[Milton-L] Adam's better half

Mario A. DiCesare dicesare1 at mindspring.com
Mon Aug 16 18:33:58 EDT 2010


Dear Salwa,

I recall the same notion, rooted in the conclusion of the first book, 
where Hephaistos tells the story echoed at the end of Book One of 
"Paradise Lost." The point of the story is that, however angry Zeus may 
have been at Hephaistos for taking the part of Hera, Hephaistos not only 
survived to tell his tale but he became a kind of favorite; he

                        poured drinks for the other
    gods, dipping up from the mixing bowl the sweet nectar.
     But among the blessed immortals uncontrollable laughter
    went up as they saw Hephaistos bustling about the palace.

The point is that the gods are deathless, that the threat of death 
doesn't affect them as it does us poor mortals. Thus, in an important 
sense, what the gods do doesn't really matter. Even that offspring of 
the gods in the "Odyssey", Alkinous, son of Poseidon, has no particular 
sense of death; he thinks of tales of death and destruction as 
pleasantries provided for their entertainment.

Cheers,

Mario A. DiCesare



Salwa Khoddam wrote:
> Carrol Cox wrote: "But as I remember, this laughter of the gods [in 
> the Iliad] is part of the
> clusters of imagery and incidents which established the superiority of
> mortals to gods."
> This is a very interesting idea, but where in the Iliad are there 
> examples of the "laughter of the gods"?  I do agree  that Homer 
> suggests that men are superior to the gods.
> Best regards,
> Salwa Khoddam
>
> Salwa Khoddam, Ph.D.
> Professor of English, Emerita
> Oklahoma City University
> 2501 N. Blackwelder
> OKC, OK  73106
> Phone:  405-208-5127
> Email:  skhoddam at cox.net
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Carrol Cox" <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Sunday, August 15, 2010 7:52 PM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Adam's better half
>
>
>>
>>
>> Harold Skulsky wrote:
>>>
>>> Aristophanes tells the myth with a straight face, but (as with the 
>>> Lysistrata and elsewhere in the corpus Aristophanicum) the 
>>> playwright lodges sexuality squarely on the comic (anti-tragic?) 
>>> side of the proscenium arch. Even when the partners are no less than 
>>> Ares and Aphrodite herself, our shenanigans in bed evoke, as another 
>>> older Greek poet says, "the inextinguishable laughter of the gods" 
>>> (asbestos gelos theon).
>>
>> It's been too long since I last reread the Iliad, and I may have this
>> all wrong. But as I remember, this laughter of the gods is part of the
>> clusters of imagery and incidents which established the superiority of
>> mortals to gods: because the gods cannot die, their actions become
>> pointless. Their inextinguishable laughter exhibits that pointlessness.
>>
>> Carrol
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