Role of gods and their interaction with mortals
Myths can be defined in numerous different ways. They are very closely related to our social lives. Our current traditions, practices and beliefs are actually emerged from the myths of ancient cultures. Myths are thus, specific type of traditional tales.
The topic of Greek Mythology and the gods and goddesses comprising it, have been of immense attention and fascination for various philosophers and cultural study experts at various levels. The reason being that the entire story, despite being labeled as mythology, contains immense elements that can easily be associated and flawlessly consolidates itself with contemporary socio economic or socio political circumstances that are encountered today. This is the major factor that actually provides Greek mythology leverage over all competitive myths that existed during primitive times such as the Roman and Egyptians mythologies. (Hartigan, 1995; p. 43).
A major element that constitutes an integral part of the entire mythology is based on the various levels at which power is manifested and exercised by the gods and goddesses of the myth. They were considered supreme and divine not only in their respective vicinities but also forced mortal beings to carry out similar reverence and services to them, in contrary conditions the wrath of gods punished them in the most severe way possible. An interesting or rather paradox situation in my opinion here is that the power structure among mortals was and is very similar to what was executed by immortals in pre-historic times. The divine hierarchy now existent in the form of myths has been adopted and well implemented by mortals of today.
Distribution of Power: the Conflict and its Effects
As it is well known that in the Greek mythology, Zeus was considered as the lord of the entire world with all others being his subordinates. His orders were executed without any delay and any one deferring him was punished. All these gods did all effort to concentrate power in their own hands either through inter family relationships or using mortals as a tool to transfer their characteristics of semi-immortality into their progeny, the famous examples of which are Perseus and Hercules and to a substantial extent their efforts remained triumphant. The response of such unaccountable exercise of hegemony and power was manifested in the form of fueling resentment in the people who began to openly manifest their detestation for gods, not caring about the terrible wrath it could invoke. (Bremmer 1987)
A comprehensible materialization of this was from the people of Ethiopia when princess Casiopeia declared her daughter Andromeda as more beautiful than the goddesses Aphrodite. At a much socially low level this resentment was seen in the form of people openly blaspheming their once divine gods. It is also paradoxical to note that the people who actually brought the fall of immortals were their very own sons who strongly believed that the gods were wrong in oppressing and persecuting people. Another interesting thing to note here is that some times this opposition was provoked for the acquisition of greater power and divine status. Hades, who was Zeus’s brother and god of the underworld wanted to take revenge from his brother and hence in order to fulfill his aim used Perseus’s mortal father, thus the lust of power acquisition was also prevalent within the divine community members. (Burket 1982)
Relevance to modern Day society
A famous saying goes that history always repeats itself but in this case the quotation must be altered to say that even myths also repeat themselves. In the contemporary world we find our self in a similar midst what was during the age of Zeus and Hades. We find that the power set up and its organization has been established on similar modes and principles.
A handful of states controlling the lives and destinies of the rest by exercising and imposing their hegemony and dominion status on all others; we see that the stratification and discrimination in the name of that stratification is still conducted fearless because of the absence of any proper accountability body. The retention of power has made them so indifferent towards others that any kind of turmoil or chaos can be erupted on the basis of accumulating more power. People were being oppressed in the time of Zeus; they are experiencing oppression even today, persecution in myriad forms has reached its zenith. The faces of the monsters have changed but their actions remain similar. (Lewis 2008)
The role of gods, as depicted in ancient Greek and Egyptian literature, was harmful for the mortals as most of the gods were power hungry and always used mortals to gain greater power and divine status.
Gods appeared in ancient literature portrayed the power structure that found in the time of Greek gods which was not much different from the prevalent power structure of today. The acts, policies, conspiracies and strategies remain much the same and hence their effect is a system where the minds of people are indoctrinated and manipulated in foolish ways just to marginalize them from observing the truth and to make them believe that they all abide in a euphoric world. (Dowden 1992).