Zeus and Rulership in Hesiod’s “Theogony”


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Essay #: 057130
Total text length is 5,973 characters (approximately 4.1 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Zeus and Rulership in Hesiod's "Theogony"
In Hesiod's classic work Theogony (“origin of gods”) the great god Zeus comes to assume a preeminent place in the pre-classical Greek pantheon, despite the fact that he represents only the third generation of divine beings (following the primal beings such as Ouranos and Gaia, and the Titans). Zeus himself is in fact the youngest of the offspring of Kronos and Rhea (Theogony 455-60). Even to be safely born, away from the consuming desire of his father Kronos, Zeus had to be hidden away on Crete. Yet despite this inauspicious beginning and questionable lineage, Zeus returns to to wage a great war against his own forebears the Titans to establish his own rule of the world. Zeus is unquestionably the...
The end:
..... and not really resolved in the Theogony. To take the most obvious example, we read later in the Theogony of Zeus punishing all mankind collectively as a result of Prometheus' first deception (the false sacrifice) in lines 560-65. Here, it is stated that “even so, Zeus who thunders on high made women to be an evil to mortal men, with a nature to do evil” (600-05). This sort of vengeful punishment cannot easily be reconciled with the wise judgments referred to in lines 85-91, and mark a point where the unpredictable and often unjust nature of the divine comes into conflict with human expectations of rulership.
Work Cited
Hesiod. Works and Days and Theogony. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Ed. Robert Lamberton. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing 1993.