the goddess Hera as Hercules' mother, while in myth his mother was the mortal Alcmene.