TheStudy of Mythology
Mythology: Summarizing book Chapter
Mythologyhas been a pretty much controversial issue in the contemporary humansociety. It is defined as a collection of myths particularlybelonging to a certain cultural or religious tradition. Perhaps oneof the most distinctive category of myths in the contemporary societyis the Greek mythology, which has been chronicled in a largeproportion of literary works. Of course, a large proportion of theseliterary works continue to be incorporated in the contemporarysocieties’ educational curricula. While some mythologies may beexplored much more than others, it goes without saying that everyancient culture incorporates its own mythologies in the form of folkstories, folklore, legends and folk tales among others. however,there are questions over whether mythology should continue beingtaught in the contemporary society. Of course, this necessitates thatone examines the roles or functions that mythology serves in anysociety. Mythology is a way of not only entertaining but alsoeducating individuals about the importance of varied values. This isparticularly the case for Greek mythologies that incorporate accountsof heroes (and on rare occasions, heroines) who espouse certainvalues and virtues. In addition, they teach individuals about thepast and the traditions of their own societies. On the same,mythologies taught individuals to respect alien cultures. More oftenthan not, individuals who were from other cultures and societies areviewed as outsiders and lesser human beings. It is normal to see themas backward or less civilized and developed especially in instanceswhere they subscribe to cultures and traditions that are differentfrom one’s own. However, teaching mythology comes with lessonsregarding the alien cultures and how they should be handled.
Theconcept of a pantheon is pretty much abstract. There are numerousdefinitions of the term pantheon and could imply a temple that isdedicated to every other god, or a public building that commemoratesand is dedicated to a nation’s heroes. It could also underline agroup of individuals that are most highly regarded for theircontribution to an endeavor or field. However, with regard to theGreek, pantheon underlines a collection of all the gods whenconsidered in unison or as a group. It underlines all the godspertaining to a certain religion. The term pantheon is composed oftwo words including “pan”, which implies all and “theon”meaning gods. The Greek had a total of 12 gods or Olympians, whichthey considered to be the major deities. These included Athena,Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Hestia, Hephaestus, Zeus, Poseidon, Hera,Demeter and Athena among others.
Perhapsone of the most interesting Greek Olympian is the Apollo. Apollo hasbeen widely acknowledged ore recognized as a god of healing, truthand prophecy, music, poetry, plague, as well as sun and light amongother things. However, if I had a choice on the god or Olympian thatI could become, perhaps I could choose Artemis, who is the twinsister of Apollo and one of the most widely respected Ancient Greekdeities. Artemis was the Hellenic goddess of the wilderness, wildanimals and childbirth. What makes her interesting is that she wasalso considered to be the protector of young girls and could bringand relieve ailments in women. In a large number of cases, she wasshown as a huntress who carried a bow and arrows and often heldcypress and the deer as sacred. On the same note, she, in latterHellenistic times assumed ancient roles of EIleithyia where she aidedin childbirth.
Ares,on the other hand, was considered the Greek god of war. While he isinteresting as the god of war, his representation of untamed andphysical or violent element of war unlike his sister Athena, makeshim the one god that I would hate to be at any given time. Ares oftenplays a limited role in Greek mythology. In instances when heappears in the myths, he often faces humiliation.
Inthe article, the term “mythology” underlines a collection o fmyths pertaining to a group of people or the study of the same. It isa crucial element of every culture given the numerous roles orfunctions that it plays. However, perhaps the most interestingaspects of mythology are the origins. It is noted that there is nodistinctive origin of mythology, in which case it could emanate fromeuhemerism (distorted accounts pertaining to real historical events,where storytellers persistently elaborate on the historical accountsup to such a time when the figures pertaining to those accountsbecame like gods), allegory (of natural phenomena, spiritual conceptsand nature), personification of inanimate forces or objects, or evenfrom rituals. Nevertheless, irrespective of the origins ofmythologies, they play crucial roles including the establishment ofmodels for behavior and provision or religious experience, provisionof a connection or link with a moral past, eliciting and supportingawe before the mystery pertaining to being, initiating individuals tothe order of realities land guiding them to their own spiritualrealization and enrichment. In addition, I find the concepts ofmodern mythology pretty much interesting. It is noted that differentaspects of myths may now be fund in video games, cinema andtelevision. This is underlined particularly in the statement thatmyths are the expression or depiction of the dreams, ambitions, fearsand goals of the society and are, eventually, an expression of thesocieties within which they are created, a reflection of the idealsand norms of the location and time in which they were made. Thisoffers a basis for the examination of a large proportion of conceptsthat are espoused as real in the contemporary society or to which onedoes not pay much attention. The description and function ofmythology allows for a more critical exploration or examination ofother elements of the modern society with a view to determining theirobjectiveness or how real they are.
