Mythology: Differences in Gender Regarding Divine Vengeance

Topics: Greek mythology, Zeus, Hera Pages: 3 (1113 words) Published: December 10, 2012
Gender and Divine Vengeance
In Greek mythology, there are many stories pertaining to divine vengeance and mortals. There are many different reasons as to why the gods penalize humans, and likewise, an assortment of punishments cast down upon these offenders. Throughout the book, Powell gives many examples of the wrath of the gods and the differences in their punishment styles based on their gender. Male gods do not usually punish male offenders with a quick and easy death. They prefer to use a more prolonged and torturous style of punishment; where as female gods use a quick, more destructive punishment that affects more than just the offenders themselves. The pattern that emerged from myths that were comprised of male gods punishing male and female offenders alike was one that involved an unforgiving and eternal sentencing. Not only were these interminable, many of the punishments were very harsh and monotonous. One example of this is when Zeus punishes Sisyphus for his trickery, when he outsmarts death. While imprisoned in the underworld, Sisyphus manages to trick Death and imprison him, allowing himself to escape and rejoin the upper world to live out another life. Zeus retaliates by returning Sisyphus to the underworld, forcing him to forever push a boulder, with all his might, up a hill, only to have it roll back down again. Another myth where an offender suffers the same horrible fate is that of the Danaids. They were the fifty daughters of Danaus, who were to be wed to the fifty sons of Aegyptus. However, they refused proper marriage and pregnancy, and all but one of the daughters murdered their husbands on their wedding night. As punishment, they were sent to the underworld where Hades condemned them to carry out an endless task of filling a trough full of water using broken jugs. Perhaps one of the most famous myths involving a brutal and repetitive penance is that of Prometheus. Zeus decides to take fire away from humans; but Prometheus being the...
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