Many of the myths had tales of violence, but from the Greek Gods the tales were centered around. These gods were considered heroes in many cases, take a look at Hercules for example, he is described in the text (p. 569) as “the greatest hero of Greece. ” But take a peek at his story, and you will see that he could be considered the most violent. Hercules was the son to Zeus and a mortal wife, which Juno, Zeus’s Goddess wife (and sister), did not approve of and never let Hercules live down.
It actually caused him to go crazy and murder his wife and 3 kids, before exiling himself from the gods and that family to seek forgiveness. He also seeks to become and immortal god when he comes across Hera and is told to do these twelve labors which were all more violent, and slightly immoral, then the next, slay this beast, kill that demon, and steal from this god, clean after that one. Though violent the acts of some gods throughout the myths, they do seem to hold still in their purpose to entertain, the stories are still being told.
Think about it if in the story there wasn’t a bad guy, or a romance happening, the story needs a plot something exciting that leads up to a climax and so on, for the time period that myths were coming about and the area they derived from there is no surprise that there is violence. Only then this wasn’t considered a problem these myths were actually used to explain daily phenomenon’s and teach lessons as well. Violence was an everyday occurrence then whether it was hunting for dinner or their idea of sports violence was present so of course it was present in their tales.
Not only was violence not the same as we think of it the main characters in the stories were gods, immortal beings, that could do no wrong, they were completely justified in their godly world of make believe. The fought with each other, they slayed beasts, destroyed things and animals, and this was their way of living it was a fight to get to the top type attitude. The men were macho, they went out and fought like warriors and hunted, while much like the myths the women were the objects of romance and fertility and such creatures.
What does this type of attitude toward cruelty say about the Greeks? Of that time nothing, they were making up these stories off what they knew and lived, then also adding an exaggerated imagination to the mix and got myths. What does it say about their view of the universe? Well the Greeks thought they were superior to others, that they essentially were the gods themselves and had the power. They thought were immortal and better and more exquisite then other cultures of the time.