In ancient Greek mythology, the relationship between God and mortal has long been a complicated relationship. More people believe that there is a confrontation between God and mortal. The gods can be generous and generous to a certain extent, but sometimes they can bring devastating or destructive disasters to any human group. However, mortals can only respect God because they have uncontrollable power that mortals do not have. The gods rule the destiny of mankind, control the nature, and even control the scale of justice, and require mortals to admit their existence and worship. Regardless of the individual will and thoughts of the mortal, the gods of Greek mythology have the final decision on nature and mortals and even each other and justice.
It is not difficult to see from Greek mythology that with the powerful power of God, their qualifications are much higher than those of human beings. However, to a certain extent, God is also affected by humans. For example, we often see that God is provoked by revenge and deception. But God always punishes the perpetrators, so God is largely the executor of human justice, and God will visit mortals who dare to ignore worship or despise their etiquette. It is common for God to visit human beings, not humans to see God. The descendants of these combinations of gods and humans are called heroes or demigods. They are often known for their powerful strength and courage. But although people and God have many similarities, they still have a big gap, that is, God can live forever. This is also why people and gods are largely antagonistic. On the one hand, they are disparity in power and enjoy different powers. God controls human destiny and masters nature. On the other hand, God is eternal, and human beings cannot. In a limited life, human beings are justifiable to nature’s challenge to the gods. However, in spite of this, God is not invincible, such as the spiritual and physical torture suffered by Prometheus. Many gods are eager to be deprived of the privilege of eternal life because of torture.
Another reason is that the people of each era did not continue from the previous generation, but were re-created after being destroyed by God. They were recreated several times, so it was later that God created people, and the original power of Mother Earth created from. Why do people and gods have to increase their opposition? Because Zeus offended him after human beings, he continued to carry out a series of punishment actions against human beings. That is to say, at the beginning, the people of the Bronze Age and the Silver Age lived together with the gods on Mount Olympus on the plains of Collins. At that time, the gods were still indifferent. After living for a while, Zeus suddenly decided to completely separate the gods. He gave the task to Prometheus to complete. Prometheus lied to him. When he sacrificed, he gave a layer of white oil to Zeus, but he hid the better part in the internal organs that looked less appetizing. Humans, Zeus aware of this scam, he retaliated against humans and took their fire, but Prometheus did not stand by this time. For humanity, he stole the Zeus hiding in the temple fire on Mount Olympus. With the help of fire, the eternal Mars in the world began to have technology and invention, and took the first step toward progress and civilization. Because of this piracy, Prometheus was sentenced to cruel punishment. He was eaten by the gods every day and eaten his liver. He ate during the day and grew up at night. He came to eat every day.
This is Zeus’ first punishment for humanity, punishing Prometheus. Then he felt that it was not enough. He came up with a way to create a woman. ‘Zeus sent evil to pretend to be kind to confuse people. That evil is a woman. Before that, human reproduction did not depend on women. People know There are women, but they mainly exist in the world of God.’ These gods made the woman out, gave her a name called Pandora, and after making Pandora, they let Hermes go to Epimotus. The younger brother of Prometheus is Epimotus. The meaning of the word Prometheus is to think first and then go. The meaning of the word ‘Epimotus’ is to rethink and then regret. The brother once warned him not to accept any gift from Zeus, but Epimotus accepted his brother’s warning as a deaf ear and accepted the woman. This woman is called Pandora. She brought a vase-shaped box, which was entrusted to her by the gods. She said that she could not open the box. But one day Pandora unveiled the lid, and all the evils escaped from the box. Because Zeus didn’t give them a voice, they silently and unpredictably attacked humans. Before that, humans were not sick. There is no death or pain. But when Pandora saw that she ran out so many things, she panicked. She hurriedly closed the lid, and just closed the last hopeful goddess that did not run out. Therefore, the hope that the goddess is closed is a particularly serious understanding for the Greeks, that is, the human world has only evil and pain, no happiness, and no hope.
Another example of the opposition between man and god is that the order of ruling established by Zeus is not allowed to be offended. The god of heaven is not allowed to offend his dominance, and the people on earth are not allowed to do so. In other words, you can’t think of yourself as a god. There is a myth in Greek mythology that punishes Niobe. Niobe is a woman. She has many children. She is a friend with a god, so her pride is growing up. She thinks she is surpassing the gods as if she was also a god. Zeus launched a punishment for her, killed all her children, and finally she died. In this myth, it can be manifested that people are not allowed to become gods. The confrontation between humans and gods is very serious. That is, God punishes human beings, and humans also confront God.
