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Myth of Deucalion Analysis

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    Before talking about the myth of Deucalion and about him in general, first it is important to explain who he comes from. Deucalion was the son of the last Titan, Prometheus. According to myths, Prometheus with the help of the goddess Athena helped create mankind from clay. This gave Prometheus a protective aspect of mankind. He wanted to see them grow and prosper, which made him a champion of mankind. This put him in confrontation with the most powerful god and king of the Olympians, Zeus. One of Prometheus’s most famous actions is introducing mankind to “fire”. This particular fire was owned by Zeus himself, and for stealing from him, he had Prometheus chained on top of Mount Caucasus. He was to be chained for eternity, where everyday an eagle will fly by him and eat his liver. With the champion of mankind bound and unable to help them, mankind started to act awry.

    Along with their champion being kept from helping them prosper, mankind was also affected negatively at the same time by the effects of Pandora’s Box being opened. The box caused mankind to become greedy, disrespectful, and disobedient to the gods. This lasted for a while until a limit had finally been reached. Zeus and his fellow gods came upon the conclusion that mankind needed to be destroyed. A man named Deucalion (Prometheus’s son) in an effort to halt humanities destruction and control the negative instincts of mankind asked Zeus to have mercy. But Zeus had already made up his mind on mankind’s destruction. But fate was on Deucalion’s side, it just so happened that he and his wife were seen as obedient and fit to continue on living, so Zeus made plans to spare them and for them to be the sole survivors of mankind’s destruction. While visiting his father Prometheus, Deucalion was told that a great flood was coming to destroy mankind. With this warning, Deucaliona and his wife together constructed an ark to be able to withstand what was coming. The great flood eventually came and its violence continued for days. It like Zeus said, destroyed everything in sight of the world, no tree or mountains withstood the gods might. Deucalion and Pyrrha survived just as told in their ark. But both felt sadness for mankind and were then told by the god Hermes to stop their crying and pity and to throw the bones of their mother over their shoulders’. Deucalion eventually made the discovery that their “mother” meant the earth, and her “bones” were stones. What they did not know that each stone thrown behind them birthed a new human being. Every stone thrown by Deucalion was a man, and every stone thrown by Pyrrha, became a woman. The myth ends in saying that humans created after the flood are what we currently descend from.

    Flood stories and mankind is popular in many kinds of other mythologies and certain versions can be translated to other cultures with altered factors. This leads to not just other myths but new modern day interpretation. For example, the story of Deucalion and the great flood can be seen in the biblical story, of “Noah’s Ark”. Both stories have a sort of religious follower who is chosen/told by a deity that they are to be a sole survivor of mankind. Without debunking the stories of the Bible, Noah’s version of the great flood can be seen as an interpretation of Deucalion’s due to Ancient Greece predating that of the stories of the Bible.

    “Noah’s Ark” is basically about a good hearted man and devout follower of God being chosen along with his family to survive a great flood caused by God to destroy the corruption and violence filled world under the order of god that he construct an Ark and bring with him a male and a female of every living creature on earth. This interpretation comes after the myth of Deucalion. Noah and Deucalion do have their differences but they do have their similarities. Noah is given a specific set of orders that he is to complete with no questions asked in order to survive. These orders are to build a huge ark and to bring a female and male version of every living creature on Earth. Deucalion along with his wife are seen as the perfect human beings by the Greek gods and are just allowed to live without having to follow specific guidelines, with the exception of throwing stones to create new human life. This is provided by a god to their benefit though, it can be seen as a reward. Similarities can be seen in both men having been chosen by a deity they show devotion to survive and are seen as the ultimate good that humanity should have been prior to being destroyed.

    Another interpretation of the myth of Deucalion is found in Sumerian myths, specifically the “Epic of Gilgamesh”. The myth is connected to the “Epic of Atrahasis”. Gilgamesh was a historical king of a Sumerian city-state who supposedly ruled between 2800-2500 BC and had superhuman strength, courage, and power. In the myth, he traveled the world to search for a way to cheat death. During his journey, he came across a man named Utnapishtim. He told Gilgamesh a story from a long time ago that told of how the gods brought a flood that brought destruction to the earth. The reason for doing this was that the gods were angry at mankind. The god Ea, warned Utnapishtim and told him to build a large boat to save himself along with his family and ‘the seed of all living things”. Utanpishtim did, and the gods brought rain which led the water to rise for many days. When the rains stopped, the boat landed on a mountain and Utnapishtim set loose first a dove, a swallow, and a raven in that same order to find land.

    Both the myth of Deucalion and the story found in the “Epic of Gilgamesh” differ in big ways. These differences can be seen in the myths protagonist. Deucalion is just a man, while Gilgamesh is a powerful being. In the Sumerian version, the character Utanpishtim can be compared to being like Deucalion. Both men are warned by a deity that an incoming flood is coming, construct a large boat in order to survive the flood, and both have happy endings. Both interpretations can be seen as being alike but both have different perspectives which force the myths to be different in little ways.

    What the myth means to me is that the story did not have any type of learning lesson or anything else to make it more than just a story/myth. This means for both versions of flood myths. There were only solutions with no learning lessons besides perhaps turning to religion/deity being for support to be able to help you through your problems. These problems happened to be survival-like `tips”. For example, each character in the myths building large boats.

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