Gilgamesh Hercules Theseus Essay

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men and women depicted in two of the texts? What do some of the explicit and implicit treatments say about the culture's view on men and women? How do the authors use the relationship between the main character and another person or groups of people to highlight characteristics of the main character and his or her development? How conscious and articulate are the male and female characters about their social position?

In the myths of Hercules and Theseus the gender roles are specifically treated and the way in which men and women are portrayed is very deliberate and imply certain suggestions about men and women. For instance, one common trend with these texts is how women are portrayed as either beguiling creatures or as shrews. This is immediately true from the birth story of Hercules. The birth story of Hercules begins with his father's infidelity: Zeus cheated on his wife Hera with the beautiful Alcmene. The very fact that this occurred, speaks to the ability of women to tempt and beguile men, causing them to engage in detrimental actions. It also speaks to a portrayal of men as lacking loyalty and fidelity and who are unable to be faithful to one woman, but can be persuaded and compromised by nearly any beautiful woman. In the myth of Theseus, it is the Princess Aethra who informs him of his gifts; this re-establishes the portrayal of women as these elusive, ethereal creatures, who have knowledge perhaps not commonly possessed by most people, and who can choose to offer up that information or not at will.

Regarding the myth of Hercules, the portrayal of women demonstrates how a common theme which arises quite often in Greek mythology is that women are often strongly motivated by revenge, and revenge at all costs.
Hera's reaction to the pregnancy demonstrates another polar opposite in the portrayal of women: she tries to stop the birth of the product of this affair (which turned out to be Hercules). This demonstrates a very common way in which women are portrayed in Greek mythology: irrational and vindictive. This myth portrays how Hera will blame an innocent baby for her husband's infidelities, going even so far as to putting snakes in the crib of the baby. Hera's revenge and desire for revenge apparently knows no bounds: once Hercules married Megara and was living domestically with her and very happy, Hera sent a fit of madness over to Hercules which caused him to murder his entire family. This turn of events also demonstrates another common trend in the ways that genders are portrayed within Greek mythology: men are often depicted as being easily controllable by women. This theme also occurs in the….....

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