Disclaimer: This article is purely based around mythology used in the game series named God of War and isn’t intended to be offensive to any sentiments of any real person, place, or faith. This article is made by a student who does not call himself expert on any of the things talked about in the article. This article is made for entertainment and educational purposes only.
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The God of War gaming series is based on the Greek mythology (the last one being a mix of Greek and Norse mythology) and the story starts out with a contract between a mortal and God. This article is a small tribute to the amazing work that was put into those games as well as the appreciation of the story reflected in these mythologies.
The main character of the story being Kratos and following him through the tragedies of his life, and I’ll use the parts of stories to use the current Indian laws into them. The first one being the Indian Contract Act considering the beginning of lore is the contract between Ares and Kratos. This article will also look into the jurisprudence and philosophy of our laws, while contextualizing the stories within the mythological story.
GOD OF WAR AND SUICIDE
In the beginning shot of the game, Kratos tried to commit suicide by jumping through a huge mountain. In India, for the longest time, suicide has been considered a crime according to Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.
“Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both”
Kratos was deceived into killing his own wife and child by Ares in order to make him a greater warrior who didn’t have anything to lose after losing the only two people left in his life. This made Kratos realise who his real enemy is and he decided to kill Ares, even though he saved him and owned Kratos’ soul. As a mortal, Kratos opened Pandora’s box to slay Ares. After this, Kratos had no will to live, since he had achieved his revenge and the only two persons who he loved dearly were gone, leaving Kratos with nightmares of his guilt. Hence, Kratos attempted to commit suicide but unfortunately he was summoned by the Gods of Olympus during the process of doing so. He had done a huge favor to the Gods, and as a reward he was given the throne of the God of War, which was not vacant after Kratos had slain Ares. Although this was much less a reward, but more of a way to assert the fact that Kratos had no right to die. In India and in most countries, the right to die is not provided according to the laws either.
Until the recent amendment that restricted its application or decriminalised it completely, depending on who you ask. The provision is in the Mental Healthcare Act which has the power to decriminalise it.
“Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code”
GOD OF WAR AND CONTRACT
Now coming back to the story, Kratos jumps from the mountain, but he’s saved by Athena since there’s a vacancy in the seat of the God of war, after the mortal Kratos defeats Ares. From there, we go back to see how it all transpired. We saw that Kratos is a sparta with a wife and a child. He’s also the commander/leader of his spartan army and wants to rule over all lands. It’s shown that his greed becomes his downfall by which he would make a terrible choice later.
During his battle with the barbarians, he faces a massacre of his army. But he desires victory above anything else and calls upon Ares to come for his rescue with his soul as his property. Now as weird as it to put this situation into Indian laws, let’s put it through the test of legality of being a contract:
As per the Indian Contract Act, a contract is supposed to be legal if there is a mutual agreement that can be enforced by law. So, we can see that there is a mutual agreement between Kratos and Ares, but enforcement of law is a tricky part. If soul was a commodity that could be owned by others, then there would be some major issues and legislation against it.
According to the same law, there are three essentials to deal with for considering it to be a contract i.e., offer, consideration and acceptance. So, there was an offer from Kratos, consideration from Ares through battling the barbarians, and acceptance from Kratos. There was also free consent. But it can be argued that Kratos didn’t know what it entails after giving away your own soul and what is expected of him. And in the same breath, it can be argued that Kratos is liable to compensation since he revoked the deal without prior notice of any kind.
GOD OF WAR AND CRIME
Admittedly even according to Kratos, he has killed “many who were deserving, and many who were not” right after he killed Baldur to save Freya. He has mostly committed murders and a few culpable homicides which squarely fall within the definition of the Indian law. The major one includes Zues, his own father which was a murder, and Pandora, which was culpable homicide. He can be charged under the Indian Penal Code, Sections 299 and 300, for which the punishment could be 10 years to life imprisonment with fine, or life imprisonment to death penalty with fine respectively.
He also committed many other crimes under the Indian Penal Code including:
- Section 120-A (Criminal Conspiracy) – He formulated a plan to overthrow Olympus with the help of titans. To which his punishment could be 6 months imprisonment or the crime he conspired for or abetted others into.
- Section 121 (Waging War against Government) – He waged war against the rulers to which he can be punished from life imprisonment to death. Other similar Sections include 122 and 123.
- Section 124-A (Sedition) – He expressed his disaffection for the rulers in the most violent ways possible. He can get punished for life to 3 years imprisonment.
GOD OF WAR AND RIGHTS
Other than anything else, the story of God of War makes us think and question about our rights. In it, the Gods can be a metaphor for the most powerful humans, the strong yet not as powerful sons of God and demi-gods can be considered the upper middle class, the strong mortals and not so strong demi-gods can be lower middle class, and the normal mortals can be lower class. It’s interesting to look at it from the lens because every living person would be considered the lowest being in these circumstances. Kratos was a born mortal and converted to becoming a God, yet he was considered low by his fellow Gods.
There’s this idea of natural rights, that everyone is taught in schools, that apparently everyone has as a birthright. Now as much a birthright as a concept practically factual, it also is an oxymoron to everyone having natural rights, because birth rights are always in competition with the universal rights. A person born in privilege will have birth rights that only he will have.
In India, we have rights that exist with some being fundamental rights that can never be taken away, while others can be revoked depending on certain exceptions. In the world of mythology , the people might not have any right at all since the sovereign is always fighting among themselves.
God of War and stories like these help us contextualise the historical relevance in the vast stretch of law. Every law that exists has a history behind it and reasons for why they get amended. It’s important for everyone to get to know how these laws came about and till historians are in a debate over which story is correct, we can use the manmade stories to understand why something like certain specific laws exist and why some don’t.
The story of God of War cannot be perceived in one way or the other because it doesn’t make sense that way. If it were to be looked at as mortals vs the Sovereign then the message would get distorted or cease to exist completely. What’s required is a way to understand when the Sovereign is righteous and when it is being a tyrant. Here I’ve made the judiciary and the legislation into the sovereign, rather than the usual political statement. It would be more useful to put forth better ways to ratify our laws as well as how they are practiced, then fighting over every little thing that you can get your hands on. Kratos spent his whole life fighting and he is destined to keep on fighting forever. We on the other hand have a choice, if we want to keep fighting or work together into making this world a better place.
 The Indian Penal Code, 1860, s.309.
 The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, s.115.
 The Indian Contract Act, 1872, s. 10.
 The Constitution of India, arts. 12 to 35.
BY HARSHIT JOSHI | LLOYD LAW COLLEGE , NOIDA