A response paper on the relationship between Zeus and Hera. Assignment was limited to one page

Essay by hibanks24 February 2003

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Zeus and Hera

I found the relationship between Zeus and Hera both paradoxical and intriguing. Zeus unlike the Jewish, Christian, or Islamic God is not omniscient or all-powerful. He did not create the universe, he is a by product of it. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for his fallibility; he comes out of chaos and chaos permeates his marriage. He is a lustful, divine God continuing looking for his next sexual escapade with any attractive being, both divine and human alike; he even has an eye for young boys. This seems to follow the convention of Greek society of men having much more sexual freedom then women of that era. Through his progeny Zeus enriched the heavens and earth with lofty being such as Eunomia (Lawfulness), Dike (Justice), and Eirene (Peace). According to our book Classical Mythology, Zeus is considered the "most ethically developed Olympian" (137), a statement that is laughable.

It seems that Hera is a resentful and malicious wife; she cannot directly confront her more powerful husband and brother so she gets her revenge by attacking those who Zeus impregnates and the offspring of his extra material liaisons. What is a scorned Goddess to do? She is second in stature in the Olympic pantheon yet she does not get the respect such a lofty position deserves. She can turn to no court for recourse; so she does what she can, hurt those who are causing her pain. Hera should have plenty of targets to exact her retribution on; Zeus reportedly had over 115 couplings that we know of (140). These lovers along with the offspring produced will keep her busy for a long time to come.