Giving multiple examples, discuss the reasons for the gods’ cruelty. What does the cruelty of the gods say about the Greeks’ view of the universe?
Since the days when man lived in caves and struggled to survive, he has wondered about the world that surrounds him. And these stories of the gods that the Greeks created to help make sense of the universe have survived the years to become a treasured and integral part of the history of the Western world. But are they aware that Zeus shared his power with thirteen of his sisters, brothers, and children?
And then there was Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, with her beloved daughter Persephone on her lap.
Next there was Poseidon, the lord of the sea and Zeus’s brother, and then the four children of Zeus: Athena, goddess of wisdom; the twins Apollo (god of light and music) and Artemis (goddess of the hunt); and Dionysus, the god of wine.
Of course, on some occasions, even when one took the precaution of attempting to appease them, the gods might just be in a foul mood and decide to let a human suffer – there are many stories like this in Greek mythology.
So what did all these gods do all day long other than relax in their comfy palaces?
Those were the twelve great gods of Mount Olympus, who ruled in splendor the lives of the mortals below them.
But there were also many minor gods and goddesses, nature gods, and of course the many heroes that are involved in Greek mythology, Hercules being perhaps the most famous of these.
The Greeks believed that every tree had its wood nymph and ever river had its river god.
It was necessary to pray for the approval of these gods before boating across a river or chopping down a tree, lest they meet with disastrous results.