Comparativemythology underlines the comparison of myths from varying cultureswith the aim of identifying the shared characteristics and themes. Inthe academic circles, scholars use comparative mythology and therelationships and links between varying myths in the tracing ofdevelopment of cultures and religions, support for psychologicaltheories, as well as the making of proposition of common originspertaining to myths from varying cultures. The comparison ofmythologies from varying cultures allows scholars to identify thepredisposing similarities, as well as reconstruct “protomythology”where the mythologies are developed. Comparative mythology may beapproached from varied viewpoints including psychological,linguistic, structural, phylogenetical, as well as psychological,among others. There are varied mythological parallels such as thedying god, flood myth, the creative sacrifice among others. Withregard to the flood myth, it is noted that almost every culture tellsstories pertaining to a great flood that usually leaves one or agroup of survivors. In the case of creative sacrifices, a largeproportion of cultures incorporate stories pertaining to divinefigures whose death establishes a crucial component part of reality,while the dying god myth is told in many cultures where a god diesand returns to life.
Thearticle discusses the numerous universal myths that persistently comeup in cultures that are distinct and separate not only in distancebut also in time period. One of the universal myths is the GreatFlood, where every other culture has stories of a great flood thatswept away the entire population of the earth leaving only a survivoror two. In addition, there is the universal myth of Paradise lost,where every other person irrespective of their culture has storiespertaining to the good old days where things were much better andindividuals much more well behaved than in the current times. A casein point is in the Jewish bible where the “Garden of Eden” is theepitome of a harmonious land that was devoid of lust and pain. On thesame note, there are myths about cosmic battles that threaten toeliminate or wipe out the cosmos. Of course, as much as the myths mayappear to have been founded on history, research has not shown anyevidence of the existence of such elements. In essence, the mythsshould be seen as the product of individual thoughts and imaginationssometimes inspired by the real possibilities. For instance, the pastwas characterized by invasions and wars, in which case epic battleswere a possibility.
Greek mythology in popular culture
Greekmyths have often been incorporated in western cultural movementsespecially after the renaissance. Greek and roman mythology haveformed a fundamental component of the western culture and isincorporated in a large proportion of its components. For instance,public institutions and governments used the Greek mythologicalfigures in naming places and equipments and profession. Medicalprofessions are symbolized by staff that has a snake entwined, whichis a symbol of Asclepius, the god of medicine, while Pegasusfrequently appears on stamps. In television, there are numerousmovies and films that depict the Greek gods and myths. It is notedthat films such as Hercules drew inspiration from the Greek mythseven as they modernize the narrative, striving to spice them up withanachronistic dialogue and wacky comedy. On the same note, it isinteresting that video games such as “Wrath of the Gods” or “Godof War, were based on Greek mythology, with some of their charactersbeing named after famous Greek characters. On the same note, theincorporation of these mythical figures in marketing as is the casefor Nike Inc, Mobile Oil, Readers Digest and TriStar pictures isinteresting as it outlines the source of inspiration for thesecompanies’ logos and names, which creates more understanding forthe same.
Norsemythology underlines the body of mythology pertaining to the NorthGermanic people originating from Norse paganism and continuing evenafter Scandinavia was Christianized. It incorporates tales pertainingto varied heroes, beings and deities obtained from a large number ofsources from prior to and following the pagan period. It is notedthat the Norse mythology incorporated numerous gods including thehammer-wielding Thor, raven-flanked god Odin, skiing goddess Skaoiand others. it is worth noting that a large proportion of thesurviving mythology revolves around the plight of these gods, as wellas their interaction with different other beings. There were varieddifferences between Greek Mythology and Norse Mythology. Forinstance, the former had Zeus as the good of law and order, withhuman beings having been created by Prometheus from clay. On theother hand, Norse mythology had Odin, the god of war, in which casetheir lifestyles was warlike. They opined that human beings werecreated by Odin from trees. It is noteworthy that Norse mythologyfollows a plot line where every myth is connected, with the mythologyhaving an ending called Ragnarok, while a large proportion of Greekmyths are distinct stories whose connection is only the gods, and aredeficient of definite endings.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
JosephCampbell’s book examines the theory that crucial myths from acrossthe globe which have survived millennia have a common fundamentalstructure called monomyth. There are varied stages involved in thelaying out of the monomyth. First, the hero who lives in the ordinaryworld is called upo to get to the unusual world pertaining to strangeevents and powers. If he accepts this call, he will have to undergovaried trials and tasks either alone or with assistance from otherentities. In some cases, there is a severe challenge that he mustendure, upon which he would attain an impressive gift that usuallyleads to the discovery of crucial self-knowledge. He can thendetermine whether to return to the ordinary world with this gift.This is a shared trend that every other mythology follows, of course,with different characters having varying traits.
