UncompassionateNature of Gods: The Sufferings of Io and Callisto
UncompassionateNature of Gods: The Sufferings of Io and Callisto
Io and Callisto have undergone many pains. The gods indeed have beenportrayed to be uncompassionate. They have made conclusions that haveaffected the people living in that land. The slightest mistake wouldmake them transformed into other beings. The pains that Callisto andIo undergo and the divine attitudes towards them have been discussedin detail in this paper.
Inthe stories, Callisto was a young virgin. The king of the gods gother attention but the Queen, Juno realized this and so shetransformed her into a bear. The goddess told her that she would takeaway that beauty that had captivated her husband. Callisto fell onher knees and begged to the goddess, but her hands were alreadydeveloping black hair. She watched her hands turn round and armed.She developed a pair of jaws (OvidMet.).
Herhabitual mood was the same as this transformation was going on. Shewas worried about what was happening to her as she groaned. She had afeeling that Jove was not kind, but she could not her know this.After she was completely transformed, she had a fear of staying inthe woods all by herself in the night. The frequent movements by dogsin the surrounding caused her a lot of fear. Hardly could sheremember that she was a beast when she avoided other wild animals.The constellation of the bear did not occur “Let my lamp atmidnight hour, be seen in some high lonely tower, Where I may oftoutwatch the Bear” (OvidMet).
Therewas a particular day when Callisto was hunting, and a man waswatching after her. She realized this and could even remember that hewas a young man that she knew who had grown. As she stopped thehunting and approached him, the man thought that he was beingattacked, so he transfixed her with his arrow when Jupiter appearedall of a sudden and took them into the heavens to be Little and GretaBear (Poetryintranslation.com,2016).
Junowas angered by this occurrence because her enemy was recognized. Shehurriedly visited the powers of the ocean, Tethys, and Oceanus. Theseforces responded to Juno by asking why she thought that the queen ofgods left the plains for her depths. The queen of the powers saidthat her place in heaven had superseded to another being. The powersapproved that Little and Great Bear move in paradise and never tosink like the stars into oceans (Poetryintranslation.com,2016). “Iforbade her to wear the human form- she is placed among the stars! Sodo my punishments result- such is the extent of my power”!
InPrometheus Bound, Io asks what that land was. She asks what name shewould call the people exposed to a tempest in rocks. She had wanderedall over the earth regions in wretchedness. She wonders what offenseshe did that she could be doomed for destruction. In paintings duringthe period of Aeschylus, Io was portrayed as having horns torepresent how she transformed into a heifer. In early vase drawings,the beast type was regarded as the guideline. “By what name am I tocall the one I see exposed to the tempest in bonds of rock? Whatoffense have you committed that as punishment you are doomed todestruction” (A.,Pr.)?
Iocomplained in a kind of a song that a gad-fly had stung her. Sheexpressed fear that herdsmen would gaze upon her. Earth did not hideArgus even in death. Instead, he passed in many places anddisappeared in the sands of the seashore (OvidMet).
Accordingto The Crow`s story, she asks that not only had she asked for afavor. Pallas thought that she was upset, and she will deny itdespite the danger. Her beauty hurt her. Sometime back, she waswalking along the sands of the seashore when the god saw her and grewhot. She did not fall to the flattering words of the god it wassimply a waste of time, so the god tried to use force. She fledleaving the seashore behind her and tiring herself in the soft sand.She called help from the gods and men. No one responded to her cries,except for a goddess who had mercy for a virgin like her, so shedecided to help her. As she was stretching her arms for the sky, theybegan to darken. As she tried to get her cloak from her shoulders,she realized that they had turned into feathers deeply rooted in herskin. She did not have hands or breasts during this transformation.“I ran, and now the sand did not clog my feet as before but Ilifted from the ground, and soon sailed high into the air” (OvidMet., Bk: 367-380).
Asshe ran, the sand did not clog her feet as it used to. She realizedthat she had started flying. She had become an innocent servant ofMinerva. This was of no use to her because Nyctimene had overtakenher position. Nyctimene turned into an owl because of her dreadfulsins. Nyctimene violated her father`s bed and every Lesbo knew this.Even if she was an ave at this moment, she was aware of her crime, soshe flee all time from human environment. She hid her name indarkness and most of the time she was chased away by other birds,small and big, from the sky (Poetryintranslation.com,2016).
Oviddescribes a group of gods that are not rational. In this part of hiswork, he gives some instances of how the gods came to absurdconclusions. Because Jupiter had an unfortunate encounter with onehuman, he concludes that all people are evil and should beexterminated. Elsewhere, he has caused floods in his wish to make theworld seem to be safe for divinities that do not stay in heavens.These included the mountain dwelling gods. I think this reason issomehow flawed.
Aswe read about the brutality of the gods including instances of rapeattempts, we come to a conclusion that the gods did not have theauthority to rule the earth. The lesser divinities needed protectionfrom the gods and no the other way round. Ovid achieves in drawingcomedy into his narrative. As he shows the behavior of the gods to beimmoral, he describes in a funny way the whole processes. Forinstance, how Callisto was transformed into a bear while she wasstretching her hands.
Jupiter`sview on extramarital status is amusing. Most of the time, he keepshands on young unmarried and virgin women. He is the king of theother gods but flutters in panic. He tries to deceive Juno by givingIo the funny form of a cow, as seen in the story.
Inconclusion, the gods have been seen to be uncompassionate. The godsand divinities have been seen to rush into conclusions. For instance,Jupiter has an adverse impression about all humans because the firstencounter with one human being was negative. Jupiter, the king of theother gods, has been described to have extramarital affairs that heeven transforms Io into a cow to deceive Juno.
Thisis an illustration where Callisto was transformed into a bear, in aform of punishment.
Translatedby A. S. Kline:Poetryintranslation.com,(2016). Ovid – The Metamorphoses: Book 2. Retrieved 10 February 2016,fromhttp://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Metamorph2.htm#anchor_Toc64106117
PrometheusBound translated by Aeschylus (Verses 561-887)
Metamorphoseson Callisto translated by Ovid Bk I (401-530)
Metamorphoseson Io translated by Ovid Bk I (568-530)
“Letmy lamp at midnight hour, Be seen in some high lonely tower, Where Imay oft outwatch the Bear”
“Iforbade her to wear the human form- she is placed among the stars! Sodo my punishments result- such is the extent of my power!”
“Iran, and now the sand did not clog my feet as before but I liftedfrom the ground, and soon sailed high into the air.”