Religion In Homer's The Bacchae And The Aeneid

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The definition of the word religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. The Greeks and Romans, during the Trojan War, prayed, and made sacrifices to their gods, to better their chances of winning the war, or simply beating their opponent; in literature, the relationship between gods and devotees are portrayed much differently. Even though the stories contain different religions, Euripides’s the Bacchae, Homer’s the Odyssey, and Virgil’s the Aeneid discusses religion in terms of personal needs, or popularity, amongst the gods, rather than devotion and good deeds. The Bacchae by Euripides is an ancient Greek tragedy based on the myth of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother, Agave, …show more content…
The epic is filled with gods and goddess trying to protect, or harm – depending on which god we are discussing – Odysseus. Goddess of wisdom and battle, Athena, has a special interest in Odysseus. She helps him out of many tough situations throughout various parts of his journey, including protecting his identity from those who may harm him, and shipwrecks. Athena does her best to protect him and give him the best chance to return home. On the other hand, Poseidon, god of the sea, is determined to make sure Odysseus’s journey home much more difficult than it needs to be. In book three of the epic poem, Athena becomes frustrated by the actions of Poseidon that she says, “Hear us, Poseidon, who circle the earth and do not begrudge us the accomplishment of all these actions for which we pray you. First of all, to Nestor and to his sons grant glory, and then on all the rest of the Pylians besides confer gracious recompense in return for this grand hecatomb, and yet again grant that Telemachos and I go back with that business done for which we came this way in our black ship. ' (Odyssey, 3.55-61) Within this scene, the readers get to understand that Athena is praying to Zeus, asking him to tell Poseidon to grant Odysseus safe passage on the ocean; although, throughout the Odyssey, he is actively portrayed as …show more content…
The epic has a similar feel to the Odyssey, the only difference being the Aeneid is written from a Trojan’s perspective. The gods, however, are portrayed in a similar light of causing destruction for personal gain or simply for fun. The gods are displayed by having very distinctive personalities and taking a more active approach in fulfilling their wishes. This can be shown when Jupiter calls a council on Mount Olympus to mediate between Venus and Juno to discuss the fates of Aeneas and Turnus, the leader of the Latin warriors. This shows how the god’s alliances drive the plot of the story. In book two, a few lines before the complete destruction of Troy, the line says, “When gods are contrary; They stand by no one.” (Aeneid, 2.532-533). This line is there to demonstrate that if you honor the gods with sacrifices and prayers, they will be on your side, but if they don’t like you, it can be deadly; the fact that Troy falls within the next few lines supports that

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