Edith Hamilton

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Themes and Colors
Fate Theme Icon
Pride and Hubris Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Justice and Vengeance Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Mythology, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Beauty Theme Icon

Beauty appears in many of the myths, as the Greeks elevated art, music, and physical beauty above most other virtues. Beauty is often considered more important than morality or religious piety, and becomes a valuable resource that can be used for good or evil. Indeed, physical beauty more often than not causes trouble: Narcissus is ensnared by his own reflection, many beautiful women are raped by Zeus or Apollo, and the Trojan War begins over Helen’s lovely face.

The idea of artistic beauty is also idealized, as Orpheus wins over Hades with his music and Pygmalion falls in love with the statue he created. But artistic beauty is no less troublesome than physical beauty, as the jealous Daedalus murders his nephew for his clever inventions. In whatever form it takes beauty is held up as an ideal, but it also becomes something desired and fought over by both mortals and gods.

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Beauty Quotes in Mythology

Below you will find the important quotes in Mythology related to the theme of Beauty.
Introduction to Classical Mythology Quotes

With the coming forward of Greece, mankind became the center of the universe, the most important thing in it… The Greeks made their gods in their own image. That had not entered the mind of man before.

Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

One could never tell where Zeus’s thunderbolt would strike. Nevertheless, the whole divine company, with a very few and for the most part not important exceptions, were entrancingly beautiful with a human beauty, and nothing humanly beautiful is really terrifying. The early Greek mythologists transformed a world full of fear into a world full of beauty.

Related Characters: Zeus
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4, Chapter 1 Quotes

The Goddess of Love and Beauty knew very well where the most beautiful woman on earth was to be found. She led the young shepherd, with never a thought of Oenone left forlorn, straight to Sparta, where Menelaus and Helen received him graciously as a guest. The ties between guest and host were strong. Each was bound to help and never harm the other. But Paris broke that sacred bond.

Related Characters: Aphrodite, Paris, Helen, Menelaus
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6, Chapter 2 Quotes

Minerva did her best and the result was a marvel, but Arachne’s work, finished at the same moment, was in no way inferior. The goddess in a fury of anger beat the girl around the head with her shuttle. Arachne, disgraced and mortified and furiously angry, hanged herself. Then a little repentance entered Minerva’s heart… Arachne was changed into a spider, and her skill in weaving was left to her.

Related Characters: Pallas Athena, Arachne
Page Number: 425-426
Explanation and Analysis: