Deception's Role In Greek Mythology

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Deception and lies both play large roles in Greek mythology. Even Zeus, who is said to punish liars, frequently tricks both mortals and immortals. Although it always has a prominent role in myths, deceit is a powerful factor in the myths of Prometheus, Nessus, and Zeus. Prometheus was the wisest of the Titans, and the most dedicated fighter on behalf of humanity. Prometheus was the Titan who brought fire to mortals, even against Zeus’s will. The fire myth shows compassion, however, while the myth about sacrifices shows Prometheus’s more mischievous side. Hesiod’s Theogony outlines the myth. Prometheus is said to have split up a cow and hid the bones under fat, and the meat underneath organs. When Zeus was asked to pick a sacrifice, he chose…show more content…
Ironically, Zeus is said to punish liars, while he is the most deceptive god in Greece. Zeus was known for his numerous affairs and mistresses, and the problem was so pervasive that Greek women used to worry that their baby was Zeus’s. The most devious trick Zeus played was on Alcmene. He came to her as her husband and slept with her, all the while making her think she was loyal to her husband. This trick bore Hercules, but not all of Zeus’s romantic trips were so clever. When he attempted to hide Io, Zeus simply covered the Earth with a cloud. Hera immediately noticed something was wrong, and when she came down to investigate, her husband turned his lover into a heifer. Both of these myths hint that the Lord of the Sky is actually desperate. As in the myth of Europa, Zeus was willing to demean himself for the chance to sleep with a mortal woman. In order to get Europa, Zeus was convinced to turn into a bull and kidnap unsuspecting Europa. All of these myths outline Zeus’s desperation and rashness, but also something deeper within Greek society. Zeus performing all of these immoral deeds showed a more human side of himself, which was a chief factor in devising the
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