The myth of Arachne  – Iseult Gillespie

The myth of Arachne – Iseult Gillespie


From sailors who were turned into pigs, nymphs that sprouted into trees, and a gaze that converted
the beholder to stone, Greek mythology brims with shape-shifters. The powerful gods usually changed
their own forms at will, but for mortals, the mutations
were often unwanted. One such unnerving transformation
befell the spinner Arachne. Arachne was the daughter
of a tradesman who spent his days dying cloth
the deepest shades of purple. She had a flair for spinning
the finest threads, weaving them into flowing fabric, and creating magnificent tapestries. People flocked to watch her hands
flying across her loom, as if thread sprung directly
from her fingertips. But as praise for her work grew,
so did her pride. Arachne could often be heard
boasting about her skills, declaring that her talent surpassed
anyone else’s—mortal or divine. She refused to see weaving
as a gift from the gods. Rather, she flaunted it
as her own personal genius. Unfortunately, the goddess of wisdom
and crafts, Athena, overheard Arachne
making these claims. Planning to teach
the ungrateful girl a lesson, Athena disguised herself as an old woman
and stole amongst the mortals. She berated Arachne in public— how dare the weaver claim
herself greater than the gods? But Arachne only laughed,
barely looking up from her loom. Provoked, the old woman threw off
her cloak to reveal her true form. If Arachne insisted on defaming the gods, Athena would challenge her
to a contest directly. Masking her shock at the appearance
of the grey-eyed goddess, Arachne accepted the challenge. Athena drew up her own glittering loom
as a great crowd gathered to watch. The weavers began,
eyes fixed and shuttles blurring. Athena conjured
wisps of cloud from above and slender threads of grass
from below in a spectacle of strength. She wove tremendous scenes
that showed the power of the gods: Poseidon riding the waves, Zeus firing thunderbolts, and Apollo hurtling across the sky. In Athena’s splendid tapestry,
the glory of the gods dwarfed mortal life. But Arachne had no interest
in boosting godly egos. Her tapestry showed the gods
abusing their power: squabbling amongst themselves, drinking and bragging, and meddling in the lives of mortals. She represented Zeus as a philanderer,
transfiguring himself to ensnare women: a swan for Leda, a bull for Europa, a shower of gold for Danae. Arachne then turned
to the misdemeanors of other gods, from Pluto’s abduction of Persephone to Bacchus’s wild pursuit of Erigone. Even though she cast the gods
in the most unflattering light, Arachne’s work shone
with her dazzling skill. Her tapestry was almost alive, filled with movement
and lustrous colors that winked triumphantly. When Athena saw Arachne’s undeniably
better and flagrantly subversive work, she flew into a rage
and turned on the human weaver. Arachne’s glee dimmed as she felt her body
shrinking and contorting. Her fingers waved wildly
as her arms stuck to her sides, and black hair
sprouted all over her body. The goddess left Arachne with a single
spool of thread unfurling from her belly, a slim reminder of her human talent. For challenging the assumption
that the gods were untouchable, Athena had shrunk her adversary
into the first spider. To this day, Arachne and her children spin
out her penance— or is it undaunted persistence?— in the shadows of giants.

100 thoughts on “The myth of Arachne – Iseult Gillespie

  1. Okay but like Athena is always throwing a fit and ruining shorties lives like, Medusa is misunderstood because of Athena

  2. The gods of Olympus are the worst gods ever in my opinion. Hades is cool though. In popular fiction he's this super powerful bad guy(which is dope) but in Greek mythology he's this badass ruler of the underworld who's actually pretty cool.

  3. Arachne?
    I heard that name

    From a slug named Arachne

    In Slugterra ._.

    I'm telling the truth

    Don't comment meh ._.

  4. Who all are thinking of Annabeth Chase and her encounter with Arachne in 'Percy Jackson and The ark Of Athena'?

  5. It’s even said that Arachne killed herself before being turned into a spider.

    Also… first Medusa, then Arachne, WHY ATHENA?!? I thought I could be wise and intelligent just like you, but I can’t imagine you curse a girl for being good at sewing. I don’t like you anymore. ATHENA, WHY?!?! Explain this.

