Mythological Allusions From Antigone

Bacchus: The god of wine (called Dionysus in Greek mythology). The holiday was eventually banned due to drunken and libertine excess. Something described as Bacchanalian is similarly decadent and uninhibited. Patron of Thebes
Cupid: Cupid, or Amor, was the Roman god of love, who was also called Eros by the Greeks. He was usually depicted as a young winged boy with a bow and arrow. To play Cupid is to be a matchmaker, while someone who suddenly falls in love is said to have been struck by Cupid’s arrow.
Nemesis: A Greek goddess of retribution, the incarnation of the gods’ revenge for violating their laws. As the gods’ retribution could not be avoided, a nemesis is not only an agent of punishment, but any challenge or opponent that a person is unable to defeat.
Antigone: In Greek mythology, daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. In Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, she and her sister Ismene follow their father into exile at Colonus. When her brothers Eteocles and Polynices killed each other in the war of the Seven against Thebes, Creon, King of Thebes, forbade the burial of the rebel Polynices. Antigone defied him and performed the funeral service. She hanged herself in the cave where Creon ordered her buried alive.
Aphrodite: In Greek religion and mythology, goddess of fertility, love, and beauty. Homer designated her the child of Zeus and Dione. Hesiod’s account of her birth is more popular: she supposedly rose from the foam of the sea where Uranus’ genitals had fallen after he had been mutilated by Kronos. Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus. She loved Ares, by whom she bore Harmonia and, in some myths, Eros and Anteros. She was the mother of Hermaphroditus by Hermes and of Priapus by Dionysus. Zeus caused her to love the shepherd Anchises, by whom she bore Aeneas. Adonis, in whose legend Aphrodite appears as a goddess of fertility, also won her favors. It was to Aphrodite that Paris awarded the apple of discord, which caused the dispute leading ultimately to the Trojan War. Worshiped throughout Greece, she was the goddess of love, marriage, and family life; she was also worshiped as a war goddess, as at Sparta, and as a sea goddess and patroness of sailors.
Apollo: In Greek religion and mythology, one of the most important Olympian gods, concerned especially with prophecy, medicine, music and poetry, archery, and various bucolic arts, particularly the care of flocks and herds. He was also frequently associated with the higher developments of civilization, such as law, philosophy, and the arts. As patron of music and poetry he was often connected with the Muses. Apollo may have been first worshiped by primitive shepherds as a god of pastures and flocks, but it was as a god of light, Phoebus or Phoebus Apollo, that he was most widely known. After the 5th cent. B.C. he was frequently identified with Helios, the sun god. Apollo was the father of Aristaeus, Asclepius, and, in some legends, Orpheus, although his amorous affairs were not particularly successful. Daphne turned into a laurel rather than submit to him, and Marpessa refused him in favor of a mortal. He gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy, and when she disappointed him, he decreed that no one would believe her prophecies. His chief oracular shrine was at Delphi, which he was said to have seized, while still an infant, by killing its guardian, the serpent Python. In Roman religion, Apollo was worshiped in various forms, most significantly as a god of healing and of prophecy. In art he was portrayed as the perfection of youth and beauty. Twin sister: Artemis
Ares: In Greek religion and mythology, Olympian god of war. He is usually said to be the son of Zeus and Hera; but in some legends he and Eris, his twin sister, were born when Hera touched a flower. A fierce warrior, he loved battle and often took part in conflicts between mortals. Ares killed Halirrhothios, son of Poseidon, when the youth violated his daughter, Alcippe. For this crime Ares was judged by a tribunal of the 12 Olympians and acquitted. The hill on which the trial took place, the Areopagus, was named for him. The worship of Ares was not as important as that of Mars, with whom he was identified by the Romans.
Dionysus: In Greek religion and mythology, god of fertility and wine. Legends concerning him are profuse and contradictory. However, he was one of the most important gods of the Greeks and was associated with various religious cults. He was probably in origin a Thracian deity. According to the Orphic legend, he was Dionysus Zagreus, the son of Zeus and Persephone (see Orphic Mysteries); in other legends he was the son of Zeus and Semele and was reared by the nymphs on Mt. Nysa, where he invented the art of wine making. Having grown to manhood, Dionysus wandered through many lands, teaching men the culture of the vine and the mysteries of his cult. He was followed by an entourage of satyrs, sileni, maenads, and nymphs.The Romans identified him with Liber and with Bacchus, who was more properly the god of wine. From the music, singing, and dancing at the festivals of Dionysus developed the dithyramb and ultimately Greek drama.
Danaë In Greek legend, daughter of Acrisius. When it was prophesied that Danaë’s son would kill Acrisius, her father imprisoned her in a bronze tower. However, Zeus came to her in the form of a shower of gold, and she bore him a son, Perseus. Acrisius put Danaë and Perseus into a chest and threw them into the sea, but they floated safely to land and the prophecy was eventually fulfilled.
Demeter In Greek religion and mythology, goddess of harvest and fertility; daughter of Kronos and Rhea. She was the mother of Persephone by Zeus. When Pluto abducted Persephone, Demeter grieved so inconsolably that the earth became barren through her neglect. Searching for her daughter, she wandered to Eleusis, where the Eleusinian Mysteries were inaugurated in her honor. She revealed to Triptolemus, an Eleusinian, the art of growing and using corn. The Thesmophoria, a fertility festival held in her honor at Athens, was attended only by women. The Romans identified her with Ceres.
