Project

Immortality and its Discontents in Greek myth

Goal: In Greek myth, the blessedness of the gods’ eternal life is a constant foil for ephemeral human life. Despite the attractiveness of immortality, the myths reveal its impossibility as a satisfactory outcome for human beings, perhaps because it vitiates the very category of the human. In mythic treatments of immortality, two contradictory impulses collide, one attempting to negate the reality and necessity of death while the other embraces humanity with all of its limits and losses.

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Deborah J Lyons
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In Greek myth, the blessedness of the gods’ eternal life is a constant foil for ephemeral human life. Despite the attractiveness of immortality, the myths reveal its impossibility as a satisfactory outcome for human beings, perhaps because it vitiates the very category of the human. In mythic treatments of immortality, two contradictory impulses collide, one attempting to negate the reality and necessity of death while the other embraces humanity with all of its limits and losses.