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Mental aberration, infatuation causing irrational behaviour which leads to disaster. A hero's ate is brought about through psychic intervention by a divine agency, usually Zeus, but can also be physically inflicted. Homer's Agamemnon blames Zeus, Fate, and the Erinyes for the delusion that made him take Briseis and lead the Achaeans to the brink of defeat. Ate is personified as the daughter of Zeus whom he expelled from Olympus to bring harm to men. A similarly pessimistic notion of divine punishment for guilt underlies Homer's Parable of the Prayers. In this early allegory swift‐footed Ate outruns the slow Prayers and forces men into error and punishment.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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