From the reading on the characters of the gods, it is evident that each god possesses a unique character. Some gods are more of a personality type while others are portrayed as being temperamental. However, the particular character of the gods that really gets me thinking into my image, how I relate with others, and what others think of me in the characters portrayed by Hermes. As much as the godly characters exhibit unique qualities, the essence of their categorization is to define the behaviors of the human race.
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Hermes is a trickster character whom according to Lewis (1998) a trickster is “the sly rule-breaker who often proves to be the butt of his own pranks.” A trickster is a funny character whose plots are self-defeating. A trickster character appears with trivial dispositions; but, is a representation of change in a not-so-civilized society. The role of trickster is to catalyze the eradication of deeply held traditional ways of life towards the transformation into a new society with less baggage of the taboos and cultural tenets. “The trickster usually is caught in the act, but the result is an elevated status for this mysterious figure” (Lewis, 1998).
In the study of Western mythology, the most popular trickster character is Hermes who is caught after grabbing Apollo’s livestock and makes the cattle walk backwards to leave confusing footprints. The mother is convinced that Hermes is not guilty while the father knows the truth. Nonetheless, Hermes finds the way to become the top among the Olympians. Hermes brings about change in the society by playing the trickster character to the expectation of the people. Tricksters are prophets or artists as they reveal unseen truth when the truths cannot be understood in the society (Carr, 1998-2012).
Hermes is responsible of guarding the boundaries, which gives this god the responsibility to monitor what gets in and out of Greek borders; be it messages or travelers. Hermes is sent by Zeus his father to monitor what takes place in Earth. People could make sacrifice to Hermes prior to a journey because the god takes care of the people when they travel. Hermes is young compared to the other gods and as such, the god is quick, more intelligent, and tricky. The god plays trick on other gods in what is termed as crossing the boundaries. This makes Hermes the trickster (Carr, 1998-2012).
The character of Hermes is appealing to me as it reveals the cunning nature of the young people that is used to their advantage. As a young person most people are likely to support your point of view as an absolute truth. One can therefore take advantage of this position to manipulate issues in favor of their self interests.
As much as Hermes plays the trickster character, the god is entrusted with more critical responsibility of taking care of the borders. Hermes controls information and all travel issues and this gives the god opportunity to manipulate the society and increase the trickery of Hermes. This is a perfect example of the modern behavior of the human race. Those in big positions take advantage of their absolute control of information to manipulate the thinking of others for their continual domination in the society. Another example is the biasness of the media houses that use their platform to propel economic and political agendas to favor their business sustainability.
Studying the characterization of the gods in the classical societies offers an opportunity to review the human interactions in the modern days. The modern society is full of intricate issues that can be best understood by analyzing the contradiction roles of the ancient goods and relating their traits to the modern confusion in the society. The contradiction of the modern socio-economic values against the wish of the under less privileged people is in itself trickery of the Hermes stature.
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