Arachne was the daughter of a shepard who was famous for dying wools purple. Arachne was a gifted weaver and studied with the war god, Athena. Everyone knew of Arachne’s talent and beautiful tapestries that she weaved.
A nymph asked Arachne if she had learned her talents from the goddess Athena, but Arachne was too arrogant to admit she had ever had a mentor. She replied by saying no one’s work was as fine as hers, and didn’t care if Athena liked that or not. She also boasted that her work was beyond than that of any god.
Upon hearing this, Athena disguised herself as an old woman and went to Arachne to allow her a chance for redemption. She told Arachne that you must never anger the gods, and a human’s work never has no room for improvement. Arachne then said, “What do you know, you’re so old you’re probably senile! I don’t need your advice or Athena’s.” Athena had seen enough and revealed her true identity.
Upon revealing herself, Athena said, “Let it be so! A contest between you and I.” Arachne readily agreed to the challenge. Athena called the goddess, Envy, to be the judge. They weaved all night, and in the morning both tapestries were beautiful. Athena decided to depict the gods in all of their wondrous accomplishments in her tapestry. Arachne, on the other hand, decided to depict the gods in a negative light in her work. She showed Zeus and his many love affairs and a drunken Dionysus. Envy declared that both works were flawless, and she could not decide who the winner was.
Athena was very angry that Ariadne had insulted the gods in such a way. She ripped apart her tapestry and placed a curse on the girl. Suddenly, Arachne began to shrink and all of her hair fell out. She sprouted two more arms and legs and kept shrinking until she was just a large body with a small head and eight limbs.
Athena had punished Arachne by transforming her into the first spider. In this form, she would be cursed to be a weaver for all her life. However, nobody would be awed by these weavings as they were with her previous ones. It all has come true; today most people shudder at the sight of cobwebs and hurry to sweep them away.
Arachne’s story shows that you should never tempt the power of the gods. It is similar to the concept of respecting your elders; the gods were more powerful than the Greeks and were expected to respect that.
Another moral of the story could be that you should never boast or brag that you are better than others. If you do, there will be negative consequences for you.
Works Cited “Arachne: The Greek Goddess Who Became the First Spider.” Goddess Gift. 25 Feb. 2009. Kuchinsky, Charlotte. “The Myth of How the First Spider Came to Be.” Associated Content. 18 Apr. 2008. 25 Feb. 2009. McCaughrean, Geraldine. “Arachne the Spinner.” Barrington Middle. 25 Feb. 2009. “The Tale of Arahne.” Angelfire. 25 Feb. 2009.