In the immoral world of Ovid’s The Metamorphoses the gods stand out like the characters of a western dime novel. A hero, usually is dressed with their purple robes held together with golden straps, that classifies them as the royal or hierarchical gods. On the other hand, you have the villain, who dresses in dark colored clothing. Also, the villain can appear dressed in white with purple clothing which exemplifies the royalty of their underworld. The gods meet each other on a day to day basis discussing the future of someone other than themselves in their muggy saloon of Olympus.
Olympus to the gods is the pulse and heart beat of their world. At this saloon in Olympus the usual takes place, the gambling of moral souls, while speculating the beautiful female that they will posses that evening, and so on. Also, you have the local disputes between the commonly known of the gods over disputes of pride, or of land an possessions, which usually ends up in a speculative fighting event of curses and destruction. Some analogies may be disputed as to how and where they derived? I will try to place them as best as possible into the spotlight of the western period.
Before I begin I like to bring out a formula that will disrupt my defense, which by the end I would like to modify and re-state is as an “what if the gods lived in the western period with their mythological power? ” The Western formula, which tends to portray the frontier as the “meeting point between civilization and savagery,” because the clash of civilization (“law and order”) with savagery, whether represented by Indians or lawless outlaws, generates dramatic excitement and striking antithesis without raising basic questions about society or about life in general.
In the perspective of moral and immoral beings that Ovid presents in a mythological poetic voice translates well in an analytical western perspective. The image that comes to mind when placing the immoral gods of Olympus in a western setting is as difficult but humorous. First, is the gods, that is where do you place them, and in what category? We need to distinguish from the hero to the villain, while justifying the accurate setting for their events. Second, we need to identify how we are going to place the gods the western setting.
Since they all appear to constantly meet and challenge each other the proper placement would be a dirty saloon in a the famous city of Olympus. This saloon will represent Olympus, where the travelers and locals will converse, gamble with the lives of the mortals, and speculate the dancing show girls of immortal goddess. However, in the immortal saloon of gods the education and strategies of fighting will differ from that of the western formula. The gods are no uneducated savages nor villains of low IQ. No, our gods are like top level executives or politicians running our country to their best.
The gods will fight out their battle with superior levels of sophisticated planning. Through their battles instead of the help of dragons, curses, swords, shield, and other earth related objects that will assist them in battle, a six-piece shooter can be supplemented. The doors of the saloon stand as a symbol, a gateway between the immortal and mortal world. This door is the fuel of conflicts where the furies and quarrels will meet on a daily basis. What would be the purpose of the west or the gods if they lived one day without some form of destruction or curse?
Through the same doors the servants will bring them their daily sacrifices and festive meals that fuel their next move. Mortals feared the gods so therefore, sacrifices where necessary in pleasing the mighty and strong. Sacrifices of animals kept the gods content, as like it did for the local real estate tycoon, collecting royalties for being who he was, and the fear he instilled into the ranchers souls of losing their possessions and dignity. It is almost as if the mythology and western scenes portrayed themselves in a similar fashion of settings, except with and upgrade.
You could describe the difference as in a traveler who needed a room, and two hotels where in the same vicinity and at the same price. However, one was the Hilton and the other was a Motel Six, they are both hotels, except one is of a finer upgraded class and quality of service, which means that the level of living would be different. Jove wouldn’t be caught in a Motel Six, when he is the god of gods, for he is a Hilton god, and needs to have the best service. Now that our gods are placed into the scene, next we need to identify our characters and place them into the western environment.
Jove, who is the son of Saturn and Rhea; highest of the gods, could be portrayed as both a hero and a villain. The villain would come out of him in certain events such as possessing any woman he feels like and cheating on his wife. In the west the hero is usually a Christian man with moral and rational values; our god is the creator of his own values. However, as a hero he can save or destroy the mortals. He sits in the corner with travelers, and other gods gambling in the reserved section for the immortals. Jove, if disturbed or upset in a foul or undesired way, he will simply destroy you and whoever he wants.
