Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is It The Power Of Love?

“Men seemed to have failed completely to comprehend the power of Eros, for if they did comprehend it, they would have built to him the greatest altars and temples and offered the greatest sacrifices, whereas he is given none of these honors, although he should have them most of all…”


From Aristophanes’ Speech in the Symposium

Please use any of the myths we read about love to critique or support this quotation? In your response, react, evaluate, challenge, or contemplate. (Please complete this blog response by Tue., Feb. 26th, 2013.)

18 comments:

Spencer E said...

The quotation suggests that Eros should be worshiped most of all. This is contradictory to what I believe, for in all of the Greek myths, the love stories end in tragedy. If this Greek God only contributes to sorrow than for what reason should he be worshiped? In the Pyramus and Thisbe myth the lovers kill themselves for love, "Only death would have the power to separate us. It shall have that power now." Also in the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, Orpheus loses his love for he cannot bare to not see Eurydice's face, "She slipped back into darkness. All he heard was one faint word, 'farewell'". If love is lost there is not point in worshiping its provider.

EvanP said...

Oftentimes the primary goal of ancient Greek rituals and worship was to appease the Gods, so they would not cause harm to the people. In this context, I completely agree with the quotation, because arguably no God was more prone to wreak havoc and despair on the people of Greece than Eros. In all 8 lover’s tales we read, one common thread runs through all of them: Love, though initally pleasing, wound up causing great heartache, pain, and even death. Though he is often not considered one of the more powerful gods, there is no doubt in my mind that Eros deserved all the offerings and sacrifices suggested by Aristophanes.

LivvyW said...

This quote is basically glorifies the great Eros and that he should be a primary God to pray to, that he is above other Gods. However, I feel as though when it comes to Greek myths, such as the Eight Brief Tales of Lovers, all their is, is death and sorrow. Just look at the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Just when they found true love it was quickly taken from them and denied yet again until he was dead. Then we move straight into Ceyx and Alycone where there is yet again death and sorrow, "The tide was setting in and the thing came nearer and nearer until she knew it was a dead body." So you see, if we were to follow what this quote is implying, then you might as well worship Hades or a God of Sadness because that is all Eros seems to bring.

Michael L said...

It seems that oftentimes in Greek mythology, certain gods were worshiped in order to invoke their favor or protection. For this reason, powerful gods such as Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon were worshiped, others, such as Demeter, were worshiped out of consideration for the services that they provided, but to worship a god of love, with love being such a fickle thing, seems quite foolish, since it love is irrational and does not respect the laws of logic or reason. In the Cupid and Psyche myth, Psyche is made to do nearly impossible tasks for merely gazing upon the face of her husband, in Thisbe and Pyramus, the two lovers are killed for the sake of love, and Orpheus looses his wife for good for checking that she is still behind him. Not only would the worship of such an irrational god be useless, it might also be quite dangerous to draw attention to oneself.

Kaela F. said...

The emotion of love is considered today something that men have to hide. Society has decided that love is an emotion for women, therefore it is not manly to show love. If a man does show love, he is considered a weak and too emotional person. If men built temples to love society would consider them love sick and pathetic. Early man, such as the Greeks, were not worried so much about love as they were just surviving because they did not have the immense luxuries we have today. That is where the idea was formed that love is for women and weak men, and it has carried over through the ages.

AlexanderB2013 said...

Love has always been a very powerful force, occasionally more than most others. It would be easy to imagine that Eros would be venerated above all. But for every doting couple, there is at least one broken heart. Love hurts more often than not, and the deity in charge can easily be blamed for it. Love is a double edged knife, and throughout history has been praised and scorned in equal measures. It only makes sense that Eros would be as well.

coltonn13 said...

I believe that love is worshiped above all else. Everyone craves for love, it's what brings peole togehter and what makes people happy. the people of this time should have been grateful for their god Eros and should have worshiped him above all else. However, I agree with AlexanderB2013 when he states that love can more often hurt than it makes people feel good. Their are broken hearts which nothing can amount to or match in this world. Love id a relationshipof love and hatred or envy of another.

coltonn13 said...
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KarynH2014 said...

In this quote, Aristophanes said that Eros should be worshiped most out of all the Greek gods. I find this a little misguided because in Cupid (Eros) and Psyche it was another goddess, Aphrodite, and Psyche’s sisters who tampered with Cupid and Psyche’s relationship. In most of the eight lovers myths only sorrow and despair came from love. In Daphne’s tale Apollo chased her even though she did not want to have anything to do with him. She ended up as a tree because she didn’t want to be with Apollo. One of the myths keeps they man asleep so that the moon can always see him. It seems as though a lot of the time other gods and goddesses get involved in love, which can mess a lot of relationships up. The ancient Greeks could build temples and have festivals and make offerings as much as they wanted for Eros but if other supreme beings get involved Eros’s influence goes out the window a bit. If his power is so easy to overcome with meddling gods, despair, and sorrow then the need to worship Eros as a supreme god is irrelevant because his work is so inconsistent and unstable.

