ch 4-alienation of human and diving

ch 4-alienation of human and diving - CHAPTER 4 ALIENATION...

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CHAPTER 4 ALIENATION OF THE HUMAN AND DIVINE: PROMETHEUS, FIRE, AND PANDORA MAIN POINTS 1. The ambiguity of Hesiod’s creation account also exists in his view of human history: with Zeus as the new leader of the gods, the universe is less chaotic, but humans are worse off than before. 2. When Prometheus steals fire from the gods and gives it to humans, Zeus, already angered by Prometheus’s tricking him into accepting the inferior parts of the sacrifice, chains him to a mountain crag, where an eagle feasts on his liver. 3. While Hesiod describes Prometheus as a mere trouble-making trickster (an archetypal character), other versions of the myth show him as cultural hero and even as creator of the first human being. 4. The trickster archetype is common to many mythologies. Typically, this character is cunning, quick-witted, and mischievous. He loves to outsmart others and cause trouble. He may also be a cultural hero. 5. According to Hesiod, the mentality of the trickster was critical in shaping the cosmos and human society. Uranus, Cronus, Zeus, Prometheus, and Hermes all repesent this archetype. 6. Hesiod depicts Prometheus as a troublemaker. Aeschylus, in Prometheus Bound , emphasizes his philanthropy (love of humanity), which motivates his interference with Zeus. 7. Hermes, although a quintessential trickster, is also indispensable in various ways to Zeus’s government of the universe. Autolycus, his son, is a notorious human trickster and also maternal grandfather of Odysseus—another superb trickster. 8. Aeschylus turns Hesiod’s depictions of Zeus and Prometheus on their ear. In Prometheus Bound , Zeus is an immature and tyrannical ruler and Prometheues is a champion of freedom. 9. In Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound , Prometheus suffers a terrible punishment after giving fire—a metaphor for all the arts of civilization—to miserable human beings. 10. To punish men for accepting Prometheus’s gift, Zeus has Hephaestus make the first woman, Pandora. Before Pandora, men mingled with the gods; after her appearance, the gods withdraw from the world of mortals. 11. Here Hesiod emphasizes a connection between food, sacrifice, fire, cooking, and woman: the guilt of killing a fellow creature and the breaking of human ties to nature is compounded by cooking and eating the animal. As a result of this act, human ties to the gods are also broken: cooking and using the sacrificial ox as a medium of communication means that the gods will no longer dine with men but will only inhale the smoke of the sacrifice. 12. The Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions agree on seeing woman as the catalyst of humanity’s historical decline.
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13. Pandora opens a jar, her gift from Zeus, releasing all evils but retaining Hope. Her act ends the Golden Age. She serves the same mythic function as Eve in
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ch 4-alienation of human and diving - CHAPTER 4 ALIENATION...

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