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hrough an analysis of the myths of Isis, Hathor and Durga, it is
evident that the theme that stands out most about the role of women in
society is that of a protector. From the readings the woman is depicted
as the one who faces challenges and hardships in order to protect the
ones that she loves from evil. In the story of Isis, the character trait
of a protector is evident in how she hides and Horus, her son and the
rightful n heir of the throne, from his uncle (Young 129). Through the
myth Isis is depicted as the protector of pharaohs and the royal
succession (Young 128).
The goddess Hathor is also depicted as a fierce protector of the royal household. When Re, the creator of the Universe, is faced with a rebellions, Hathor is sent to protect his Kingship by killing those who threatened to rebel against the Re (Young 130). Her wrath is so fierce that she has to be tricked in order for her to stop the killing. Through her actions, it can be argued that both Hathor and Isis are protectors of the royal household.
The role of the woman as a protector is also evident in the myth of the great goddess Durga. The goddess protected other gods from the buffalo demon that threatened them by killing the demon (Young 289). Through an analysis of the story, it is evident that the buffalo demon threatened the lives and welfare of the other god and they created the Durga to protect them since the demon could only be killed by a woman (Young 289).
Through their roles as protectors it is also evident from the stories that women are also bringers of order in chaotic situations. In the myth of Durga, the buffalo demon represents the bringer of chaos into the world (Young 289). Through her act of killing the demon, Durga brings order to the chaotic situation. The goddess Isis is also portrayed as the bringer of order in chaotic situations. The act of killing Osiris brings chaos to the train of royal succession as he had no heir at the time.
Isis brought about order to this chaotic situation by searching for Osiris body parts which were scattered in different areas, impregnating herself with Osiris child and grooming Horus, Osiris son, to take the throne back from his uncle. By ensuring that Osiris son is the one who takes the throne, Isis brings order to the chaotic situation at the time. In the myth of Hathor, the role of woman as a bringer of order is evident through her actions of killing those who sought to rebel against Re. the threat of rebellion against Re brought chaos to the natural order of the time and Hathor was able to stop that chaos.
Through the text, it is also evident that women occupy the role of mothers in society. In the story of Isis her role as a mother is seen in her actions of giving birth to Horus and raising him. It is also evident in her portrayal as the mother of all pharaohs. The role of a woman as a mother is also seen in the story of Durga who is referred to as the mother of the world. She is also depicted as the mother of Kali a goddess whom she gave birth to while in the heat of battle (Young 299). Post NUMBER #2
Paganism and Polytheists Discussion
There are two critical themes that come out of women, and which seems to pervade and span across multiple cultures. The first common theme about women that seems to span multiple cultures is that the presence of women brings about life and prosperity. In this respect, the pervading theme about women is that they are both the source of life and the source of prosperity. For example, the myth of the goddess Laksmi holds that she arose from the ocean following its churning, and became the source of “good fortune and prosperity” (Young 302). Therefore, the myth of the goddess Laksmi holds the common role of women as that of givers of life, emphasizing that the eternal Sri “is the mother of the world” (Young 302). Similarly, the theme of women acting as both the source of life and prosperity is present in the myth of the goddess Innana, which intimates that she also played the dual role of “the goddess of life and fertility” (Young 140). Indeed, the concept of women being able to give rise to both life and prosperity is manifest in such great magnitude, that the women’s ability has been termed to be “as broad as the earth” (Young 141). The concept of women being perceived as the source of life and prosperity in the society is also repeated in the myth of the goddess Hathor. The myth holds that Hathor, “as the goddess of fertility, is associated with sexuality and agricultural plenty” (Young 130). In essence therefore, the myth holds that women are critical source of provisions for the living. It can therefore be concluded that one of the common themes about women that span across multiple cultures is that women are at the core of fertility and prosperity of any society.
The second common theme about women, which also seem to span multiple cultures, is that of women being multifaceted, or at least possessing duo personalities. On the one hand, women’s personality is that of serving the society by being the critical source of life, fertility and prosperity. On the other hand, women also play a critical role as key destroyers of the society. For example, in the myth of the goddess Laksmi, she has been termed as “the firewood”, while also being termed as “the desire” that puts greed into the male gods (Young 302). Consequently, the women’s desires contribute to evils such as greed in the society, which ultimately leads to its destruction. In the same fashion, the myth of goddess Innana also holds her as destructive, asserting that “you devastate rebellious lands…you devour cadavers like a dog” (Young 141). These attributions to goddess Innana indicate that; although she is the goddess of life and also fertility, she also has a severely destructive side of her, which can also devastate the society. The myth of the goddess Hathor also stamps on the duo-faced concept of women, by asserting that “her nature is not always benign. An early text inscribed on the three royal tombs…reveals the destructive side of her nature” (Young 130). The myth goes ahead to state that once women have reverted to their destructive nature, even the gods cannot be able to control or appease them. For example, the goddess Hathor goes ahead to destroy and kill and devastate uncontrollably, until she is tricked into drunken stupor.