Alex F. said...

I think in many ways man did worship Eros most of all, weather conscioulsy or unconsciously is another question. In several of the myths the men did many things in the name of love. Orpheus went to the underworld in an attempt to save the woman he loved, Eurydice. Pyramus killed himself because he though Thisbe was dead. In my mind these actions seem to be the greatest sacrifices a man can make, and they are made to Eros. The fact that quite a few of the heroes fell in love seems to indicate the influence of Eros and show that, in some way, if he loved than his body became a kind of temple to the god of love.

logang said...

In the Greek culture back in the time when worship of these gods took place you see many love stories turn into tragedies. Perhaps that's why Greeks gave "Eros" or Cupid a negative persona. Maybe they didn't give much homage to this god because his domain always ended with tragedy or death. You see this in the "Eight Brief Tale's of Lovers." You see much tragedy there is little happiness like in the tales of Orpheus and Eurydice they come so close just to be met by death in these stories. Similar to the story of Helen of Troy where so much death and destruction was all because Eros. Little praise would be given, if love always ends in tragedy.

Jens P said...

I do believe that this quotation suggests that we do not take Eros for what it really is. I feel the same way. Nowadays, people use the phrase “I love you” too lightly. We do not have an actual understanding of what love really is. We do not understand that without love, we would have literally nothing. Aristophanes is correct in saying that ancient peoples would’ve built greater temples, given greater sacrifices, and honored Eros more if they really understood it. But has our race ever really understood the power of Eros? I don’t believe that we ever have nor will we ever understand this power. I do believe that Aristophanes was correct in his statement.

Tyler D said...

I believe what Aristophanes is trying to say is that love (Eros) is the most powerful of all emotions and feeling and that it deserves the highest of honors.Love has stopped wars and brought together feuding enemies. You can see love's power in the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Psyche does various painstaking tasks in order to find love again. Love drives people to do things they would never do, like sort grain and travel to the underworld. Aristophanes is completely right about building a temple for love because if more people worshiped love, then maybe everyone would be better off.

Lauren Duff said...

Often times we hear complaints of longing for "love". Most times they say all they really want is to be loved and happy. I feel that humans have most likely been this way since the beginning of time. If they have always been this way why didn't they wise up and worship Eros more honorably of they wanted this so badly. What most including my self don't understand is why they want this so badly when all the stories end in pain and sorrow. It seems that they just want to be the exception to these frightening stories. I guess the real question is of that is even possible.

mwood said...

I think that love is very powerful and also very dangerous which is similar to most of the important divinities characteristics. Eros is said to live in the hearts of men only if there is no hardness there. This is probably the cause of the power of love being over looked because not everyone understands love. Love is an ideal and is untouchable unlike, for example, the sea. The god of which is Poisieden who is very powerful. Eros is described as blind because love is blind but the characters of Greek myth. aren't always blind in love, the beauty of a maiden can cause more problems then a less fair girl. Another theme is the people who scorn love or don't wish to fall in love often suffer the most.

Emily Smith said...

When reading this quote my thoughts instantly go to Narcissus, except in this case the men are Narcissus and Eros would be the women that try to win/steal his love. The women are trying to give him what he desires and whatever they can do to make him theirs but Narcissus ignores them, just as Eros has this almighty power, but the people do not notice, nor do they care enough to praise him as some think he should be praised.

I would agree with the quote but not entirely because maybe not all of man love Eros, maybe Athena was their favorite and that is why she has temples and Eros doesn't.

EPeavler said...

I agree with the quote that Eros is the underappreciated god. Even though all Greek myths end in tragedy, love and curiosity is what causes them to do what they do. Love is not thought of; it just happens and isn’t analyzed with great detail. Love is the one force that can cause many emotions. Love makes man feel happy and lively, but it also causes man to feel heartache, pain, and depression. In most of the myths we read, love was always the foundation of one feeling joy and caused the desire of one if not both characters, but there were always consequences for loving, either the other did not love back, love was between an inanimate object that could not express emotion, love was between oneself, or the strength of love caused a tragic result due to confusion. Love has the power to change ones fate.

Joey Laratta said...

In this quote it is stating that Eros, the God of Love, is not being appreciated and sought after. Love is a word that is sometimes misused without really knowing the true feeling of it. It is a word that is simply tossed around because people like the sound of it. To experience true love you need to honor and worship.