Love and War is love at war

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The bard Demodocus sings of the adulterous tale between Aphrodite and Ares (goddess of love and god of war). Although Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus (god of blacksmiths and crafting), she was having an affair with the Ares, in Hephaestus's mansion.

It is interesting to note that the sun god, Helios, informed Hephaestus of this affair and also aided him in crafting the snare to bind the adulterous couple on bed. This shows that gods like Helios does not tolerate adultery.

During the tryst between Ares and Aphrodite, they were shackled onto Hephaestus's bed. As planned, Hephaestus, yet again with the help of Helios, travelled to Olympus to seek Zeus.

 

The significance of this story accentuates the element of adultery. This mirrors Odysseus's plight as Hephaestus, on how Penelope is back at Itacha with ravenous suitors waiting to bed her. Also, this tale goes to show how gods don't tolerate adultery, as seen through Helios's actions, as well as the god's constant condemnation of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra.

One possible reason why the text often features the god's disapproval of adulterous relationships is to justify their acts of intervention. As seen, the gods Athena, Hermes, Helios and Zeus have intervened with matters against adultery. This is shown by Athena's unwavering loyalty towards Telemachus and Odysseus, as she sees the need to constantly intervene in their affairs and manipulate the outcomes of events.

 

It is also ironic to note that the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, is the one committing adultery. What does this tell us about gods and their powers, roles, and lusts? Even the goddess of love does not respect the sanctity of marriage, so why should mortals? Would Penelope and Odysseus be truly faithful to each other without intervention from the gods?

729 thoughts on “Love and War is love at war

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