Ares Aphrodite and the Laughter of the Gods Review

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In the article "Ares, Aphrodite and the Laughter of the Gods" Christopher Brown argues that the gods' laughter does not compromise Hephaestus' victory of trapping the lovers and in fact that the laughing is a response desired by Hephaestus since it mocks the adulterers Ares and Aphrodite in the context of Greek shame culture. Brown uses examples from Greek literature and society to demonstrate that laughter could be used as a tool for mockery. Hephaestus' response to the laughter is one of victory as his resultant position is feeling righteous and accomplished vis-à-vis Ares and the other gods who collectively punish the adulterers with their laughing. Brown begins the argument by aligning Hephaestus and Ares’ relationship with Odysseus and Euryalus in turn giving the passage a thematic importance in The Odyssey. In order to not undermine Odysseus’ victory Brown seeks to argue that the “unquenchable laughter” is not a compromise of Hephaestus or Odysseus’ victories. Brown would like to disprove the analysis that the laughing is amoral but rather that it’s highly moral in exposing and punishing adultery—he does this through offering context and examples in other literature and Greek history where this is true. In terms of presenting evidence, there are some instances in which Brown shows the relevance of the evidence presented to his argument through other examples in Greek literature. For example, when Brown references the reception of the passage containing “uncontrollable laughter” which is considered good-humored in the Iliad, he explains that the preoccupations of the Iliad and the Odyssey are different and thus should be interpreted differently since The Odyssey “is more preoccupied with the question of justice.” (287) In this instance, he draws this idea back to his original argument that the laughter is “serious” with a reinforcing statement, “Rather than
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