The select readings that the class has discussed this semester have covered a variety of literature that has made an impact on how I now view life and the world around me. The stories of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s The Aeneid, Jonathan Kirsch’s God against the Gods and Elaine Pagels’ Origin of Satan have affected my personal beliefs to the extent that I have started to think more critically about certain moral issues in life. Impact of Literature Personal Growth In Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, I have finally realized several points and issues about fighting for something and protecting it.
I also learned how much risks and sacrifices that these characters of Achilles, Hector, and Odysseus can lay down for the sake of keeping what is rightfully theirs. Each character possesses braveness and honor that enable them to become stronger in their pursuits and battles. The role of women is also notable in these epic stories as their status supports the development of the male characters.
Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, reat fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, (Iliad, lines 1-5) Achilles, a skillful warrior is introduced in the opening of Homer’s The Iliad. He represents a stereotypical masculinity which is often known as bold, daring, brave, and egotistical. I realized that men of Homer’s time are likely to become more established based on the battle skills that they possessed. When he defeated Hector in public in a single battle, he earns further respect from his colleagues and enemies.
Odysseus, on the other hand, is just like any other real man who has a defining character of what a leader should be; nobility, courage, intellect, thirst for glory and authority. He has a loving wife Penelope who perfectly fulfills domestic roles back home. Though she has not seen Odysseus in twenty years, she never loses faith that her husband will come back and that they will live happy again. Her faithfulness and loyalty illustrates a perfect representation of a wife who is truly in love and a woman who is dutiful to her husband. Aenas in The Aeneid, is one of the heroes of classical literature.
At some point his character can be associated with that of Jesus Christ. To fully grasp and understand the context of their characters as heroes, one must understand their societal and cultural background. A hero should not be aloof and removed to their present reality. They should conform and adjust but should make a difference. Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark and Aenas in the poem of Virgil are heroic characters that illustrate acceptance of the workings and providence of the Gods as fate. They both represent the virtue of accepting and performing one’s duty.
Though Aenas is a son of the goddess Venus and who receives special providence from the gods, Aenas is still considered mortal while Jesus is both God and man. Aenas is sometimes driven by his unhappiness and emotional impulses to accept his destined path but he chooses obey and follow still. Aenas is for the glory of Rome but Jesus Christ is for the glory of God, the Father. Meanwhile, Kirsch’s God against the Gods made me think twice about the nature of monotheism and polytheism in our country.
Kirsch points out in this book that monotheism is the one responsible for the world war problems today. monotheism turned out to inspire a ferocity and even a fanaticism that are mostly absent from polytheism” (Kirsch 2). I support his claim that monotheism is really a problem if this world needs peace. People have different beliefs and to tell the other that his or her belief is wrong is very crucial to a relationship. With the examples that he pointed out in his book about Jews, Muslims and Christians, I realized that these religions are actually just worshipping a god that has common features. I came to a conclusion that religion is not as important to a person’s spirituality as one’s personal relationship with God.
No matter what a person’s religion is, it does not really matter as long as people believe in something and they respect other people’s beliefs as well. Pagels’ Origin of Satan made me realize that amidst the promises of stories about love in The New Testament, the power of Satan is present amongst its stories especially in the crucifixion story. I came to a realization that biblical stories tell more than what meets the eye. With an in-depth analysis, it got me into thinking that to be able to fully understand and comprehend what the Bible really has to offer, I have to finish the book and consult scholarly sources.
Conclusion These stories enable me to think and analyze the world around me and its history in a much critical way. History is written in these books and their still manifesting significance in our society today. Personally, as a Christian I still believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I eventually conform to the idea of heaven and hell, of the Second Coming, of the body of Sacred Writings but I was restricted to the limits of what my religion teaches me and tells me what to do. However, upon reading these literary works, I realized that as an individual, I must think for myself and conform to the ideas which I think is right as a human being.
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