Term Paper: Aphrodite and Venus

Pages: 7 (2249 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] She is not helpful to anyone, and she seems to cause the people she associates with no end of pain. Even the people who are compared to her in beauty, Helen and Penelope, are seen as tragic figures because they have the beauty of Aphrodite and inspire the same madness that she does. Helen is the cause of a great war which destroys a people, and Penelope is the object of a great many suitors affection and demise when her husband comes back. But, the beauty of Venus is an inspiration to everyone who sees her. She is seen a morning star, and in the islands that she inhabits as adding to their beauty. The sailors seem to fall in love with her because they know that she is their protector, but they do not fall silly madly in love with her. There is no madness associated with Venus' beauty, it seems to be quite the opposite actually.

Even though there is only one similarity between the two goddesses in the books, there are a lot of dissimilarities. Venus is a kind protector who does not allow the other gods to cause them any undue harm. This seems to make Bacchus jealous, but he is not able to overcome the love and protection of Venus. On the other hand, Aphrodite is the antithesis, if anything, in The Odyssey. She is selfish and would probably not help Odysseus if she had the ability. Her entire focus is on herself. Also, she is presented as the object of a song and not as anything real that aids the sailors on their journey. Although the tales of Aphrodite give the sailors pleasure when the bard sings about them, the actual Aphrodite never lifts a single finger to help them in any way even though they are set upon by much more horrible adventures than the Portuguese sailors can dream of.

Another difference seems to be the way that the writers describe who they are. Camoes is almost loving in his portrayal of Venus and her attempts to aid the sailors, and then in the manner in which he speaks of her interest in them. He caresses the words to such an extent that it seems he may have gotten some of the madness himself. Homer has none of this reverence for his goddess subject. He seems to be joyful during the bards account of Aphrodite's affair and imprisonment. He talks of her as caught and whining to the other gods trying to get them to let her out. In the end a soliloquy between Apollo and Hermes reveals that Hermes would go through the same torture three times over to lay with Aphrodite one time (Stewart). This is the authors way of relating that although she has the beauty and the grace, she also has the evil ability to ensnare. Homer seems to think of her as a danger to herself and others, and does not have much good to say about her.


It is interesting to look at the two characters whom many would think of as one through the eyes of different authors. Homer wants his love goddess to be petty, histrionic and attention-seeking; while Camoes wants his love goddess to show the higher elements of love. Camoes seems to have a matured goddess. If she is the same as the Greek goddess then she has matured through the tragedies of the Greeks and the Romans. Of course, it has been a few centuries since she was the bane of herself in The Odyssey, but, if she is the same goddess, she has matured immensely. Of course it is foolish to think that the two authors are discussing the same goddess and they definitely want to use her for different of her qualities. To Homer she is the flighty goddess of passionate love, whereas to Camoes she is the nurturing goddess of motherly love. It is the same emotion, but it is expressed in very different ways. Maybe that is the story of these two goddesses. Though they are goddesses over the same things, they express that possession very differently. As mentioned before, one is a much more mature version of the other.

Works Cited

Camoes, Luis de. The Lusiad. Trans. William Julius Mickle. London: Lackington, Allen & Co., 1809. Web.

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Samuel Butler. New York: Plain Label Books, 2009. Web.

Stewart, Michael. "Aphrodite," Greek Mythology: From the Iliad… [END OF PREVIEW]

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