Sunday, February 26, 2012

Who are Deucalion and Pyrrha?

I love reading the Literature of the Greek and the English as well. The characters portrayed by different gods and goddesses amuse me because of their extraordinary power that sets to cause twists and turns over the other characters in the story. I find part of reading them humorous and funny, but most I find it igniting, curios and even furious.

Just like this part of the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha that pauses me for minutes because of the underlying meaning of how fate leads their lives into a situation that calls them to believe.

To better understand what I mean, I will share to you the page of the story which I got from the Classical Era portion of the Greek and English Literature Book.

Deucalion and Pyrrha

Almost every human being was now dead. Only two people, Deucalion and Pyrrha, were still alive, afloat on the ocean in a small boat, and Zeus knew that if the human race were to survive, he would have let these two live. Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus, but they were neither disobedient nor stupid. In fact, there were the best of humans, and always quick to honor the gods. They would make the best possible parents for the new race of human beings.

Little by little, the ocean grew calm and the highest peaks of mountains began to appear. As the flood receded, the two summits of Mount Parnassus, which before and since the flood reared high enough into the heavens to pierce the clouds, now pierced the surface of the ocean, and the little boat stuck between them. The first thing that Deucalion and Pyrrha did was to give thanks to the gods of Mount Parnassus and pray for their help, as they watched the waters diminish and the mountain grow tall again.

From their vantage point high on the mountain, Deucalion and Pyrrha could see far across the countryside. They watched as the rivers began to flow once more within their banks and the trees shook mud off their leaves. They could now see the ruined temple of Thermis, but no other signs that humans had ever lived on Earth. Quickly, they walked down to the River Cephisus and sprinkled drops of its water onto their wet clothes and wet hair, as a mark of respect for the goddess. Then they knelt down close to the temple, praying  that Thermis would help them rescue the entire human race from extinction.

Themis is a gentle goddess who is remarkably skilled at foretelling the future. She announced to Deucalion and Pyrrha, “You must walk away from the temple, veiling you heads and loosening your garments, throwing behind you the bones of your mother.” Pyrrha was totally appalled at the thought of digging up the grave of her mother and throwing away her bones, but then she remembered that oracles usually spoke in riddles. Together with Deucalion, she puzzled over the goddess command. “The oracle would never tell us to do anything that would offend the gods,” said Deucalion. “The mother that she speaks of, must mean the great mother of all, Gaia the earth goddess, and the mother’s bones must be the stones in the ground.

Neither Deucalion nor Pyrhha was confident that this was what the oracle meant, but they could think of no better interpretation of her words. With their head veiled and their garments loosened, they picked up stones from the muddy ground and began to walk away from the temple. At every step, they threw a stone or two behind them. Each stone, as it fell back into the mud, started to change shape and grow larger. They began to look like roughly carved marble statues, then like statues as big as life, and finally they grew warm and started to breathe. Each stone that Pyrhha threw behind her turned into a woman, and each stone that Deucalion threw behind him, turned into a man. This is why the peoples of Earth are strong and tough, because their origin was the strong, tough stones of Parnassus.                                                                                                                                              
My side:

Prior to the statements above, probably you might wonder why the Earth is flooded with water. Zeus was mad to the humans because the immortals are making contacts with them. Zeus is afraid that the immortals will continued to have children with the humans and so, Zeus ordered Poseidon (Neptune), the god of the sea to cause flood to the Earth to punish the people. With his (Poseidon’s) trident, he shook the earth until it cracked open, letting the sea flood in. There are gigantic waves and cities washed away. People ended up starving to death on the ocean.

But only Deucalion and Pyrhha were saved out from the flood. That is why, they are thankful because they are the only ones who were saved. In order to regain life on Earth, Thermis gave them message to ponder and one that they think out from what Thermis said, they threw stones on the mud, causing people to live.

I can associate the happening of Deucalion and Pyrrha of the coming of Christ. When the judgment day comes, it is written in the Bible that the Earth will totally experience so much pains and trials from natural calamities that no one could ever control. God is mad at people because of ceaseless sinfulness and the wicked ways they are committing day by day just like Zeus who is mad to the immortals for having contacts with the mortals. We, people are the mortals but if we do have contacts with the superficial, immortals, the evil ways and satan, we will be drown to sinfulness, and that God is never happy with it.

But only Deucalion and Pyrhha were saved. They represent the persons who have a deep trust and faith in God. They are worshipping, praising and thanking God all their lives. They are the ones who is not afraid to die. They are ready all their lives. They are the ones who were saved because they believe, accept and ask forgiveness to God. They are good persons. They don’t disobey God. That is the reason that they are saved.

On the day of Jesus’ coming, there are those souls whose spirits will be lifted to Heaven and there are those who will forever chain in hell. The throwing of stones by Deucalion and Pyrhha is the symbolism for final judgment. There are those spirits that God forgives and they too can inherit Heaven while there are those as well who never turn away from sins and thus, they go to hell.

This part of the story in the English and Greek Literature donate a wide idea of preparation, preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ Jesus. It is in us, who can make us in Heaven. Through forgiveness and prayers, we can tell that we are saved. Plus, doing good acts of helping people without asking the costs in return is the act that surely makes us pleasing to God. We will be saved.

In learning Literature, one should not go deeper into literally interpreting what just one sees. You need to go down deeper to the meaning of the words and relate it to the present situations or the events that realistically points life. It is never hard to learn Literature unless you have the tools to deeply understand what each statement or paragraph means. Relating the story to actual life situation is the best technique to deeply build understanding of the text.

Cecille Ann Gregory, author of this blog

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