Devin Van Cleave. November 22, 2013.

There are many different views toward love. Some people think of love as only
being physical and others think of it in a more emotional sense. Love creates many good
emotions and characteristics in a person’s life but it also causes many tragic things to
happen. In Greek mythology we see that instead of focusing on how faithfulness and
devotion can benefit people’s relationships the Greeks tend to dwell on the tragedy that
love can create. Therefore, as shown in the various myths, the Greek’s attitude toward
love was unfaithfulness, selfishness, and violence.
First, I believe this because all throughout Greek mythology we constantly see
Zeus being unfaithful to his wife, Hera. In one story Zeus falls in love with a young river
nymph. After seducing her, Zeus covers the world with a thick blanket of clouds hoping
to hide his affair from his wife. In another story, Zeus falls in love with a beautiful
Phoenician woman, disguises himself as a white bull, and then carries her away. Even
when Zeus was not having an affair Hera always suspected him. After all, that is what he
is known for. The way we see the Greeks portray Zeus and Hera’s relationship tells us a
bit about their attitude. They chose to give the most powerful and best know god in
mythology unfaithfulness in his marriage. It does not say if these stories of Zeus’ affairs
were used to encourage the Greeks to do it or discourage them. What we do know though
is that it was a part of their life and attitude towards love.
My second point is that the Greek’s attitude toward love was selfish. In the
beginning part of the story of Persephone, Aphrodite and Eros selfishly use the power of
love to try and increase their power. In this same story, Hades got pierced with one of
Eros’ arrows and selfishly carried away Persephone for his selfish desires. There are
various other myths but just through this one story there are many places where the
Greeks showed how the gods use love selfishly and only for their needs.
My final point is that the Greek attitude toward love was violent. In the story of
Pyramus and Thisbe, Thisbe waits under a mulberry tree to meet her lover Pyramus. After
Thisbe sees a lion she flees but her veil falls off her head and the lion gets hold of it.
When Pyramus gets to the tree he sees Thisbe’s veil bloodied from the lion’s mouth. He
then kills himself because he thinks she is dead. Thisbe goes back to the tree once she
thinks it safe and finds her lover dead. She then kills herself out of grief. Both of these
people died all because they were in love. There are many other tragic stories similar to
this one such as, Ceyx and Alcyone, Polyphemus and Galatea, and Echo and Narcissus.
Many of the Greek’s stories are already violent and then when they add this violence to
their love stories they make some very sad and terrible tales. They of course wouldn’t
have written these stories if something similar hadn’t been going on at the time. Seeing
how the Greeks wrote so many of these violent love stories I believe they were trying to
show people something.
Shown in the various myths, I believe the Greek’s attitude toward love was
unfaithfulness, selfishness, and violence. I believe this because of what the Greek’s
clearly portray in their myths. The author Virginia Wolf once said “Every secret of a

and their attitude toward love. the quality of their minds.writer’s soul. every experience of his life. every quality of his mind. . is written large in his works.” I believe we can use this statement and see that the Greek’s myths show the Greek’s experiences in their lifetime.