Mythology Report- Dionysus Research Paper

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Imran Kanji
Ms. Heenan
ENG 2D1
25 September 2012

Dionysus

Introduction
Dionysus is an important figure of Greek mythology. He is the Olympian god of wine, vegetation, festivity and pleasure. He represents humanity’s longing for pleasure and desire to celebrate. Dionysus is also the god of hallucination, theatre, reincarnation and homosexuality. He is called: “the youthful, beautiful, but effeminate god of wine. He is also called both by Greeks and Romans Bacchus (Bakchos), that is, the noisy or riotous god…” (Roman 201).

The most popular honour that Dionysus received, besides being granted a place in Olympus, was the Dionysia festival in Athens, Greece. The festival was celebrated in honour of Dionysus, and the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and comedies (Roman 203).

Dionysus is famous for his accidental discovery of wine. One day, Dionysus was dancing with the nymphs. He came upon a bathing tub next to a long line of grapevines. He filled the tub to the brim with the large, red grapes, and stepped in. He stomped on the grapes, and danced in the tub, until the entire tub was full of grape juice. Dionysus heard the nymphs calling him from afar, and he left the tub of juice for two days. He came back to the tub, and saw the colour of the juice had changed. He then tasted the liquid, and found it had fermented. He named the new drink wine, and went around the lands, feeding anyone and everyone his new drink. He taught mankind how to cultivate the vine (Siculus 3). As Dionysus is the god of wine, and is an expert in the art of making wine, he would tend to get intoxicated because of the alcohol content. The product being marketed is Dionysus’ Hangover Pills, DHP for short. Dionysus’ Hangover Pills are a huge advance in the Olympus market. After a fun night out, these hangover pills are perfect for the morning after. They are designed by Dionysus himself to reduce migraines and increase precision in senses. Dionysus’ Hangover Pills guarantee a “satisfying day after a night of heavy drinking.” This product takes a spin on the myth of Dionysus and his accidental discovery of wine, and allows gods and goddesses alike to get back to their duties straight away.

Background
As most characters in Greek Mythology, Dionysus is a child of divine descent. He is the son of Zeus, and the daughter of a mortal, Semele (daughter of Cadmus of Thebes). Dionysus had a very unusual birth, in the sense that he was born twice. Semele, had persuaded Zeus to expose himself in his divine form, thus killing her instantly. Dionysus was still in her womb, and as Zeus did not want to kill his own unborn child, he is “rescued and undergoes a second birth from Zeus after developing in his thigh” (Pantheon 1). This is why Dionysus is referred to as “twice born.” Dionysus is one of the twelve gods on Olympus, and sits on Zeus’ right hand side.

Famous Tales
In the most popular myth about Dionysus, he had learned how to cultivate vines. He spread his teachings far and wide. He was accepted everywhere, until he returned to his home country of Thebes. On his way back to Greece, he was kidnapped and taken by prisoner by pirates, who thought he was a rich young man. The pirates assumed Dionysus’ parents would pay a large ransom for his return. The pirates tried to bind Dionysus with ropes, but the ropes refused to hold, and would fall to the floor. Dionysus watched calmly, smiling. The helmsman realised that Dionysus was a god, and begged him forgiveness and tried to release him. The captain mocked the helmsman and ordered the crew to set sail. The crew tried to sail the ship, but the ship would not move. “Looking around they saw the ship quickly becoming overgrown with vines that held it fast. Dionysus then changed himself into a lion and began to chase the crewmen. To escape they leaped overboard but as they did they were changed to dolphins. Only on the helmsman did Dionysus have mercy,”...
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