Love In Greek Literature Essay

2111 words - 8 pages

According to the stories by Edith Hamilton in Mythology, love can be deadly/dangerous/woeful, inevitable/necessary/destined, and sweet/helpful. To begin, Hamilton shows that love can be sweet and helpful. This is the case with Ceyx and Alcyone in “Ceyx and Alcyone.” Love ended up saving one of the lover’s life. When Ceyx went on a sea voyage, Alcyone warned him that it would be perilous and that he could die because the winds are so vicious and acute. “She told him with streaming tears and in a voice of broken sobs, that she knew as few others could the power of the winds upon the sea. In her father’s palace…‘I have seen the broken planks of ships tossed up. Oh, do not go…at least take me with you. I can endure whatever comes to us together” (110). However, Ceyx loved Alcyone so much that he did not want her to get hurt, so he did not let her go with him. A vicious hurricane hit the sea the day that Ceyx sailed. He ended up dying but was happy that Alcyone was unscathed. “The men on the quivering, battered boat mad with terror, all except one who thought only of Alcyone and rejoiced that she was in safety” (111). In this case Ceyx’s love for Alcyone was sweet and ended up helpful for his lover; had he let her come along she would have most likely died. His love for her was too strong. At the end the gods pitied the situation and resurrected Ceyx and made him and Alcyone birds so they could live happily ever after. Thus, in this story, love was helpful in two ways—it helped save Alcyone’s life, and love ultimately was responsible for turning Alcyone and Ceyx into birds where they lived happily, together, for a very long time. “Pygmalion and Galatea” also shows how love can be benevolent and helpful. Pygmalion was a “woman-hater” until he made such a beautiful sculpture of a woman, which he fell in love with (112). Venus pitied him and made the sculpture into a human being. Then the love that Pygmalion showed to the new woman replaced his disdain for woman and other things with love and benevolence. This all happened because of love. Thus, in this case, love was beneficial, helpful, and sweet.
In addition to being sweet and helpful, love is also inevitable and necessary. This is illustrated through the short story “Pyramus and Thisbe.” “They [Pyramus and Thisbe] longed to marry, but their parents forbade. Love, however, cannot be forbidden. The more that flame is covered up the hotter it burns. Also, love can always find a way” (105). This quote shows how love is inevitable—it cannot be forbidden. Thus, although they were not allowed to marry, Pyramus and Thisbe could still love each other. Their love for each other grew because they could also speak to each other through the chink in their room—this was destined. Pyramus and Thisbe tried to meet up later on to run away. When Pyramus came (after Thisbe did), he thought Thisbe was attacked by a lion because he found her bloody robe. He killed himself because of this. Thisbe saw Pyramus all bloody,...

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