In a general and logical perspective Jove is almost like the town mayor, state governor, and real estate tycoon. Jove, is the character with brains, power and money, that is what “Jove wants, Jove gets. ” Perseus, son of Danae and Jove; who is one of the greatest of Ovid’s heroes, sits next to Jove in this table of card players of immortal gods. Perseus is like a John Wayne of the west, that is he comes across saving the day by defeating the villain, and then running off falling in love with the most charming and attractive woman of the town.
Lets take an example of a hero defeating a villain in the western scene, but using gods as our characters. Medusa, one of the Gorgons, seduced by Neptune, who’s head represented the polar extremes of beauty and horror. She was the one of the villains of the western scene, except, in this scenario she is dressed in different costume that you would normally see in a John Wayne film. When Perseus and Medusa meet like all common plot and end of a heroic movies or scenes our Perseus slashes off her head, to which he will eventually use to destroy the sea monster. Ovid describes this scene; The as the beast rolled its soft belly open,
Or bared its neck, his crowded sword struck in: At back grown tough with sea-wet barnacles, At flanks, or at the thin and fishlike tail. The beast began to vomit purple spew, And Perseus, wings, damp with salt spray, grew heavy; He saw a rock that pierced the shifting waters As they stilled, now curtained by the riding Of the waves, and leaped to safety on it. He struck his sword three times and then again into the dragons bowels. Perseus, with his heroic talented gifts defeats the dragon and saves the chained girl and walks away triumphantly in the eyes of the spectators, which Ovid states: Even the highest balconies of heave,
From which the gods looked down on Perseus, Rang with great cheers; Chepheus and his wife, Cassiope, called to their hero as a gallant Bridegroom who saved the glory of their house. And now the girl, chains dropped away stepped forward, The cause for which he fought and his reward. Similarly, the western scenario is the same you have your hero and villain about to defend and fight each other for the prize of survival and self dignity. In some context you could say that Charles Darwin’s notion that due to the social disapproval of asocial behavior is a cause for these individuals to perform in such manner.
Usually, after battle you will find that only one will survive, leaving either the hero or the villain to praise in the arena of violence. These two scenes presented by Ovid lead us to similar comparisons of that of the West. For example, after our hero wins the fight, he then walks back into the saloon, there the spectators and the heroes drink from the bar-or now it would be wine and feast on the fruitful sacrifices or food prepared-and discus future events. As we enter the inner soul of the saloon more characters come into the scene.
Another possibility is that our gods was ridding his winged horse through town when he happened to see a poor innocent beautiful woman, whose beauty struck him with courageous valor. He dashes to her rescue where she is tied up to twenty barrels of dynamite in the center of the tracks, and a three-hundred ton passenger train narrowing the time of doom. Another scenario that can describe our god is the common version. The local villain abducts local beautiful girl, and what a coincidence. Guess who happens to be near by on his flying horse?
Perseus, from the distance sees this awful conditions the villain is inflicting onto his soon to be bride or love. He dashes down wipes out the villain and walks triumphantly with his dignity and new woman through the crowd of spectators advertising his hubris world. The last is the scenario is where you have the local town fight. A fight which bursts out into the streets with intensity from the saloon, and spectators gathered outside to see the showdown. However, the hero outnumbered by 10 to 1 gets help from Athena, and the head of the serpent woman Medusa.
Within minutes our hero triumphantly devours everyone and walks back into the saloon where he will take his seat next to Jove at the card table of the gods. Meanwhile, the spectators pick up the remains of the deceased or mourn for their loved ones. Common sense and responsibility of any common moral western citizen is written in stone; Don not mess with the best, for if you do, you die like the rest. Inside the saloon we have Media, daughter of Aeetes, King of Colchis; seduced by Jason, reminds me of a head mistress of the saloon.
Ovid presents her as an enchantress and a worshipper of Hecate, the goddess of night. In my perspective this character is deadly in her own domain, as if she was the black widow and the saloon was her web. To the men who disrespect and deceive her ways or rules end up dead. Amongst the gods she would be feared by some or wanted by others in the saloon. Then you have Europe, who was one of the daughters of Tyrians girls. Europa, stands out as a mortal who Jove desired, and like a pimp seduced her and put her on the payroll-after taking her into his possession, that is sex-of the immortal woman’s rooster.
