I said I would share the paper I wrote for my mythology class when I got it back. I got it back yesterday and made the corrections- so here it is! We were asked to write about our favorite myth or mythological being.
Dionysus, God of Wine
Dionysus, also called Bacchus, is a very complex god. It begins with his birth. He is the only god to have a mortal parent. He is also called “twice-born” because he was born from Zeus’ thigh after his mother, Semele, demanded that Zeus reveal himself to her and consequently died. Zeus gave the infant Dionysus to a group of nymphs to be raised.
He became the god of wine. This seems appropriate, as it makes him even more complex. Wine can be both good and bad. Wine cheers people, but it also makes them drunk. Thus, Dionysus is a joyful, but also savage god. His double nature makes him beneficent and malevolent. At one time, he can make men merry and free; in another, drunk and brutal.
When people worship him, they do not go to a temple or to the wilderness, they go to a theatre. Beautiful poetry and plays have been written for Dionysus. The performances are considered sacred, and everyone involved in them engaged in an act of worship. He is a god of inspiration. Some comedies, and many tragedies, were written in honor of Dionysus.
Though his worshippers do not gather in wilderness to honor Dionysus, he is connected to the land in a way only a few others can relate to. As the god of the vine, he suffers with it. In winter, he dies and is reborn with the warmer weather. It is not surprising that Dionysus became a symbol for the strange cycles of death and rebirth.
His complexity and double nature made me pick Dionysus as my favorite mythological being. People can connect to him. No one is completely good or bad. We all bring happiness and tragedy to the world. I think of him as a hopeful and inspirational god, and a tragic brutal force.