Why is the human condition so pessimistic? Because the core point of view in Greek mythology is that human nature is evil. The god in the Greek mythology actually represents a certain aspect of human nature. It uses a certain power and a certain role of human beings to represent it. Of course, God also represents the natural forces. In short, he uses the power of nature and some of the human body to be represented by God.
There are none of the twelve main gods in Greek mythology, one that represents compassion. The goddess of hearth should be said to be a patron saint, not much related to human nature. God of War represents war and violence and is highly respected. The god of Vulcan and forging technology is related to human desire for matter. The beauty and sex goddess Aphrodite represents male and female lust, completely a kind of sensuality, no more advanced things. Poseidon represents a natural force. Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, seems to be a good thing, but not yet, she represents a cold rationality. God of War represents the impulse in the war, and Minerva represents the role of strategy in the war, so she does not represent a very kind thing. We see Athena’s performance is often a trick, her favorite person is Odysseus, Odysseus is most blessed by Athena, because Odysseus is the most adept person, so they Wisdom is a very low level, not a kind of kind wisdom. Apollo, the god of fables and art, is also more harmonious and rational. Chastity and hunting goddess, this is hunting and killing. Zeus is the god of justice. His justice is the balance between powers. The so-called justice is to maintain an appropriate proportional relationship between the power of human beings and the interests they possess, or the distribution of the interests of interests. To fight, Zeus’ performance is quite aggressive. Therefore, among the twelve main gods, there is no real God of moral character. That is to say, the humanity recognized by the Greeks is almost all evil, and there is no good at all. The reason why the human destiny is so pessimistic, I think this is the root cause, the fate brought by the evil will certainly be so painful, so dark, so pessimistic, it will certainly be like this.
These gods do not take care of the interests of mankind. They only require human beings to obey and obey themselves. They do not speak morality to human beings. Zeus himself often takes the lead in seduce human women. They are also intriguing with each other, and even resort to force to intimidate and punish others. The use of force between God and God, the Trojan War is actually behind the war between the gods. Gods are diverse in opinions, some maintain Troy, and some maintain the Greeks. So God has no moral dignity in front of people. This is what everyone sees. They are at the same level as people. The only difference from people is that they can dominate stronger natural forces. Therefore, for God, their obedience is only out of fear, not moral admiration. Of course, for the new god, it also has a symbolic meaning, symbolizing spiritual life, symbolizing wisdom, literature, music, justice, law, and reason, but without moral dignity. Therefore, the Greek people are opposite to God, just as in the Greek real society, people and people are opposite each other, which is a level. We have said before that people can deceive God when they sacrifice, and sometimes they can deceive the eyes of God and sometimes they can fight against God. Like Achilles in the Trojan War, there was a duel with the river god. He knew that the river god was God. Of course he failed, but he did not lose very badly. He just stunned. Although it is mostly a failure, sometimes it can win. Because people can also control a certain amount of natural force. You can play tricks and people can play. Only their strength is smaller.
It is precisely because of this that if the opposition between man and God leads to failure, then it is more painful and more uncomfortable because they are of the same level, it is more painful that you are defeated by counterparts. If it is really defeated by a supreme god, there is nothing to complain about. You can’t compare with him. But being defeated by God is even more painful and more incompetent to the Greeks. Therefore, the Greek tragic consciousness was formed. The concept of tragic consciousness and destiny is due to the homogeneous of the Greek gods and people. Greek gods and people are at the same moral level. In the Greek tragedy, we can see that God has nothing to lose, and God can’t escape fate. Even Zeus, the highest god, he can’t escape fate. The reason why Zeus was to nail Prometheus on the cliff was to force him to account for the secrets he had. Prometheus insisted on shutting up, so he could only be tortured every day and let the eagle feed on his liver. But in the end he still said, reached a compromise and reached mediation. That is to say, God can’t escape from his fate. People can’t know their fate, God can’t know their fate either, but fate dominates everything. This is very obvious.
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- Bernard C. Dietrich, « Divine Personality and Personification », Kernos [Online], 1988, Online since 31 January 2011, connection on 30 April 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/kernos/77 ; DOI :10.4000/kernos.77
- Homer Odyssey trans. Richmond Lattimore. (Harper Collins, 1965).
- Ovid Heroides trans. Harold Isbell. (Harmondsworth, 1990)
- Ovid Metamorphoses trans. Brookes More. (Cornhill, 1953).
- Pseudo-Apollodorus Bibliotheca trans. Keith Aldrich. (Coronado, 1975)
- Virgil Aeneid trans. David West (Penguin Classics, 2003)