Greek Myths: Mortals Stay Humble

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A common theme of the Greek myths is that mortals should remain humble and not strive to be like the gods. Unfortunately, many mortals are punished for their excessive pride. Two myths that have mortals that are punished because of their excessive pride are "Phaethon, Son of Apollo" and "Arachne." These mortals both try very hard to strive to be like the gods and get punished for their actions. The theme in these two myths is: don't try to be something you're not. In the Greek myth, "Phaethon, Son of Apollo," the mortal named Phaethon begged his father to let him drive the chariot of the sun. He wanted to ride the chariot to prove a boy named Epaphos wrong. Epaphos told Phaethon that the god Apollo wasn't Phaethon's father. Furious about this, Phaethon went to the palace of Phoebus Apollo and asked Apollo if he really was his son. The god smiled, being well pleased with his son's beauty and daring and said, "You are indeed my son." Phaethon, then, asked his father if he could ride the chariot of the sun across the heavens for one day. Apollo frowned and shook his head, but the pride of Phaethon was stubborn, for he thought the god was merely trying to scare him. Besides, if he could steer the sun's chariot, would he not have proved his right to be divine rather than mortal? He was willing to risk his life and go for the challenge. When Apollo saw that nothing else would satisfy his son, he allowed Phaethon to ride the chariot. At last, Phaethon mounted the chariot and squeezed the reins, the barriers were let down, and the horses shot up into the air. At first, Phaethon was doing well. He was staying on the usual path. Then, it bounded from side to side because the chariot was too light without the weight of the immortal god. He dropped the reins and gave up. Finally, Zeus hurled a powerful thunderbolt at the furious Phaethon. The thunderbolt hit him and he fell and died. In the Greek myth, "Arachne," the mortal named Arachne is also punished for...
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