Greek Gods in Antigone

Charles Wallace Mrs. Lopale CP English 10 7 May 2012 The Greek Gods and Their Role in Antigone The Greek gods were thought of as the most powerful forces to ever exist in ancient times. In turn, they played a pivotal role in the Greek people’s lives. Their power and influence over the Greek people is evident in many of the stories in Greek literature. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, the most powerful Greek gods, each played a part in the story of Antigone by Sophocles. Throughout the play, “God” refers to Zeus, the king of gods. Antigone’s main motive for defying Creon is that she does not think Creon is doing what the gods would want. Which of us can say what the gods hold wicked. ” That quote means that Antigone does not think people can understand the way gods think. Haimon references Zeus when asking Creon not to punish Antigone too harshly. Creon swears to the gods that he will kill Antigone in front of Haimon. At the end of the play, Creon realizes that “the laws of the gods are mighty, and a man must serve them to the last day of his life. ” The messenger also prayed to Persephone and Hades to beg that Haimon and Antigone are still alive. Antigone knew that she would die if she went against Creon, but figured disrespecting the gods was more dangerous.

She had so much faith in the gods that she never doubted that she was doing the right thing – “I know I am pleasing those I should please most. ” Although the gods were rarely directly mentioned, they were in control of mostly everything. (Sophocles. ) There are three main Greek gods, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. They are the most powerful gods because they are the sons of the most powerful titan, Cronus. They rule the three domains of Earth. Zeus is king of the sky and heavens, Poseidon is king of the sea, and Hades is the ruler of the Underworld.

They got assigned their domains in a random draw. (Gall. ) Zeus is the king of all the gods. He controls the sky and heaven domain, and is the most powerful of all the gods. His weapon is a thunderbolt, in which he uses to cast lightening down at people. The eagle, scepter, or the lightning bolt is usually used as a symbol for Zeus. The Oak tree is also a sacred symbol of his. Greek mortals made many sacrifices to him and built many sanctuaries in his honor. In ancient Greece, any mortal who claimed to be a child of Zeus gained instant respect from the other mortals.

He was also looked at as not just one of the many gods, but God himself. Zeus has been mentioned in nearly every work of ancient Greek literature that has survived to the present day. (Gall. ) Zeus’ story is a lot like Oedipus’, Antigone’s father, story. Uranus, the first king of the universe, and Gaea, the Earth mother, made a prophecy that Zeus would become king of the gods. Cronus knew that one day, one of his sons would overthrow him, so he swallowed every child that his wife, Rhea, gave birth to. However, when the sixth child was born, Rhea hid him and tricked Cronus in to swallowing a stone instead.

She fled to the island of Crete and left Zeus there, fearing for her safety. When Zeus grew up, he knew he was ready to defeat his father. He knew he would need held, though, so he got his wife, Metis, to feed Cronus a herb that would make him throw all of Zeus’ brothers and sisters up. It worked, and Hera, Demeter, Poseidon, Hades, and Hestia were freed. Together, they all defeated Cronus, and Zeus was the new king of the gods. (Gall. ) Poseidon is the Greek god of the sea. He is known for being violent and moody, and he carried a three-pronged spear called a trident.

The horse and dolphin are considered his sacred animals. Poseidon is often referred to as the “Earth shaker”, because he sends out earthquakes when he is not happy. He is also the son of Cronus and Rhea, and is the second most powerful god. He is one of the three supreme gods of the Earth. (Gall. ) In one of his temper tantrums, Poseidon realized he was not happy with his ocean domain, and wanted to try and overthrow his brother, Zeus, and become king of the gods himself. Poseidon asked for help from Apollo, the god of light and music. Together, they bound Zeus with chains.

Zeus had too much strength and power and freed himself very quickly. Zeus was furious with Apollo and Poseidon. As punishment, he sent them to work as laborers for Laomedon, the king of Troy, a city in what is now considered Turkey. Laomedon promised a very big reward if they could build a wall around the city of Troy. However, after they built the wall, Laomedon refused to honor his agreement and did not pay them for their work. In turn, Poseidon and Apollo sent a plague and a sea monster to destroy the city of Troy. (Gall. ) Hades is the Greek God and ruler of the Underworld.

He is often associated with wealth and agriculture. He is also the son of Cronus and Rhea and the third most powerful Greek god. Unlike his two brothers, his realm cannot be seen by anyone living. The Greeks believe that his name, Hades, means “The Unseen One. ” He is the only god that does not live on Mount Olympus; he has his own glittering palace made of pure gold and gems in the Underworld. The Greeks believe that when mortals die, their souls go to the Underworld. The Underworld is thought of as a dark and gloomy place, with ghosts flittering around everywhere.

When the dead entered the Underworld, they drank from the river Lethe to forget their lives on Earth. That is when they become ghosts. Hades is often considered the evil god by many of the Greeks. (Gall. ) Hades lived a very lonely life alone in the Underworld. He had an infatuation with a specific goddess, Persephone, daughter of Demeter, the goddess of harvest. Hades kidnapped Persephone and made her his queen. For years, Persephone demanded that she be brought back to her mother, but Hades did not listen. Demeter demanded that she would not allow anything to grow for the mortals until Persephone had been returned.

As the mortals started suffering, Zeus decided it was time to step in. He demanded that Hades let Persephone go. Persephone had already eaten the fruit of the Underworld, though and could not return. Zeus made a deal with Hades that Persephone had to stay in the Underworld for six months out of the year, and could stay with her mother the other half. (Gall. ) The Greek gods played a big role in many of the lives in ancient Greece. Although they are not as well known or referenced today in Greece, they play a big part in the literature and history of Greece.

Works Cited Sophocles. “Antigone. ” Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Douglas Fisher, Beverly Ann Chin, and Jacqueline Jones Rayster. Comlubus, OH: Glencoe/McGraw Hill, 2009. Gall, Timothy and Susan. “Zeus. ” The Lincoln Library of Greek and Roman Mythology. Vol. 5. Cleveland: Eastward, 2006. Gall, Timothy and Susan. “Poseidon. ” The Lincoln Library of Greek and Roman Mythology. Vol. 5. Cleveland: Eastward, 2006. Gall, Timothy and Susan. “Hades. ” The Lincoln Library of Greek and Roman Mythology. Vol. 5. Cleveland: Eastward, 2006.

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