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Classical Mythology - Research Paper Example

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The Portrayal of Aphrodite in Literary Works since the Ancient Times till the Baroque Period Student’s First and Last Name Student’s College Author Note Student’s First and Last Name, Department., University of. [Student’s First and Last Name] is now at Department of…
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Classical Mythology Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages .., University of..., [Address] Contact: Abstract The present essay deals with various modes of portrayal of the character of Ancient Greek goddess, Aphrodite, in belles-lettres (fiction) in the course of progressive development of literature. It will be argued that the changes in perception of Aphrodite’s image have been connected with the gradual shifts from mythological through religious to modern philosophical outlook, and that in different epochs the character of Aphrodite was used to convey radically different discursive meanings. Keywords: history of literature, mythology, Ancient literature The Portrayal of Aphrodite in Literary Works since the Ancient Times till Post-Modernity Introduction There exist different interpretations of myths in the context of literary works, with Ruthven (1976) presenting an especially coherent view of the various aspects of myth in literature. The purpose of the present study will be to provide a complex analysis of changes in representation of Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek goddess of love, sexuality and beauty, in literature. The temporal boundaries of the study extend all across the historical spectrum, with the representations of Aphrodite in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque literature being expounded and compared. Consequently, the main body of the essay will be constructed in accordance with chronological order. The main purpose of the present study is to show the connection between evolution in perception of Aphrodite as a literary character and the changes in general outlook of writers, and the larger society as well. Therefore it should be noted that in order to understand the image of Aphrodite the connection between literature, mythology and religion needs to be assumed. Interpretation of the Image of Aphrodite in Ancient Literature The perception of character of Aphrodite in the period of antiquity was invariably tied to the mythological and broadly religious attributes and functions, which were associated with this goddess. The very tale of her birth was closely connected with the concept of primal, chthonic powers that symbolized the notion of life force. For instance, according to Hesiod (Theog., 189-206), Aphrodite was born out of the seed of Uranus, when the latter was gelded by his son, Cronus, in a bid for power. When the seed of Uranus fell into the sea, it came into contact with the primal force of the Earth and from this Aphrodite was born. Her traditional epithet, Anadyomene (“the one rising from the sea”), indicates that the connection between the concepts of primal life force and carnal love among humans was keenly felt by the Ancient Greeks of Hesiodean period. The association between the image of Aphrodite and the concept of primal life force in Hesiodean theogony is further substantiated by Hesiod’s mentioning that the Erynies and Gigantes were born at the same time as Aphrodite, albeit out of Uranus’s blood, not seed. This would mean that initially Aphrodite was viewed as one of the oldest powers in the universum, rather than a mere progeny of Zeus. Further traces of archaic vision of Aphrodite’s nature and powers are enhanced by Hesiod’s mention of Aphrodite’s connection with Erotos, initially an ancient deity spawned by Chaos (Theog., 116). Erotos is later mentioned as a progeny of Aphrodite (Theog., 934), finally being depicted as a child-like god of love, rather than a potent chthonic entity. This reading of the image of Aphr ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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