Apollo and Dionysus

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Differences and Similarities: Apollo and Dionysus

In Greek Mythology a rivalry always occurs between certain Gods and Goddesses. In the case of Apollo and Dionysus there is no exception. They are half brothers, both sons of Zues and they compete just as most brothers do. Though the two Greek Gods, Apollo and Dionysus, were actually very similar in some ways, they severely contrasted in others.

Dionysus, son of Zues and Semele and Apollo, son of Zues and Leto, both were born under strange conditions. Dionysus was born from the thigh of Zues after being fully grown, and Apollo's mother, Leto, was in labor for nine days with him because Hera did not want him to be born and would not give Leto a safe place for the child to be delivered. Both these Gods have the need for power and a very creative drive. They spent their youth recruiting new worshipers for their respective cults in which they started, each cult showing their divinity. They are both associated with the phenomenon of ecstasy, meaning to stand outside oneself. In one such case, Apollo's priestess Pythia was overcome by his spirit and began speaking in tongues. Also when possessed by Dionysus, his followers similarly changed there normal actions, breaking into wild dances and "experienced a rapturous sense of union with their God." This shows how they made contact with humans, but in very different ways.

The Differences between Apollo and Dionysus are not difficult to see. Though both Gods are associated with music and dance, their musical styles are dissimilar. Apollo plays the golden lyre, which invokes feelings of harmony and serenity. Dionysus, on the other hand, invents the timbrel, it is a drum beaten to furious, erratic rhythms that express his compulsive nature. Apollo retains abstract intellect, he is an educator of young men, and promotes logical and rational thought. Dionysus desires irrational power, he liberates humans to explore there potential for emotional and...
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