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Throughout history, humankind has looked back to the past, to seek the truth about morals,
religion, and how they both impact and define civilization. Stories and myths from ancient
Greece show overbearing resemblance to our own Bible as both shun the many temptations of
our soul either by teaching the value of a characteristic or warning of the "ill fruits
reaped". Dante Alighieri revealed in his Divine Comedy that "Pride, Envy, and Avarice are
the three sparks, [the three universal deadly sins] that have set these hearts on fire"
(Bartlett 80). This statement is quite true for these three enticements have existed
evidently in belief systems and moral codes since the creation of fire. One of the most
obvious portrayals of avarice or greed in Greek mythology is the tragic story of King
Midas and his golden touch (Coolidge 90). Midas longed to be the wealthiest man in the
world and asked the most foolish request of Dionysus -- to have the golden touch. Too late
Midas realized his folly, for as he dined. The food and ale in his mouth quickly turned to
hard metal. Midas shocked at the fate he had bestowed upon himself left the great hall in
search of Dionysus, the god of festival, but came across his daughter. Unfortunately
before heeding his warning, she gave her father a loving embrace and immediately turned to
the yellowish element (MacPherson 49-50). Midas survived but paid the eternal price.
Through this toil, he learned that no matter how precious gold is, once down to bare
essentials it can not buy back love or life lost or even sustain life. The Christian Bible
incorporates this mythís moral interpretation as well. One of the most notorious events
that teaches Christians of today the dangers and repercussions of greed is the story of
Jacob and Esau. Because of the birth order, Esau was entitled to the inheritance in its
entirety, leaving Jacob, once his father died, virtually destitute. Defying his brother,
father, and family for the sake of avarice, Jacob used trickery to deceive his father and
steal the inheritance (Genesis 25:13). In this instance, Jacobís theft and departure
results in a family torn to pieces. This lesson of greed turned disaster is a valued one
that todayís society must incorporate in order to reach a higher level of being.
Unfortunately, pleasant epithets such as "acquisitiveness" and "determined" that are
viewed in the business world as favorable mask this foul character trait in our present
culture. Today, there are no gods and goddesses to openly and immediately prosecute the
cupidity and so this character trait spreads like wild fire from one cut-throat to the
next. Instead, the greedy realize their blunder only at death when they fall from the
glorious gates of Heaven to fiery depths of Hell, where they can covet only fire from
their neighbor. Mythological and biblical text most often target arrogance of all moral
lessons. The Bible clearly warns, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit
before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). One of the many myths in Grecian time that cautions the
vile effects of hubris is the folk-tale of Arachne (Switzer 25). Arachne was so skilled in
the art of weaving that observers came from miles around to watch her enchanting motions
on the spinner produce such magnificent tapestries. Over time, the girlís head began to
swell with the influx of compliments. Soon she began to openly boast about her work being
superior to that of any god or goddess (de Loverdo 149). One day when Arachne claimed "to
be equal to the immortal gods themselves" in her exceptional talent to a crowd of
commoners, an old woman stood up and advised her to "ask pardon of Athena for your words"
(Coolidge 24). After Arachne scoffed at this advice, the old woman dropped her robe and
revealed her true identity to be Athena. The overconfident Arachne "led the goddess to one
of the great looms and set herself before the other"(Coolidge 25). The two immediately
began. While Athena wove a tapestry depicting the gods and goddesses in all their
splendor, Arachne wove one illustrating their deceptive romances: Zeusí disguise as a
bull, as a swan, as the husband of Alcmena and as shower of gold; as well as ruses by
Apollo and Poseidon (MacPherson 46-47). Furious over the perfection and arrogance of the
girl's work, Athena tore the tapestry to shreds. She then turned the excess threads into a
cobweb and declared to Arachne, "live on wicked girl and spin, both you and your
descendants" (Coolidge 26). Immediately after, Arachne was transformed into a spider.
Similarly, many valuable tales in the Bible teach of the dangers of being overly-proud. No
other compares to the tribulations of King Nebuchadnezzar. This Babylonian Kingís success
was evident with his besieging of Jerusalem.! As a result of his many conquests, King
Nebuchadnezzar turned into a boastful leader. The Lord aware of his overbearing egoism
warned him of his disastrous future through his dreams, but it did little good. Twelve
months later while looking over his thriving city, Nebuchadnezzar asked, "Is not this the
great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of
my majesty..." (Daniel 4:30). With the words fresh from his lips, an angel descended from
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