Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review of Mythology by Edith Hamilton 2.7

General Information:

Name of Book: Mythology

ISBN: 9780316341516

Publisher: First Black Bay

Year it was published: 1942

Overall theme:

"The Greeks did not believe that the gods created the universe. It was the other way about: the universe created the gods. Before there were gods heaven and earth had been formed. They were the first parents. The Titans were their children, and the gods were their grandchildren." (24)

Part Two: Stories of Love and Adventure 

5. Cupid and Psyche

Observations: A story of Psyche, youngest daughter of a king. She is far more beautiful, and many of her admirers compare her to Venus. However, much to the parents' distress, men love her but don't want her as a wife. When her parents consult an Oracle, they are told that a serpent fiercer than the gods themselves desires Psyche. It gives instructions to leave Psyche on the hill, to which the parents comply. In fact, Cupid, the god of love desired Psyche (She doesn't know that, for he doesn't let her see him). For a while the two are married until Psyche starts meeting her sisters who convince her that Cupid wants to harm her. She loses Cupid through curiosity, begins to beg everyone for help and comes to Venus who gives her four tasks of which she succeeds. She and Cupid are reunited.

6. Eight Brief Tales of Loves

Pyramis and Thisbe

Observations: Pyramis and Thisbe loved one another but their parents didn't allow them to marry at all. Pyramis convinced Thisbe to meet him at a tomb, thus then they can marry. Thisbe met him, spotted  a lioness, dropped her cloak and ran away. Pyramis saw the torn cloak, thought her dead and killed himself. (Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is based on that.)

Orpheus and Eurydice

Observations: Brief history of Orpheus, how he sailed with Argonauts, how his mother was one of the Muses, and he was a Thracian Prince. He had an enchanting voice and could play lyre very well. However, he tried to be with Eurydice unsuccessfully. On his wedding day she was killed, he traveled to Underworld and failed in his mission of bringing her back. In the end he was killed by Manaeds.

Ceyx and Alcyone

Observations: Alcyone and Ceyx are King and Queen. There were problems with a kingdom, thus Ceyx decided to travel to Delphi Oracle to find out what's wrong. Alcyone wanted to go with him, but Ceyx wouldn't let her. There was a storm and he drowned. Juno, having pity for Alcyone asks Iris to send for god of sleep to tell Alcyone of what befell her husband. She sees that her husband has drowned, is sad, and she and her husband become birds.

Pygmalion and Galatea

Observations: Pygmalion detested ordinary women and instead created a statue of a perfect woman that he fell in love with. He treated her like a doll and bought her pretty things and so forth. He fell in love with her and asked Venus for help. Venus then turned Galatea into a real woman and together the two of them had a child named Paphos.

Baucis and Philemon

Observations: Sometimes when Jupiter tired of living on Olympus, he and Mercury traveled down. One time it was to Phrygia where the two disguised themselves as poor and they went door to door to see who will welcome them. None did until Baucis and Philemon who welcomed them. After a few miraculous things, the gods revealed themselves and mentioned of a flood and made the two their guardians. Their desire was to die at the same time. That was accomplished by turning both of them into different trees growing from the same bark.

Endymion

Observations: He was a shepherd and one time he went to bed while the moon, Selene, came down and fell in love with him as well as blessed him. He never woke up.

Daphne

Observations: Apollo falls in love with her, but she doesn't love anyone back thus she flees from him while he comes after her. He begs her to stop but she doesn't. Her father, the river god, turns her into a tree and Apollo reassures her that she will always have place in is victories.

Alpheus and Arethusa

Observations: Similar story to that of Daphne. Arethusa refused to do all with men and was favored by Artemis. One day she swam in a river and the river god, Alpheus, fell in love with her and pursued her until Artemis changed her into a cleft and a spring of water. She might not be free of Alpheus however, for sometimes he mingles himself with her and flowers come out.

7. The Quest of the Golden Fleece

Observations: Story begins with king Athamas who marries a woman named Ino who desires to have son rule instead of Nephele's children. She somehow creates a situation where they are forced to make human sacrifice. Zeus sends a golden ram to rescue Phrixus and Helle. Helle, the girl, dies, while Phrixus sacrifices the ram to Zeus and marries Aetnas's daughter. Phrixus's uncle gets ousted by Pelias, and there is a prophecy that Pelias should be beware of a kinsman as well as someone wearing a single sandal. Jason, the Uncle's son comes back and tries to take kingdom away. Pelias asks that Jason tries to locate the golden fleece and many adventurers join in. They were welcomed by Lemnos where women ruled. Then they lost Hylos as well as Heracles who tried to search for him. Then came the harpy adventure and Phineus who displeased Zeus. They agreed to protect him. The sons of Boreas somehow got the harpies to leave him alone, and Phineus, meanwhile, gave them various advice. There was trouble, and Hera asked Aphrodite for help. Both agreed on Medea falling in love with Jason. They reached Aetes and Medea fell in love with Jason. When he heard why they came, the king became displeased and thought of a plan to get rid of them. The trial is impossible and Jason begins to beg Medea for help. Medea helps him, even kills her own brother for him and eventually they came back. The two married together and had two sons; whatever good or evil she did was only for him. He became a traitor however. Jason desired to marry someone else for ambition only and planned on exiling Medea and their two boys. Medea became angry, killed the intended bride along with her sons and left. Jason continues to blame her and not himself.

8. Four Great Adventures

Phaethon

Observations: Phaethon desires proof that he is the sun god's son and wants to drive the chariot. The sun god begs him to ask for something else but Phaethon is relentless. He tries to drive, scorches the earth and Zeus sends a thunderbolt that kills him instantly. The nymphs fish him out and his sisters turn into the poplar trees.

Pegasus and Bellerophon

Observations: Bellerophon descends from Sissyphus as well as Glaucus, although its believed that Poseidon is his true father.Bellerophon desired nothing more than the winged horse Pegasus, which Athena helped him to capture. King Proetus desired to kill him because his wife Aetna fell in love with Bellerophon thus he couldn't do it, but he sent him to Lycea where another king should have killed him but didn't and instead sent him on various quests. The two became great friends and in-laws. Bellereophon, then, desired to fly to Mt. Olympus, but Pegasus threw him off and he got killed.

Otus and Ephialtes

Observations: At first they warred against heavens but Poseidon got them to stop doing it. Then they came up with a plan where they would kidnap Artemis as well as Hera. They tried to kidnap Artemis unsuccessfully and she got them to throw javelins at one another, thus they killed each other.

Daedalus

Observations: He's an architect who created the Labyrinth for the minotaur. He had a son named Icarus. King Minos imprisoned both one day and Daedalus created wings for both of them. Icarus perished, but Daedalus managed to find his way to another king with whom he took shelter with. Minos tried to find Daedalus without success and created a contest where Daedalus was discovered. Minos wanted to imprison him, but the other wouldn't let him and slain Minos in combat.

To be Continued...

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