Was Titanic destined to sink? What might Greek Mythology(gods) have to do with this tragic event?Based on values and concepts illustrated in the Greek myths, explain why the ancient Greeks would...

Was Titanic destined to sink? What might Greek Mythology(gods) have to do with this tragic event?

Based on values and concepts illustrated in the Greek myths, explain why the ancient Greeks would have claimed this tragedy was destined to happen.  Think about: the significance of the ship’s name, the quote spoken by an employee at the launch, the belief that the ship was “unsinkable,” and the shortage of lifeboats.

In your answer, be sure to:

·         Explain the values and concepts you have chosen

·         Include reasons why the ancient Greeks would have predicted this tragedy

·         Use details from the excerpt to support your answer.

Asked on by vladik1

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

lynn30k is correct: "hubris" was a key way to invoke the anger of various Gods, and there are numerous examples of foolish mortals who boasted too much and were punished as a result. The story of Archne is a case in point. This simple peasant girl claimed that her weaving was superior to Minerva's weaving. Minerva challenged Arachne to a contest which Arachne accepted and Arachne produced a work equal (if not slightly better) than the goddesses' piece of weaving. She split Arachne's weaving and beat her, and Arachne killed herself. As a sign of remorse, Minerva changed her into a spider and her skill of weaving was left to her.

Therefore, to the Greeks, such a quote "Not even God himself could sink this ship" was just asking for a tragedy to occur by placing man's arrogance and belief in their own skill before the strength and might of the Gods. Even calling the ship "Titanic" alludes to the Titans or the Elder Gods in Greek Mythology, who were supreme in the universe and were of enormous size and incredible strength. Atlas is one of the most famous of these.  

Thus we can see that the Titanic was in a very real fashion thought to be a monument to the skill and accomplishments of mankind in Victorian times, and the oft repeated remark that the Titanic was "unsinkable" represents a sureness in the power of mankind's progress, based on scientific advances and ever-more-wonderful discoveries. With such a confidence, you can kind of understand why it was not equipped with enough lifeboats.

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Your teacher is probably wanting you to think about the ancient sin of "hubris"--people putting themselves on the same level as the gods. In the old myths, a human believing that they were equal to the gods in any way was a sure path to destruction. The Titanic's sinking would have fit into a Greek tragedy quite nicely. The general attitude of the public was that advances in technology meant that humans were unstoppable, and could do anything.

That should give you a starting point for your essay.

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