Aphrodite, also known as Venus, is the Goddess of Love and Beauty. She puts humans and gods alike into a trance with her beauty and laughter. She is said to be an irresistible goddess who was capable of stealing to wits of even the wisest god.
In the Iliad, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, however in later poems she is said to have sprung from the foam of the sea, and her name is explained to mean "the foam risen. Aphros is Greek for foam. The winds and the storm clouds are said to flee before her, and sweet flowers rise up form the ground where she is present. Aphrodite is the wife of Hephaestus, the lame and ugly god of the forge.
The Centaur references this Greek myth of Aphrodite into the character Vera Hummel. Even the name Vera hints that the character is connected to the Goddess Venus. Vera's husband in the novel, Hummel, is taken from Venus' mythical husband, Hephaestus. Vera is a girl's gym teacher in the novel, which puts Vera's character in a position above all the other girls in the book, just as Aphrodite was the most sought after Goddess. Vera also coaches the girl's basketball team. This is an important position because now Vera is not only above the other girls, she is teaching them.
A number of boys who had graduated the high school come back to the girl's basketball games just to catch a glimpse of Vera. This emphasizes her beauty and enduring attraction from the male characters of the novel. Also, to the same effect, neither George Caldwell nor Reverend March are able to see past her beauty. Even the Reverend of the town cannot hide his lust for Vera from himself.
George Caldwell, representing the mythological Centaur, is seduced to the point that he has an affair with her; all the while wondering what Principle Zimmerman, Zeus, would do to him if he were to find out. However, even this fear of Zeus... Continue Reading