Term Paper: Greek Mythology in a Kingdom

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Greek Mythology

In a kingdom before the beginning of time, there were many gods who ruled both the sky and the earth. They were proud supernatural beings who feared no one, and often confronted and fought each other for supremacy. They ruled all mortals who were led by kings but obeyed only the gods up in the sky. Mortals thought storms, drought, scorching heat, and so on were all signs from the gods who were punishing them for their disobedience and lack of respect. Although most mortals feared and obeyed the gods, there were also a few who thought they were above the authority of the gods. These people were often subjected to horrendous trials by the gods, and in the end, were severely punished and oftentimes, killed. These punishments included physical or mental torture, threats, the confiscation of their property and wealth, the abduction of their children or wives, and so on. However in some cases, the gods were so angry with a particular mortal that they did not want to inflict direct punishment onto the human in question, but to determine him to lose his mind and punish himself.

In this kingdom, laws were clear: no mortal was allowed to talk directly to the gods unless they addressed him first. Also, they could not appeal to human protection from the gods because the latter held absolute power over all mortals. The gods sometimes addressed humans and made them proposals in the form of 'contracts' which stipulated terms and conditions for both parties. For instance, if a god wanted a particular mortal to build him a temple on earth, he could address that person and offer him certain favors in exchange for building him a shrine. However, mortals were allowed their free will, in the sense that no mortal was obligated to obey the word of the gods if the former did not want to do so. Nonetheless, in order for a mortal to reject the proposal of a god, he had to keep their conversation a secret, and at the same time, swear he would not try to obtain what he was promised by the god in any other way apart from fulfilling the task the god in question had asked him to perform. This meant that rejecting the proposal of a god meant the human was also rejecting the reward the god had offered. This rejection was also a sort of silent promise that the mortal would never chase that certain reward again in his life. Hence, if someone was rejecting the wealth offered by a god he was also denouncing his right to try to obtain that wealth through different methods.

Karos was a mortal. He was a famous architect who lived in this kingdom. He had a wife, Ana, and three children, and they were very happy together as a family. However, Karos was not completely satisfied with his life because he craved fame. He was famous throughout the kingdom but wanted to be renowned in other kingdoms as well. Also, he wanted to be a wealthy man because he believed that was the only way he could befriend the king, and thus obtain the admiration and respect of all the inhabitants of the kingdom. He spent his days planning and dreaming about a glorious future and was frequently cold with his wife and disenchanted with family life and its daily routine.

One day, the god Atonos - the god of glory and success - showed himself to Karos and asked to talk to him. Karos accepted although he knew the gods only showed themselves to mortals when they had a proposal to them. Atonos wanted Karos to build him the biggest and most beautiful temple in the entire kingdom. Apart from the temple, the god also wanted a palace where he could live whenever he wanted to come down from the sky and live with the mortals. Because he wanted to live in seclusion, the temple would be built in a sparsely inhabited part of the kingdom where landslides were common, and rainfall was usually abundant. His request could have appeared unreasonable to most mortals, but Karos, being the proud man that he was, gladly jumped at the opportunity to display his building skills in front of the gods. However, Atonos warned him that if he failed at this task, or could not complete it in time, he would be killed. In fact, his punishment was even more frightening than death itself: Atonos would send Karos to the God of Fear and Insanity, Tex. The kingdom of Tex was located between the sky and the underworld and was populated with demented people who floated around and tried to talk to mortals but the latter could not hear them. In the event of a success, Karos would receive fame, fortune and recognition from both gods and mortals. Despite the consequences of a failure, Karos decided to accept the god's proposal. He was given 30 days to complete the task, and build Atonos the grandest temple ever built in honor of a god.

Karos embarked on a three-day journey to Halcada, the region of the kingdom where the temple and palace were to be built. He recruited 10 workers and decided to take his wife with him. However, because of the harsh conditions in the region of Halcada, and the three-day journey across the kingdom, the two did not take their three children with them. They arrived in Halcada after a long and strenuous journey, and settle in a cave near the site for the temple and the palace. The weather was rainy and rather cold; the sky was heavy with clouds. Surprisingly enough, the weather improved considerably overnight and Karos and his ten-men team started working the following day.

The first two or three days were quite favorable because it did not rain, and the workers could get the land ready for the construction of the temple. Days went by, and after about a week, they all seemed optimistic and confident they would finish the temple and palace in time. The men would go to work every morning at dusk, while Ana would stay home in the cave and cook for them. During the day whenever she had some free time, Ana would walk around Halcada and try to find the sea because every night, the twelve people inhabiting the cave could hear the sound of waves hitting the shore. However, she could not find any body of water that could have been causing the sounds. Ana was frightened whenever she heard the sound of waves; she tried talking to her husband about it, but he did not want to hear her concerns, and would always ask her to talk about it some other time. After only twelve days spent in Halcada, Ana and Karos could no longer talk to each other calmly, and argued extensively. The eleven men finished the construction of the palace, and were not getting ready to start building the temple whose foundation they had laid days before. The construction was going well, so Karos was always bragging about his achievement and congratulating himself with every chance he got while Ana became more and more miserable and lonely. Halfway through the 30 days Atonos had given to Karos for the construction of the temple and palace, things started to go wrong. It started raining heavily again; at the end of the fifteenth day, the foundation of the temple was destroyed, and the palace was shaking and appeared ready to collapse any second. By the end of the sixteenth day, both the temple and the palace had crumbled.

Atonos showed himself to Karos again; the following day, the god confronted the architect and asked him whether or not he wanted to back out and abandon the construction. Karos immediately replied he would build the temple and the palace irrespective of the climate and any other obstacles. Atonos was in fact offering the mortal the chance to go back home without being punished for his failure to build the temple. The only thing Atonos wanted from Karos was for the latter to recognize defeat, and to accept his failure in front of himself, the gods, and the entire kingdom. This, of course, meant public humiliation and the end of his career and dreams of being praised as the best architect in all kingdoms. However, this also meant he would not be sent to Tex, and be able to return home to his children and resume his family life. Karos was not ready to abandon his hopes for fame, and lust for wealth, so he rejected the proposal of Atonos and went back to work with his team. They started building again but to no avail. Whenever they managed to finish part of any of the two buildings, they would crumble in front of the workers' eyes. The workers were becoming more and more frustrated, and were talking about going back home and abandoning… [END OF PREVIEW]

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