Fates In Greek religion and mythology, three goddesses who controlled human lives; also called the Moerae or Moirai. They were: Clotho, who spun the web of life; Lachesis, who measured its length; and Atropos, who cut it. The Roman Fates were the Parcae—Nona, Decuma, and Morta. In Norse mythology, the three Norns wove the web of life.
Hephaestus In Greek religion and mythology, Olympian god. According to Homer he was the son of Hera and Zeus, but Hesiod states that he was conceived and borne by Hera alone. Originally an Asian fire god, in Greece he became the divine smith and god of craftsmen. He was worshiped primarily in cities such as Athens, where he had a temple. It was said that he was either born lame or was lamed by Zeus, who threw him down from Olympus when Hephaestus took Hera’s side in a dispute. He was represented as bearded, with mighty shoulders, but crippled legs. At huge furnaces, worked by Cyclopes, he fashioned ornaments, weapons, and magical contrivances for the gods and heroes (e.g., Achilles’ shield). But in mythology he was usually a comic figure. Most scholars agree that he was the husband of Aphrodite, who was unfaithful to him. The Romans identified Hephaestus with Vulcan.
Hades In Greek and Roman religion and mythology. 1 The ruler of the underworld: see Pluto. 2 The world of the dead, ruled by Pluto and Persephone, located either underground or in the far west beyond the inhabited regions. It was separated from the land of the living by the rivers Styx [hateful], Lethe [forgetfulness], Acheron [woeful], Phlegethon [fiery], and Cocytus [wailing]. The newly arrived dead were ferried across the Styx by the avaricious old ferryman Charon, whom they paid with the coin that was placed in their mouths when they were buried. Unauthorized spirits who tried to enter or leave Hades were challenged by the fearful dog Cerberus. The honey cake that the Greeks buried with the dead was intended to quiet him. All the dead drank of the river of forgetfulness. The judges of the dead—Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus—assigned to each soul its appropriate abode. The virtuous and the heroic were rewarded in the Elysian fields; wrongdoers were sent to Tartarus; and most wandered as dull shadows among fields of asphodel.
Niobe In Greek mythology, queen of Thebes, wife of Amphion and daughter of Tantalus. The mother of six sons and six daughters, she boasted of her fruitfulness, saying that Leto had only two children. Apollo and Artemis, angry at this insult to their mother, killed all Niobe’s children. Crying inconsolably, she fled to Mt. Sipylus. There Zeus turned her into a stone image that wept perpetually.
Persephone or Proserpine In Greek and Roman religion and mythology, goddess of fertility and queen of the underworld. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. When she was still a beautiful maiden, Pluto seized her and held her captive in his underworld. Though Demeter eventually persuaded the gods to let her daughter return to her, Persephone was required to remain in the underworld for four months because Pluto had tricked her into eating a pomegranate (food of the dead) there. When Persephone left the earth, the flowers withered and the grain died, but when she returned, life blossomed anew. This story, which symbolizes the annual vegetation cycle, was celebrated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Persephone appeared under the name Kore.
Tantalus In Greek mythology, king of Sipylos, son of Zeus and father of Pelops and Niobe. He was admitted to the society of the gods, but his abominable behavior aroused their anger, and Zeus condemned him to suffer eternally at Tartarus. One legend says that he had divulged divine secrets and stolen the gods’ sacred food. Another tells that he had murdered his son Pelops and served his body to the gods to test their omniscience. As punishment he was condemned to hang from the bough of a fruit tree over a pool of water. When he bent to drink, the water would recede; when he reached for a fruit, the wind would blow it from his reach. A further account of his punishment tells of a great stone hanging over his head threatening to fall. The word tantalize originated from his name.
Tiresias In Greek mythology, a blind soothsayer who appears in many legends. According to one myth, when he saw Athena bathing she blinded him, but by way of compensation granted him prophetic powers. Another story is that Hera blinded him for disparaging her sex when he claimed that women enjoyed love more than men; Zeus then recompensed him with long life and the power of prophecy.
Zeus In Greek religion and mythology, son and successor of Kronos as supreme god. His mother, Rhea, immediately after his birth concealed him from Kronos, who, because he was fated to be overthrown by one of his children, ate all his offspring. Rhea gave him a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes which he devoured immediately, not suspecting that the infant Zeus still lived. Later, Zeus tricked Kronos into disgorging his brothers and sisters and led them in a successful revolt against their father (see Titan). When lots were cast to divide the universe, the underworld went to Hades, the sea to Poseidon, and the heavens and earth to Zeus. Zeus was an amorous god. His first mate was probably Dione, but his official consort was his sister, Hera, who bore him Ares and Hebe. Zeus also loved Themis, Eurynome, Demeter, Mnemosyne, Leto, and Maia and fathered many gods. Famous among his mortal loves were Danaë, Leda, Semele, Thetis, Io, and Europa. His sons sired from mortal wives include Hercules, Dardanus, and Amphitryon. He was also the father of Athena, who was said to have sprung from his head. Supreme among the gods, Zeus, ruling from his court on Mt. Olympus, was the symbol of power, rule, and law. As the father god and the upholder of morality, he rewarded the good and punished the evil. The root meaning of Zeus is “bright” or “sky,” and in this sense he was god of weather and fertility. Thus he was worshiped in connection with almost every aspect of life. The most famous weapon of Zeus was the thunderbolt, but, according to some legends, he also possessed the aegis. The Romans equated Zeus with their own supreme god, Jupiter (or Jove).
Amphion A son of Antiope by Zeus, and the husband of Niobe. With his twin brother, Zethus, he built the walls of Thebes, charming the stones into place with his lyre.

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