Gender Roles In Greek Creation Myth

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Creation myths are often charter myths, explaining why a society is the way it is, explaining how it came to be that way. These myths can tell us much about a culture, and about the way it views the world; by comparing them, we can discover universal themes, and perhaps be granted an insight into human nature. All three myths studied involve the theme of chaos v order to some extent. In the Greek creation myth, everything that is comes from Chaos. First, the primordial deities are formed from it, and begin to bring a sort of order to the cosmos; then, the successive future generations bring more and more order. One could almost say that the theme of the parent being destroyed by its own child, so prevalent in Greek mythology, appears even …show more content…
In the Greek myth, there is a clear transition from female primacy to male primacy. In the beginning, Gaea – the Earth – takes the primary role in creation, creating the Sky, the Sea and the Mountains all on her own. Then, she forms the first divine union with Ouranos, the Sky, and they are equals for a time. When they begin to have children – the Titans, the Cyclopes, the Hekatonchires – Ouranos hates them and forces them back within the earth, violently taking control, and thus the male takes primacy. Ouranos is overthrown by Cronos, his youngest son, because Gaea’s scheming, but this act only cements the male primacy, in three ways: firstly, because it is Cronos, not Gaea, who now becomes the major power in the cosmos; secondly, because Rhea, sister to Cronos, forms the second divine union with him and becomes “subject in love” to him – when she herself has children, he takes them from her the moment they are born, not unlike his father, and imprisons them within himself rather than within their mother; thirdly, and perhaps most galling of all, the responsibility of creating a child shifts completely from female to male, when Ouranos is castrated and Aphrodite is born without any involvement from a woman. When Cronos is later overthrown by Zeus, his youngest son, again because of a woman’s deceit, the male primacy is only further …show more content…
Though the main creators do still seem to be male – Baiame, the Maker of Many Things, is the one to summon the Dreamtime ancestors from “under the ground and over the seas” and helps create the sun, while the Rainbow Snake plays a significant part in shaping the land, creating bays and rivers when drowning wrongdoers, or forming rocks and hills when spitting out the bones of the ones he swallowed – all the Dreamtime ancestors have a role in the shaping of the land, and they are fluid, changing shape and gender as they please. There is, however, still some suggestion of gender roles being introduced, particularly in the narrative of the Rainbow Snake. When meting out judgement and punishing wrongdoers, the Rainbow Snake is male; when teaching humans to talk and understand, teaching them what to eat and how to dig for food, the Rainbow Snake is instead the Old Woman. Neither of these aspects is portrayed as being less or more important than the other within the myth, but it’s certainly an interesting division of duties between the

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