Following is an outline of the chapter along with the
main learning objectives. To help coordinate your studies, this outline and the
learning objectives are organized to match your textbook. This organization is also
utilized in the chapter review section.
Part 1: Key themes
- You should be able to discuss the essential order of the Greek
cosmos in terms of hierarchy, patriarchy and the ideals represented by the Greek Gods --
that of perfect autonomy, freedom from labor and extreme longevity -- which human males
could aspire to emulate; also part of this cosmos is the concept that this ideal existence
is compromised by the presence and demands of women, who subvert masculine values of
order, independence and dominion.
- You should recognize Hesiod's Works and Days as an
account of a universe that is characterized by dynamic change and unending conflict as
represented in the readings by the myth of Pandora the first woman, fashioned to be the
despair of men and thus the ending of the Golden Age of Greece and by the account of the
Five Ages of man and its themes of man's descending order/worth -- from precious Gold to
the Age of Iron, characterized by injustice and Strife.
Part 2: Humanity's
alienation from the Gods:
Prometheus, Fire, and Pandora
- You should be able to discuss Hesiod's lament that mankind and
cosmic order are worse off than under the rule of Chronos as consequence of Zeus' personal
quarrel with Prometheus.
- You should recognize the dominant myths that are concerned with
this tension between Prometheus as protector/benefactor of mankind and the divine
authority of Zeus, including the myth of Prometheus tricking Zeus into taking the least
parts of sacrifice offered by humans; the myth of Prometheus giving the gift of fire to
man; the myth of Prometheus' punishment at the will of Zeus (the eagle who every day ate
the liver from the still alive (he's immortal remember) Prometheus, which grew back every
night) and especially the myth of Pandora -- the first mortal woman, created by Hephaestus
(with gifts from other Gods and Goddesses) at the command of Zeus to "create a lovely
evil" as the scourge of toiling men.
- You should be able to discuss the gift of Prometheus, fire as
the spark of civilization that Zeus wanted as the exclusive possession of the gods and its
implication that the use of fire breaks the ties of man to the natural -- i.e. cooked
- You should be able to discuss the concept of gender roles in
terms of the creation of Pandora -- both within the context of ancient Greek culture and
in terms of the relationship between mortals, men (not women), and gods. Also the creation
of woman by Zeus (or Hephaestus, actually)-- again without the help of a female, and
usurping the female role of creation -- and the fact that this myth sites the origin of
woman outside the womb of Gaea or any other Great Goddess, but within the mind/desires of
the masculine mind.
Part 3: Humanity's
Decline: Pandora and Eve
- you should be able to discuss the similarities between the myths
of the Greek Pandora and the Biblical Eve in terms of masculine/patriarchal divine right
to order the universe, as agents of the catalysts of the decline of humankind.
- You should be able to discuss the concept of feminine attributes
as embodied in both the mythical Pandora and Eve -- including the trappings of beauty and
sexuality, the concept of temptress "with the mind of a bitch" and the source of
unresolved tension between male and female (including why Zeus himself can't resist
pursuing such a "lovely evil' after creating her to destroy men).
- You should be able to recognize elements common to both the
myths of Pandora and those of Eve such as the serpent of the garden of Eden which
corresponds to the serpent in Greek myth which guards the Tree of Life, the Tree of Life
is in both myths -- Adam and Eve may have been expelled before they ate of the Tree of
Life and gained the immortality reserved for the divine; forbidden fruit (the fire from
Prometheus and the apple of the Tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil); female curiosity,
and loss of innocence/paradise.
Part 4: Humanities'
Alienation from Nature as the Price of Civilization
- You should be able to discuss the implications of the myths of
Pandora and those of Eve as agents that sever humanities ties to nature, or in some myths,
nature's mindlessness; the "civilizing of the savage male to show that human culture
is necessarily based on alienation from natural instinct."
- You should be able to relate the work of Hesiod to the earlier
Mesopotamian myths of Gilgamish and Enkidu as they work through the concepts of
civilization, sexuality, and nature -- also by virtue of being instructed by a woman whom
they at first degrade then come to respect. You should be able to discuss the essentially
male mythology of ancient Greece in terms of myths that assimilate feminine wisdom, while
still managing to see female intelligence and assertiveness as "threats to male
Part 5: The Five Ages
- You should be able to discuss the Five Ages of Man into which
Hesiod divides man's history; their descending order from Gold to Iron as representative
of man's descent into decay.
- You should be to discuss the concepts of man's existence in the
first Age of Gold; mingling with the gods, peace, freedom from toil, unblemished by old
age, before woman is created -- even when they died they became ghosts that wandered the
earth as guides and protectors of men.
- You should be able to discuss the succeeding ages in terms of
descending order of worth (of the representative metal) of the violence and conflict and
the ensuing destruction and fates of the men of earlier ages.
- You should be able to recognize the Age of Heroes as the odd
element of human devolution, the mark of respect and the fate of those who were deemed
worthy to be whisked by Zeus from Death to far-away lands of paradise.
- You should recognize the theme of woman as the catalyst for the
last age of Iron in which Hesiod himself lives and which will be terminated in an
apocalyptic time when (among other horrors) Shame and Retribution flee the realms of man.
- You should be able to discuss the common theme of global
destruction through deluge as evidenced by myths such as the Mesopotamian Gilgamish,
the Biblical tale of Noah and Ovid's Metamorphoses and accounts from Apollodorus,
with their implications of divine wrath, how the earth was re-populated, previous
destructions of mankind and their resulting discontinuity of mankind's history.
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