To what extent do stories and information about Apollo's personalities problems suggest that these problems can be resolved?

Essay by OdileUniversity, Bachelor's October 2004

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Apollo can be said to embody certain personality problems, and certain problems of civilization (think of the culture-nature relationship/tension). To what extent, if at all, do stories and information about Apollo suggest these problems can be resolved?

Apollo is a complex figure with multiple attributes that make him difficult to understand. He takes on many roles (god of prophecy, healing, arts, archery), each of which has a duality of its own. There is a double tradition of origin and a double name, Phoebus Apollo. "Apollo had two great sanctuaries, at Delphi and Delos, and this is part of the evidence that he is a composite god, with independent origins in the north and east" (Ferguson 177). His title, Phoebus, Shining One, suggests he was originally the Sun God. Delos was the scene of his birth.

Apollo, in his role of prophet, denied the gift of true prophecy, so the Delphic oracle was always ambiguous, helpful as well as harmful.

It left the seeker for advice and guidance to struggle on his own in his search for solutions and wisdom, which in most cases were only achieved through much suffering (Oedipus' gruelling journey). The Delphic inscription 'know yourself' was to teach humans the limits of mortal existence and in a process of self-discovery to develop a consciousness and become oneself. The oracle operates on a system based on punishment and atonement. Apollo served as a role model when he himself had to do penance, purify himself.

"For his part in the palace revolt of the gods against Zeus, he was ordered to serve as workman for a king of Troy, Laomedon, for whom he helped build the walls of Troy. Later, when Zeus killed his son Asclepius with thunderbolts, Apollo in retaliation killed the Cyclopes who manufactured these weapons for...