Gods and goddesses are often pictured as greater, higher, and a perfect image of humans.
They are responsible for everything seen and experienced all around the world. They give life and meaning to everything humanity does and they believe in their gods’ influence on the world. Gods help humans understand their environment and their significance in the world as conscious beings in a world full of possibilities. Gods are favoured and inspires many. Although the Olympians were gods, they had very human flaws and frailties such as jealousy, cunning, and manipulation.Firstly, one common flaw shown amongst the gods was that of cunning.
The definition of cunning is someone who uses deceit to achieve their own goals. An example of a cunning god is Eris, goddess of quarrels. Eris was not invited to a wedding feast on Mount Olympus and out of spite, she placed a golden apple with a phrase so well crafted it caused discord between Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena who were invited to the wedding feast. She was cunning and successfully deceived the 3 goddesses into fighting with each other for the apple destined for the most beautiful goddess for her own pleasure. Eris is the goddess of discord so it is not surprise that someone like her does not regret using such sneaky and selfish actions for her own gain. Another example would be Zeus, god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. There are many stories of Zeus having multiple affairs with different women behind the back of his wife Hera.
In order to make sure he would never be caught, he would use different methods of evasion such as employing Echo “to keep Hera distracted with gossip while Zeus crept away on one of his romantic escapades” (Head 27). He used deceit to achieve his goal of being with multiple women and never being caught. As Zeus is the ruler of the gods, he would almost certainly get what he wants with negative intentions as seen in the evidence. As a result, it can be said that being cunning is a common human flaw displayed by the Olympian gods for personal gains.Secondly, during the creation of the entire world, one of the first human flaws was observed from Uranus, the god of the sky. When his wife Gaea, the goddess of the earth, gave birth to their children such as the Hundred-Handed Children, Cyclops, and the Twelve Titans, Uranus did not like the idea that one day his children will take his power from him. Uranus was jealous of the possibility and decided to fix his problem by burying them all alive, dismissing his role as their father.
His selfish and jealous actions ended in his death by a long, curved knife wielded by none other than his son Cronus, one of the Twelve Titans with the help of his mother Gaea. Another example of jealousy is shown from Hera, the goddess of women and marriage in multiple occasions. Many incidents of jealousy were sparked by her husband Zeus and his habit of cheating.
One of Zeus’ many affairs resulted in the birth of Apollo, the god of prophecy, music, healing, and purification. Apollo’s mother was Leto, a mortal who Hera tried to kill by sending a sacred python. It was not able to kill Leto because instead, “Apollo wounded a sacred python which has been sent by jealous Hera to kill his mother” (Head 14). Hera had gone out of her way to have Leto killed because she was jealous she had given birth to a son of Zeus. As a result, it can be said that jealousy is one of the most important and common human flaw found in the gods.
Lastly, one flaw that seemed to have the most impact is being manipulative. An example of this is Apollo with Artemis, the goddess of woodland and wild creatures and Orion, son of Poseidon. Artemis had befriended Orion and found each other as great hunting partners that had a lot in common in personality and hobbies. Apollo was not happy with the friendship between his sister and Orion because he feared Artemis would forget her vows as a maiden-goddess and marry this son of Poseidon. His solution was to challenge and doubt Artemis’ hunting skills and manipulate her into hitting a target far out at sea. She did but it happened to be Orion’s head. Apollo had gone so far as to manipulate his sister into killing her friend.
Another example of manipulation is Aphrodite’s part in the Trojan War. Aphrodite manipulated Paris into choosing her as the beautiful goddess the golden apple referred to which was put in place by Eris. Aphrodite offered Paris the “most beautiful mortal in the world as his wife” (Head 35).
Paris found this offer the most attractive than those of Hera and Athena. Paris then met and took Helen, Queen of Sparta, which soon led to the Trojan War that destroyed the city of Troy. As a result of this evidence, the flaw of being manipulative among the gods and goddesses has been one of the most impactful human flaws. In conclusion, the Olympian gods had very human flaws and frailties found amongst them such as cunning, jealousy, and manipulation. The scary thought of these human flaws in a powerful and capable being such as the Olympian gods leave humanity with an unpredictable and dangerous world.