[Milton-L] Adam's better half

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Tue Aug 17 00:14:54 EDT 2010


Dear Dario,
I interpret this scene differently.  I do not relate the gods' laughter in 
the scene you mentioned to any affectionate feelings they might have towards 
Hepaestos. I bristle at the gods' meanness for laughing at the lame 
Hephaestos as he bustles around *unsteadily* (I might add) bearing drinks. 
It is a comic scene, but their laughter is silly.  The function of this 
specific scene in Olympos is to show  the gods as the worst type of humans, 
but not that humans are superior. There is a difference.  Mortals can be 
just as silly.
Thanks for your elucidation.  I appreciate your response.
Best regards,
Salwa

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: "Mario A. DiCesare" <dicesare1 at mindspring.com>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2010 5:33 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Adam's better half


> 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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>>
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