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Child Abuse In A Hero, A God, And A Monster

1190 words - 5 pages

Abuse has always been a problem throughout the history of the world. Abuse is suffered in various forms such as physical, emotional, and verbal. But all abuse is very harmful, especially when it is experienced by a child. There are many stories in Greek mythology that show various types of abuse, but most prevalent are the acts that target children. Three figures in Greek mythology that face child abuse are Heracles, Hephaestus, and the Minotaur.
The first abused figure is the hero Heracles. He is one of the most known figures that faces abuse throughout his childhood and into adulthood. Heracles’ prime abuser is his stepmother, Hera. First of all, Hera shows the classic signs of blaming ...view middle of the document...

It is wrong that Heracles is being punished throughout his life for things he does not have control of, such as being born from an affair.
The second abused Greek figure is the god of smiths, Hephaestus. To start, most stories that speak about his birth say he is born rather unsightly. Nobody celebrates his birth. Hera is so ashamed by her grotesque son that “Before anyone can stop her, she picked up her son and hurled him off Olympus, straight into the sea” (Martin 88). That fall is what makes him lame. According to Martin “Hera never knew her lame son’s fate she never gave him a second thought” (89). By the time Hephaestus matures in the sea with Thetis, he is found to be skilled at making jewelry. When Hera hears of the skilled craftsman, she “…divined that it is her own son and demanded him back” (Evslin 50). She only wants her son back because he becomes useful to her, not because she cares for him. When Hephaestus returns to his new home on Olympus, Hera gives him a decrepit mountain as a place to work and live. Notably, she does not give him a home like the other gods have and has him making her fine things with Cyclopes around the clock. Sacks writes that Hephaestus once “…took his mother’s side in a quarrel between her and Zeus, and this time Zeus threw him down from the mountain” (Par. 3). Despite everything, Hephaestus agrees to go back only because “…he loved her and excused her cruelty to him” (Evslin 50). Hephaestus has only been searching for his mother’s approval and tries to do anything to be the child she wants. Truly, it is an example of extreme emotional abuse by just having the child step into an adult argument, not to mention being openly mortified of what his or her appearance.
The third and one of the most misunderstood abuse victims is the so called monster, the Minotaur. One of the most frightening monsters in Greek mythology is truly a victim in disguise. First of all, since he is born out of wedlock, and of a bull, he is treated like an outsider. Since he is treated like a monster, he becomes one: a self-fulfilling prophecy, also known as the observer expectancy or the Pygmalion Effect. Minos treats his stepson like a prisoner, so much so that “When the Minotaur was born Minos…had Daedalus…construct a place of confinement for him from which escape was...

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