Modern Myth and the World Myth
Moreoften than not, modern myths are thought to belong to the ancienttimes. In essence, the term myth is deemed to have lost its meaningto the contemporary society as a spiritual or psychological term. Ithas become the opposite of fact, in which case it is usually acceptedalthough it is still considered as untrue. One of the most commonassertions is the fact that myths of the past were erroneousexplanations pertaining to the manner in which the world is, in whichcase they were fanciful stories that, although they incorporatedinteresting and colorful curiosities bore no usage to the modernlives. However, modern myths have filled the void and come in prettymuch unrecognizable things such as marketing. They define whoindividuals are and when they are in time, the roles that they serve,as well as what the nature of that role is supposed to be. As much asthey are simply ideas, they directly feed back to the material worldand have a direct impact on human history, as well as the ecologicaland genetic future. They underlie the individual’s motive andintuitively inform their actions and judgments in the world, therebygiving the individual motive a voice. This means that myths actthrough individuals even when they are unconscious about them. Ofcourse, the contemporary society does not have myths pertaining togods and heroes. However, it is common to have stories on theexploits of certain individuals, with their characters beingimmortalized in film and other forms of literary works.
TheNorwegian Film “The Troll Hunter” explores the mythology oftrolls, as well as the mundane bureaucracy that allows them to remainhidden. As a mockumentary, it is a parable pertaining to bureaucracyand myths. Of particular note is the statement that trolls are notmonsters, which implies that they could be normal human beings livingnormal lives, having children and families, desires and fears, onlythat they eat people. The mythology and the transformation of prettymuch normal individuals into trolls is occasioned by frustration aswas the case for Han’s who is underpaid and underappreciated to theextent that even when he kills trolls, he is still required to fillout volumes of paperwork. This is why he wants to betray thegovernors. As stated, it is a story that revolves around the “lossof faith in the face of modernity”, an element that is demonstratedby the paradigm shift from the old way of doing things to thedependence on modern drugs and technology. In the case of “Hercules”,the character Hercules is extremely strong to the extent that he seeshimself as a god from an early age. However, he is condemned toinsanity and even kills his sons. Upon realization of his actions, healmost commits suicide but is persuaded to continue living as that isthe heroic alternative. One of the major implications is the need forpurification, which is a human trait rather than a devine elementpertaining to his being. It requires immense capability for theindividual to undergo the trials end even seek purification eventhough he had not killed his sons by his own volition.
Fairy tales and myths
Fairytales underline a type of children’s short stories that revolvearound imaginary and magical beings and lands. They may also bedescribed as fanciful tales pertaining to legendary creatures anddeeds that are usually intended for children. Of particular not eisthat they typically feature or incorporate folkloric fantasycharacters like witches, trolls, mermaids, goblins, gnomes, fairies,giants, elves and dwarves, as well as enchantments or magic. It isnoteworthy that they are quite different from folk narratives likelegends or the explicitly moral tales.
Ofcourse, it is easy to mistake fairy tales with myths, especiallyconsidering that all of them deal with seemingly fictional figures orbeings. This is complicated by the fact that all of them are passedfrom one generation to another, in which case it becomes difficult totell the difference between them. Nevertheless, fairy tales usuallyincorporate a type of fantastic element and may incorporate imaginaryor magical creatures and, usually a conflict between sides that areeither evil or good. This is different from myths, which are based inreligion and usually tell stories pertaining to supernatural creatorsor beings and usually offer an explanation pertaining to some naturalphenomenon. It may also be worth noting that myths are, in somecases, rooted or founded in hisotricla fact but usually deal withsupernatural entities, demigods and gods, while offering anexplanation of some natural phenomenon. In the case of fairy tales,it is a well acknowledged fact that the beings explored do not existin this world or any other for that matter, rather they are amanifestation of a fertile imagination.
Moreoften than not, myths revolve around the activities of heroes andgods and purpot to ffer an explanation for cultural practices ornatural phenomena. In essence, they could offer an explanation of thereason why things are the way they are or even the cosmic issues suchas death and creation. As much as fairy tales were initially meantfor adults and children , they are usually told to children as theyare deliberately far-fetched for the sake of illustration of moralprinciples.
Rankian Analysis of the hero of Hogwatts
Inthis text, the author seems to be in agreement with a largeproportion of writers and scholars with regard to the fact that alarge number or proportion of myths share some distinctive features.The heroes are children or offspring of distinguished parents, withtheir origins being preceded by difficulties. Prior to or in thecourse of the pregnancy, there exists a prophecy that comes in formof oracles or dreams, usually carrying a threat regarding the life ofthe boy. The boy, therefore, sets out on a journey either to escapefrom the prophesy or to fulfill it. Once he completes the journeyeither by deliberately fulfilling the mission or eliminating theobstacles for the same, the hero would attain the rank and honorsthat come with the achievement. These are some of the common trendsor journeys that the stories follow.
Thereis no doubt that Harry Porter is one of the major mythical figures inthe contemporary society, depicting the mythical world. Harryencounters numerous challenges in his journey and exploits. However,in spite of his stories occurring in the contemporary society, theyare still following the same path as ancient mythologies. In rank’sscheme, the hero is usually separated from the parents a short timeafter his birth and surrendered, usually in a box. This is the samecase for Harry who was left in the same way in a bundle of blanketsto lowly people. In spite of the obstacles or the decisions that anindividual makes, the call to adventure can never be hindered orprevented.
Wikipedia,2015. Greek mythology in popular culture. Web Retrieved from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_mythology_in_popular_culture>