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Firstly Hera not only reigns Queen in Olympus but in the Greek Essay

Paper type: Essay Pages: 6 (1392 words)

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Firstly, Hera not only reigns Queen in Olympus but in the Greek pantheon as whole. On the surface, Hera is merely chosen to thoroughly dislike the Trojans simply due to the fact that she is deemed less fanciable in the infamous account of Paris’ Judgment. She may be the Queen of the divine, yet mythologically she is rather complex and paradoxical, since she is the goddess of lawful marriage and legitimate childbirth. Thus, she constitutes her own subordination. The paradox of the Great Goddess’ plays well into patriarchy and Hera’s subordination to Zeus, her ‘husband,’ is revealed in the persecution of Lo by Hera herself, who Zeus has disguised as a cow and describes as ‘ox-eyed.

’ Further, she is the only one who dares to stand up to Zeus, the epidemy of patriarchal dominance. Hera wishes to wipe out Troy, reducing this great fortress to nothing but ashes. Her destructive nature can be traced all the way back to her origins in what is now seen as a dissident feminine mythology.

When Zeus stands in her way, she uses certain techniques such as seduction and deceit to get what she wishes, the best example of this is when she borrows Aphrodite’s girdle to stop Zeus from interfering in the battle.

There underneath the divine earth broke into young, fresh grass, / and into dewy clover, crocus and hyacinth / so thick and soft it held the hard ground deep away from them. / There they lay down together and drew about them a golden wonderful cloud, / and from it the glimmering dew descended

Here, one sees a direct account of the earth goddess Hera once were, whose union to the sky god Zeus actually causes vegetation to spring from the earth. Although this may be true, in the Iliad her main concern is that of the sanctity of marriage for humans rather than the divine. Thus, within the framework of the narrative se is much more than just an incarnation of mother earth, she is a much stronger and vigorous individual. She may concern herself with the union of two individuals, yet marriage is far from presented as a positive image of women. And, when it comes to their role it is far from favourable. When Zeus comes to the realisation that his lovemaking with his wife is part of a greater scheme, he gets furious and threatens Hera with a horrific beating. This violent punishment reminds her of the numerous others she has been victim to previously. For all Hera’s willingness to change her situation, she simply strengthens the power of the patriarch. Furthermore, in myth she is most often depicted as a wife and a queen. As a mother figure she is nothing to write home about. Doing her loveless marriage to Zeus they get two daughters and two sons where the last was lame. In Homer’s account Hera was so ashamed of her his handicap that she preceded to throw him of Mount Olympus.

Then there is a goddess we honour and respect in our house. / She saved me when I suffered much at the time of my great fall / through the will of my own brazen-faced mother, who wanted to hide me for being lame. / Then my soul would have taken much suffering had not Eurynome and Thetis caught me and held me… / No other among gods and mortal men knew about us / except Eurynome and Thetis. / They knew since they saved me

As a wife Hera may be held in high regard but as a mother she certainly is not. When it comes to Hephaestus, she has no motherly instinct, the same cannot be said for the sea nymphs who not only gave him a safe base, love and later a job. She does not seem to be a bragger either since it was only, she who knew and the sea nymphs since they saved him. She may not be much of mother but the notion of discarding one’s disabled children is not a new phenomenon apparently. Nowadays, one still hears of families neglecting their disabled children but not going as far as to murder them. Then again, some studies suggest that one should go for an abortion rather than carrying out the pregnancy if the child is disabled. Hera may have literally thrown her youngest out of Olympus, but he does get his revenge in the end. This revenge comes in the form of a gilded throne, when Hera places herself in this throne she is immediately chained with invisible chains. When Hephaestus hear of his mother falling for his trap and his fellow gods wishing him to free her, he simply answers ‘I have no mother.’ He only agrees to release Hera if he gets offered Aphrodite’s hand in marriage and all this is done in a state of significant drunkenness. In reality, this is not the only time she cruelly mistreats her own flesh and blood. Many a myth tells of her torturing and subsequent slaughtering of her many children with the skirt-caser that is Zeus. In one horrific instance she wishes Dionysus to become a plaything for the Titans. The most famous instance is by no doubt the twelve labours of Heracles. These cruelties often lead her to be depicted as a wicked stepmother rather than the caring maternal figure women should strive to be. Thus, one can conclude that she is most often depicted as malicious, irrational and power-hungry. In contrast, to how she is depicted in later myths she has a powerful origin as a powerful pre-Olympic deity.

Hesiod details the divine progression from female-dominated generations, characterised by natural, earthy emotional qualities, to the superior and rational monarchy of Olympian Zeus. Whether this corresponds to a historical change in Greek religion from emphasis on the worship of female divinities to that of male divinities is unclear…

In the quotation above one sees that at some point in history the Greek changed their worship of female deities to their male counterparts where Zeus is the most prominent. This change weakens the position of the ox-eyed Hera, making her a victim of patriarchy. O’Brien suggests that ‘Homer’s Hera rises out of the ashes of an early embodiment of matriarchal chaos.’ From this one can conclude that Hera has close connections to the creation of new life and the general creativeness of the feminine mythos. Despite this connection her marriage to Zeus puts her in such a position that she cannot obtain any power in the universe. As stated by Mary Daly: ‘As patriarchy became the dominant societal structure, a common means of legitimisation of this transition from gynocentric society was forcible marriage of the Triple Goddess.’ Here, it is seen that through marriage males can obtain power and thus we have the dynamic of ‘the ruler and the ruled.’ Building upon this a marriage should also provide a common understand and comfort which is not the case in this marriage. Further, Hera’s ‘sudden’ loss of power combined with her move down in rank leads not only to rebellion but also to her fury. Yet, this righteous fury mixed with her helplessness against the tyrant Zeus is more laughable than heroic:

Crucially, this Hera has no power to smite. However, artfully she and Sleep tame Zeus, her machinations never passage cosmic ruin. They amuse, not frighten. Zeus may be outmanoeuvred, but he has the power to smite as once before he subdued Typhon and her. This nurse of monsters has lost her bite.

Hera may have a hunger power but her inability to obtain this combined with her forced compliance with patriarchy makes her out to be merely a shell of what she once may have been. These goddesses also have an inner discussion with their former selves and how to present the primal ‘Great Mother.’ According to Jean Shinoda Bolen, a feminist psychologist: ‘The Great Mother Goddess became fragmented into many lesser goddesses, each receiving attributes that had once belonged to her.’ This simply suggests that what once was has only been cut down to something lesser. One can see Aphrodite and Athena as significant examples of this ‘Great Mother.’ They seem to be a somewhat satisfactory model for the woman who wishes to stand up the patriarch. Hera is not the only goddess with great cosmic powers one encounters in this great narrative.

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Firstly Hera not only reigns Queen in Olympus but in the Greek. (2019, Nov 22). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/firstly-hera-not-only-reigns-queen-in-olympus-but-in-the-greek-best-essay

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