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Greek And Celtic Myths Essay

5303 words - 22 pages

The Celtic myth, 'The Dream of Oenghus,' relates the tale of Oenghus the Celtic god of love and his long search for true love. Oenghus is the son of Boann and Daghdhae. Boann the white cow goddess, and Daghdhae the father of all gods, the 'good god.'In a dream Oenghus sees 'the loveliest figure in Ireland...' His memory of this vision makes him ill with loneliness and he begins to waste away. With the help of his mother, and another of his fathers' sons, Bodhbh, he begins his search for the girl he dreamt of. When, after years, he successfully completes his search the lovers' travels to Bruigh Mac, his home.Chronologically and geographically distant, Apuleius second century record of the ...view middle of the document...

' Eventually after many trials and tribulations, largely at the inspiration of the still jealous Venus, she is reunited with Cupid and comes to live the live of the immortals.These myths share a common fundamental theme. In both instances, the myths document a love between a mortal and a god. Moreover, both of the courtship's involve long periods of separation, difficult and desperate journeys in pursuit of the beloved, and deep ongoing uncertainty as to the ultimate outcome of the fat of the lovers. Clearly, it is not unreasonable to contend that they cover some common ground and address a conventional human dilemma.At the same time one can identify significant differences in the myths. 'The Dream Of Oenghus' a god, Oenghus, pursues a mortal. In 'Cupid And Psyche' a mortal Psyche, must illustrate her love for the immortal, Cupid. Oenghus, receives the willing assistance of other immortals in his search for his beloved. Cupid is also occasionally assisted by other immortals. However, Cupid and Psyche also endure the wrath of Venus and her endless demands on Psyche. In their relationship they must labor against malevolent gods.In the 'Dream Of Oenghus' Caer, the mortal object of Oenghus' passion, is remarkably free of the influence of the gods. Oenghus must seek her, he must identify her, and he cannot simply buy her. In the tale of 'Cupid and Psyche' it is psyche who must demonstrate her love and endure humiliation and hard labor to win back her ideal and supernatural lover, Cupid.Thus, these myths share a common theme, courtship and the pursuit of love: Specifically, the pursuit of divine or ideal love. However, their representations of this vary significantly. Nevertheless, these variations serve to reveal a great deal about the assumptions underlying these myths. Assumptions that relate to the nature of the gods, human nature, and the experience of love. The remainder of this discussion will focus on these slight but specific variations in an effort to enlighten the assumptions underlying offer significant information about the perceptions of love in Celtic and Roman culture.It would be a serious understatement to suggest that the course of love runs smoother for Oenghus than it does for Psyche. Following his vision Oenghus is overwhelmed by melancholy, a depression so pervasive that he falls into a generalized malaise.However, when the root of his affliction is diagnosed by Finghin, 'you have fallen in love in absence,' the assistance of Boann is immediately enlisted. When this is of no use both Daghdhae and Bodhbh willingly join the search. The gods are united in their assistance to Oenghus.On the other hand, the gods are remarkably incapable of influencing mortal behavior. When the girl is identified the gods cannot simply seize her. Oenghus is taken to identify her, which he does, and Bodhbh explains, 'Even if you do recognize her, I have no power to give her, and you may only see her.'To actually obtain the girl they must enter into a...

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