From Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Arachne remains a relevant myth in all its forms. The Myth of Arachne provides both a spiritual almost religious moral baseline as well as an origin for a common household creature. In the myth, Arachne- a talented weaver, challenges the weaving skills of Pallas (also known as Athena). Intrigued, Athena weaves her tapestry and “Arachne weaves hers in reply”. (Book VI: 103-128, http://ovid.lib.virginia.edu/trans/Metamorph6.htm). Even Athena has to admit that Arachne is the greatest weaver and in anger ruins her tapestry. Arachne in shame kills herself, and is resurrected by Athena to live her life as a spider so that she can continue to weave. (Book VI: 129-145)
This myth serves several purposes specifically to Greek culture. Firstly, it reminds those who revere the Greek Gods; that they are not only all powerful but that they have the same nature as humans do. Athena is human in the sense that she is jealous of the work of Arachne. She then returns from jealousy to show Arachne compassion and love by resurrecting her to weave forever. In a religious way is an example of the condemnation of suicide within organized religion. All religions address suicide differently, but nevertheless it is addressed. The other common theme being that those within religious stories that choose to challenge a God/Goddess in any way, never come out triumphant. It reminds those reading that the Gods are all powerful and always will be.
This myth also creates an origin story for the word “arachnid” for spiders, a household creature. This helps the myth survive and makes it relevant to cultures across the world including my own, linking something that everyone knows, and everyone has seen to an origin and a person. Suddenly, those scary eight-legged little monsters are a piece of a woman’s soul. They weave for the woman that bore them. When a small child is about to squash the spider and their loved one stops them and tells them the story of...
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