Greek Mythology

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How were Greek gods and goddesses similar to humans?

Quick answer:

Gods and goddesses were just like humans, except immortal and with magic powers.

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The Greek gods and goddess were like humans in almost every way. Indeed, there are far more similarities than differences. The gods are immortal and have magical, though limited, powers. They live on nectar and ambrosia. Otherwise, they are just like mortals, creatures of passion and caprice, greedy, lustful, credulous, quick to anger. Their similarity to mortals is demonstrated by the frequency with which they form relationships with mortals, even, in the case of minor gods and goddesses, going so far as to marry, like Thetis with Peleus or Eros with Psyche. Even where there is no romantic relationship, Athena, for instance, seems to have more of an affinity with Odysseus than with any of her fellow Olympians.

Relationships between gods and mortals often lead to semi-divine heroes, such as Heracles, Achilles or Aeneas. However, the fact that these heroes can die means they have much more in common with the mortal parent than the divine one. Not only do the gods never die, they seldom seem to suffer any more than the momentary humiliation of Ares and Aphrodite caught in adultery. This means that the gods are never tragic and cannot reach the emotional profundity of the great mortal heroes of Greek epic and tragedy.

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