Mythology: Differences in Gender Regarding Divine Vengeance Essay

1103 Words Nov 30th, 2012 5 Pages
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
…show more content…
Zeus visited her often and eventually impregnated her, enraging Hera; which lead her to persecute Semele. Hera, disguised as an old, frail lady, went and paid the young princess a visit. She started questioning her about her pregnancy and began putting doubt in Semele’s head that Zeus was not really who he said he was, knowing full well that she would ask him to prove it to her. When Semele asked this of Zeus, he could not refuse and appeared to her in his glorified form; as a result, it was too much, and it incinerated her. Once Hera, got rid of her, she moved on to Ino and Athamas, Semele’s sister and brother-in-law. She turned them insane and subsequently, the couple murdered their children before taking their own lives.
The story of Aphrodite and Metharme is also a great example of female gods using widely destructive punishments. Metharme’s sufferings all arise from her arrogance towards the goddess. She claimed that Myrrha, her daughter, was more beautiful than Aphrodite herself. In doing so, she brought about the untimely death of her daughter and husband, Cinyras. When hearing Metharme’s claim, Aphrodite reacted by making Myrrha fall in love with Cinyras. Confused, he committed incest and slept with his own daughter for twelve nights. After realizing what he had done, he tried murdering Myrrha, but instead she was turned into the myrrh tree. Next, he took his own life. Even though Aphrodite did not directly harm Metharme, she took away everything

Related Documents