  6. I hate spiders, but for the first time I'd say I'm taking one's side.
    Greek gods are dead, but spiders still remain 😀

  7. I heard a story like this!
    It's on my storybook!!!
    The tale of nimble thimble!
    Nimble thimble was a sewing maid and she sewed beautiful frocks,dresses and alot more and she was always so aragont,people praised her and soon she began to think she was better then all the rest even the queen rumours spreaded to the queen and the queen challenged her to a sewing match and nimble thimble sew a beautiful dress with a cape and what she sew on the very bottom was very disturbing..she drew the queen in rags crying while the others cheering on nimbpe thimble and praising her dress, short story, the queen won, banished nomble thimble from her kingdom and she wonders of sewing and sewing non stop walking all across the world
    And now my fingers feel like popping off
    Thanks for reading 😂

  8. To put it simply.

    Girl who could weave good, said she was really good

    Athena said “fight me (Weaving style)”

    Girl won

    Athena was salty, turned her into S P I D E R

  9. And her descendants would go on to bite several kids in New York. To the bane of goblins, octopuses, scorpions, vultures, and more.

  10. I have a gift of art and that is something that makes me who I am, and I am happy this way. My skill came from my zodiac sign and I am happy to my art with the world, but I have made weird things and cool things that I seem to connect to.

  11. Arachne: sews the truth

    Athena: REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  12. I hate to break it to you, but this version of the myth isn’t the original. It was written by a guy named Ovid, famous for writing the Metamorphoses and the supposed origin of Medusa (which is not Medusa’s true origin.) Story goes he was grumpy at Emperor Augustus for exiling him and let out this grumpiness by writing stories that painted the gods as irrational, flawed, and jealous of humanity. All the myths he wrote actually preexisted Metamorphos and all he did was rewrite them, often pulling gods like Athena way out of character. The original version goes like this.

    Arachne basically bragged that he was a better weaver than Athena. Athena came down to gauge the situation and when she asked Arachne to maybe dial back the blasphemy a little Arachne responded with something like “Ill brag all I want, let the gods come and stop me!” So they set up a contest. Athena’s tapestry showed the myth of hers and Poseidon’s contest for the naming of Athens as well as a few myths as to why you shouldn’t claim superiority over gods. Not that ‘glory of gods BS’ Arachne’s Tapestry illustrated at least 15 times whenZeus and/or Poseidon dropped everything to bang random women. Which Athena didn’t take kindly for because she has to live with those people and didn’t really wanna see a graphic depiction of her dad and uncle banging everything. Athena proceeded to berate Arachne’s lack of audience awareness and destroys the tapestry and sacks Arachne on the head with a weaving shovel. Arachne is about to go commit suicide and it’s only then that Athena turns her into a spider.

    The whole point of this story is a case of classic Greek hubris where a human thinks too highly of himself and is reminded painfully that they aren’t gods. Ovid rewrote it to make it all personal. As for the myth of Medusa, the original story was that Medusa was one of three Gorman sisters and relative to the Ancient Greek equivalent of a Godzilla.

  13. Arachne: My weaving is better than the gods!
    Also Arachne: (Proves that she is in fact better than the gods at weaving)
    Athena: I'm about to end this girl's whole career

  14. basicly the whole story

    girl weaves
    goddess be MAD
    goddess does challenge
    Goddess loooooooossseeeeessss
    girl turns into spooder
    thy end

  15. In some versions Arachne's work wasn't better, she just couldn't take proper criticism and hung herself in shame. Her father begged Athena for her life, which prompted the god to make her into a spider. I think it fits Athena's other mythical characterisation more.

  16. There are many versions of this story some say Arachne won some say Athena won most accounts say they were tied so I'll go with that they said Athena grudgingly accepted their equal talent but then Arachne made a snide comment then bam spider

  17. SO (breathes in)… We have spiders on are Earth now because some goddess couldn't believe that a mortal was better than a god? 🕷

  18. Athena:abuses her powers to try to win
    Arachne:wins by pure talent proving her point
    Athena:takes rage quiting to a new leven

  19. that’s not how I know the story. Actually, Athena acknowledged Arachne as a great spinner, but still sees that she cannot let her keep her human form, because that would cause humans to think they can be better than gods. So she turns Arachne into a spider, not as a punishment but more as a gift.

  20. I have read a version of this. When Athena shouted Arachne goes to the woods and suicide because of fear then Athena just turned her into an insect named spider out of pity.

  21. From what I knew the myth was different…Athena won and she turned into a spider Arachne because it was a condition of the challenge

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