Critical Response 1
20 September 2013
Humans versus gods
Are gods and goddesses really all that different from humans? They have feelings just as mortals do, as well as natural desires that humans encounter. In addition, gods and goddesses share many of the same qualities humans possess. For example, they have emotions that they sometimes have difficulty containing, such as love, fear, jealousy, rage, lust, and compassion. In Book V of Homer’s The Odyssey, some of these qualities are revealed through Calypso when she is visited by Hermes, the messenger of the gods. She becomes angry with him and yells, “You gods are the most jealous bastards in the universe- persecuting any goddess who ever openly takes a mortal lover to her bed and sleeps with him” (line 118). She goes on to give specific instances of other goddesses this has affected, such as Dawn when she caressed Orion. Through Calypso’s rage we are given a glimpse of some the characteristics of the gods that are very similar to the way humans behave. In The Odyssey, it is also noted that family is important to the gods just as it is important to many people. This is apparent through Poseidon after his son, the Cyclops, is blinded by Odysseus. Poseidon is infuriated and seeks revenge against Odysseus, just as any father would do, by preventing Odysseus from returning to his home and causing him to suffer. Another instance of this can be seen in The Epic of Gilgamesh. In the beginning of the epic, the gods are fearful of Gilgamesh due to his unrestrained behavior. As a result, the gods decide to make an equal to him with the intention of demonstrating to Gilgamesh that although he may be god-like in his strength, and appearance, he is not invincible and cannot continue doing whatever he pleases. After Gilgamesh and Enkidu defeat Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven, the gods again become fearful, this time of their combined abilities, and decide one of them must perish....
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