Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Hephaestus, Hermes, and Prometheus
Jesters to the Gods

( Greece and Rome: Myth: Second Millennium B.C.E. - Present)

Margery L. Brown


BACKGROUND

One of the puzzling aspects of deity is the trickster. The trickster occurs as a type of shaman, a being who is divinely elected, attains mastery of his vocation through suffering, and becomes some combination of the following: poetprophet, magician, priest, or guardian of arcane lore, either medicinal or religious. But the trickster is not an ordinary god or even an ordinary shaman. His role is to be perverse, to challenge the existing order, to create mischief. Often, as in the case of Prometheus and Hephaestus, he is chosen to create human beings, imbuing them with his spark of chaos and preventing them from attaining divine status. Although the trickster is clever and inventive, anything he creates or invents has a dark side. He is also a deceiver who sometimes becomes a victim of his own cleverness. The trickster, in spite of his considerable power, is often a figure of fun, laughed at by other gods. The question one may ask is why a god of considerable power would court derision. The answer is twofold: First, it is his nature, and second, in spite of the laughter directed at him, the trickster retains control of the situation, whereas direct confrontation would lead to his defeat by an older or more powerful god.


DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS

As a smith, Hephaestus represents a combination of the guardian of arcane lore and the magician. His divine choosing is evident in his parentage; he is the parthenogenic child of Hera, queen of the Olympian gods, according to both

-237-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 552

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?