First Beings Essay

1072 words - 4 pages

In Hesiod’s Theogony, the story of “First Beings” (Theog. 116-138) told by Hesiod himself provided a fundamental to understanding of the Greek conception of the early history of the universe. Hesiod illustrated that the creation of the universe and all life started with the four primal beings, Chaos, Gaia, Tartarus, and Eros. Throughout the passage, several lines provided an explanation on how the universe was first created, and how life first started. The passage chosen illustrates the importance of the four primal beings, and each playing a significant role of the creation of life. Throughout this essay, it will discuss, the four primal beings contribution to the early creation of the universe, Gaia’s contribution to the creation of life, such as her parthenogenesis creation and later leading to procreation, and Chaos’s input of early creation of life as well.

The Greek’s conception of the creation of the universe started with the four primal beings. “First of all Chasm came into beings; but next wide-breasted Earth… and dim Tartarus … and Eros…” (Theog. 116-120). Chasm or also known as Chaos was perceived as a female parthenogenesis being, and represented unformed matter, an empty infinite space (Nelson, 26, 18) that surrounded Earth. The passage then introduces Earth or also known as Gaia as the second primal beings. The passage identified Gaia as a personification of Earth, providing a home to all immortals and mortals. Next, Tartarus was identified, “dim Tartarus in nook of the wide-pathed land” (Theog. 119), representing the lowest part of the underworld (Nelson, 26, 20). The term “nook” signifies a hidden or secluded spot (Merriam Webster, 2013), an area that is unknown, and deep below the surface of Earth. The Greeks conception of Tartarus represented a lower part of the underworld; it provided the Greeks an explanation of death. Finally, the last being that was introduced was Eros, responsible for desire (Nelson, 26, 21) and causing all creation to be procreated. In the line “Eros, most beautiful among the immortal gods, limb-weakener, who masters the mind and sensible counsel in the breasts of all gods and all men” (Theog. 120-122) illustrates and supports that Eros is responsible for the sexual desire, the driving force behind procreation. The use of the term “limb-weakener” can be interpreted several ways, but summarized as someone’s beauty causing the limbs to be weakened, such as the knees because they are anxious or have “butterflies in the stomach”.

In the Theogony “From Chasm were born Erebus (Darkness) and black Night” (Theog. 123) the parthenogenic children of Chasm or also know Chaos, Night and Erebus is a personification of darkness. From the parthenogenic creation of Night, also known as Nyx, Aether and Day are born. In the following quote “From Night were born Aether (Brightness) and Day, whom she conceived and bore, joined in love with Erebus” (Theog. 124-125) signifies the beginning creation of life from the...

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