Women in the Mythological era and Western were treated unfairly and viewed as unequal in value, and purposes. In the west your common woman was viewed in several aspects. First, the woman could appear as a loving Christian mother who tends the home by: cooking, cleaning, knitting, and finally becoming the baby factory. This type of character was rarely seen through Ovid in such context as the Western setting and character. However, the male gods did have their wives at home, but at times the bed was not always shared by that one man.
Sometimes the child was born from different fathers and mothers than that of the actual marriage. The second type of woman was dirty, savage looking and wore her holsters, chewing on her tobacco herding cows, on a strong sturdy horse. More or less, she was your local woman with brass balls, or a “Tom boy. ” This character would best describe Athena. Even though she is seen as a beautiful figure who takes the breath and sight of many, she appears in a different perspective. Athena, if provoked can turn into you local Tom Boy, by kicking the living crap out of you, your family, and any one else who cares to avenge the villain.
Athena’s behavior is due to the gods who raised her, for she was born from the male gods and acted as the male gods if needed. Third, you had your party girl, or the loose type of woman that could be seduced with power, or money. In a perspective way Medea, Europa , Io, and any other woman our gods desired, fit into this category of woman. These woman our the lust and hubris prizes of the saloon that gods feast their eyes onto, and when desired posses them at their will. Of these girls Medea stands out as the head mistress, who keeps the male gods in line.
If any god crosses it they might be cutting off their own head. The gods, like in the west, lived their day to day life based on the actions and events that others created. After the events were in motion the gods simply added flavor or spice to the event. For example, when Perseus during his wedding finds himself in a quarrel with his brother, which eventually through the help of Athena, and the head of Medusa, that he defeated earlier, devours his opponents and those left standing with vengeance in their eyes he turned to stone.
The help from the gods reminds me of the local marshal or sheriff, who when are in need of help to track down villains or outmatched in a shoot-out, finds assistance from other local heroes which help him to save the day. However, this can turn bad for the hero when faced with the same scenario with no assistance. For example, lets say when the gods all agree on an planned event that is due to occur and one disagrees, he or she has no choice but to agree with one side or the other.
Subsequently, then a problem arises when the god or goddess goes against the others, depending who they betrayed will suffer the consequences by either side. So the reality is that in the west you never double cross anyone, or cross anyone who is stronger and powerful than you. In the same context we can place the gods and goddess of the Ovid period, that is who they shouldn’t to cross. For in the Mythological saloon messing with the strong will only wind you up either cursed, banned or dismissed from the social circle of the strong elite immortal gods table of triumph and hubris attitudes.
Finally you come to the overall picture of the West Vs the Gods of Myth and how they coincide with osmosis into a similar pattern of lifestyle, except with limitations. Those limitations vary from the sophisticated level of IQ, the grammar and form of communication use-and finally instead of the normal six-piece shooter and your normal villain-you have the Cyclops, dragons, magic, swords, shields, flying horses and help from other gods, with Jove the one with the final say.
Place all the gods and goddess in a sophisticated social saloon, and follow their actions as from those of the west; the results would be close to identical except in the world of immortality the only way you die is through by the death of another deed. Where as in the West death is brought onto the morals, however, our gods and goddess exemplify their western look through deed and action that Ovid so poetically portrays them. I believe that our gods would of made great bandits, bank robbers and local heroic marshals.
No mater how, or who they may have been, I see a convincing comparison between the two. If you were to strip away Jove’s power and authority, and replace it with a six-piece shooter, money, and a political office; you would make him a hero, or feared tycoon with power. Take away Media’s clothes and power, place her in the cage of her saloon and dress her in the skimpy clothing, that bears a little more than needed, and then give her the title of the head mistress.
Take Perseus, give him a six-piece shooter, a badge, and a hat; you have a Wyatt Erp or John Wayne. The gods and the Western times of literature were different from each other, but only in time and the mentality. If you were to switch them however, the consequences could differ, unless you substitute them properly with the right mix of necessities. Thus you create the perfect Western saloon of Olympus for the immortal gods and goddess of Ovid’s The Metamorphoses.