Significant Meanings Regarding the Myth of Cronus
Significant Meanings Regarding the Myth of Cronus
As Hesiod stated in Theogony (126-491), the Titan son, Cronus was born to the Greek God of the sky Uranus, and Gaia, the mother of earth. Cronus had eleven Titan brothers and sisters, and was the brother of three Cyclops, as well as the invincible Hecatonchires. For no particularly defined reason, after each of his children were born, Uranus chose to hide them in the depths of the earth or Gaia. At one point, Gaia devised a plan to free her children, which led to the removal of Uranus from power. In doing so, Cronus was now in control of the throne during the Golden Ages.
After doing so, Cronus chose his sister Rhea as his mate. For fear that his promised destiny envisioned him being dethroned by his offspring, much like the fate of his father, Cronus swallowed each of his offspring as they were born, until one day being deceived by Rhea; which allowed his son Zeus to become the new ruler of all. (Pages 60, 67-70). The story about Cronus is one of the most important myths in Greek Mythology as it explains the very basics of human nature, thoughts and desires when combined with greed, overconfidence, and power.
Although Cronus strived for everlasting power, and was willing to do anything to stay in control, he may have been emotionally torn in regards to the methods he took. This is stressed repeatedly in the fact that as stated by Morford, Lenardon and Sham in Classical Mythology; most depictions of Cronus show him to be sad or depressed and always with his sickle in hand (Page 70). The fact that he is displayed as sad demonstrates that with all the power in the world, he still is not happy with what he is.
The sickle represents the fact that he is continuously on guard against possible actions against him as well as the brute force that he will use in order to retain power. Although not mythical creatures, political figures have allowed this to occur in our recent history. Regardless of their initial reasoning for taking office, at times political leaders get so wrapped up in the power that their office represents that they imprison or slaughter political opponents, and strip certain rights away from citizens due to the aranoia that they face.
Modern day examples of this could be seen in countries such as North Korea, Iran and a fragment of the United States population may also claim America is headed in this direction. This demonstrates that regardless of initial motivations, leaders occasionally stray from their natural behavior once they are faced with possible resistance. The harsh actions carried out by Cronus may have also been fueled by the harsh treatment and abandonment that he felt was carried out by his father Uranus.
Based on the tactics Cronus carried out once he was in power, it is safe to conclude that he did not necessarily oppose the actions his father carried out as much as he simply opposed the fact that those actions were directed at him, and limited his rise to power. Cronus had every opportunity to become a hero in this story, however due to the fall of grace that he witnessed with Uranus; the idea that he may lose control of his kingdom quickly controlled his actions and turned him into a paranoid villain at the end.
It is quite possible that if Uranus as a role model to Cronus chose a different path in regards to handling his power, Cronus may have reacted differently if or when he was given the chance to lead. Another lesson this story exhibits is that regardless of people thinking they know best, human beings more often than not repeat the same mistakes that their previous generations made in the past. As Hesiod stated in Theogony (459-467), there would be negative repercussions for the actions that Cronus was taking, regardless of this, he continued on his path for absolute power (Page 69).
Common day examples of this phenomenon can be seen in everyday life. Individual action such as the tragic results of drinking and driving or smoking still take place today, regardless of the fact that we already know the possible long term repercussions of these actions. On a larger scale, it can also be seen with global events such as repeated wars with no foreseen positive outcome. Repeated mistakes and consequences have tainted both our world and Classical Mythology throughout the ages.
The fact that Cronus was deceived into believing a simple stone was Zeus as Hesiod stated in Theogony (481-491) displayed that Cronus fell victim to overconfidence regarding his plan to retain control of power, or at the very least was an example a lack of vigilance. (Page 70). Regardless of all the protocols that Cronus was taking in order to retain complete power; one remote instance of carelessness during a critical moment in his life eventually led to his downfall. Hesiod was attempting to demonstrate that regardless of the situation one fines themselves in; you should never be so overconfident that you become complacent.
In a time before modern science and vast exploration of the earth, the story surrounding the life of Cronus was a means to clarify the unexplainable negative actions some people make in regards to human nature and society. The classical mythology surrounding Cronus demonstrated missteps, lack of judgment, greed and insecurities that led to his eventual downfall. The actions of Cronus were simply driven by his ambition to gain and retain power. The downfall of Cronus was mostly brought upon by his insecurities as well as greed.
Cronus was brought into existence by Hesiod in order to display the insecurities and irrational behaviors of some of those in power. It served as a metaphor at that time, one that is still effective as displayed in politics today. Politics aside, it also served an example of the common evil and greed that is displayed on a daily basis in our world. The rise and fall of Cronus has taught many important lessons that were significant when it was written and the lessons still hold true to this day.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 November 2016
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