Myths in English Literature | The Classroom


myth literature

The relationship between myth and literature has taken varying forms. The most obvious form has been the use of myth in works of literature. ‘Myth and literature’ explores the mythic origin of literature. It discusses the scholars who have theorized about the patterns that they have delineated in hero myths. Myths collectively are too varied to share a plot, but common plots have been. Jan 09,  · Myth definition, a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or . A study of Indo-European mythology as it is preserved in some of the earliest myth texts in Celtic, Norse, and Greek literatures. The meaning of myth will be examined and compared from culture to culture to see how this meaning may shed light on the ethos of each society as it is reflected in its literary works.

Myth - definition of myth by The Free Dictionary

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. Myth literature main characters in myths are usually godsdemigods or supernatural humans. Myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, and are closely linked to religion or spirituality. The study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by EuhemerusPlato and Sallustius were developed by myth literature Neoplatonists and later revived by Renaissance mythographers, myth literature.

Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studiesphilologypsychologyand anthropology. The academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is widely used to imply that a story is not objectively truethe identification of a narrative as a myth can be highly political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths, myth literature.

Nevertheless, scholars now routinely speak of Christian mythologyJewish mythologyIslamic mythologyHindu mythologyand so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, myth literature, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology; meanwhile, identifying religious stories of colonised cultures, such as stories in Hinduismas myths enabled Western scholars to imply that they were of lower truth-value than the stories of Christianity.

Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar. Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a widely cited definition:, myth literature. Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the worldthe creationfundamental events, the exemplary deeds myth literature the gods myth literature a result of which the world, nature and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains, myth literature.

A myth literature expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult.

Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is often thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale myth literature that neither are considered to be sacred narratives. For example, the Matter of Britain the legendary history of Great Britain, especially those focused on King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table [27] and the Matter of Franceseem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries respectively, and became mythologised over the following centuries, myth literature.

In colloquial use, the word myth can also be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story. In present use, mythology usually refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may also mean the study of such myths. Folklorist Myth literature Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society".

The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythographya term which can also be used of a scholarly anthology of myths or, confusingly, of the study of myths generally.

Because myth is sometimes used in a pejorative sense, some myth literature have opted to use the term mythos instead, myth literature. In Anglicised form, this Greek word began to be used in English and was likewise adapted into other European languages in the early nineteenth century, in a much narrower sense, myth literature, as a scholarly term for 'a traditional story, typically involving supernatural beings or forces, which embodies and provides an explanation, aetiology, or justification for something such as the early history of a society, a religious belief or ritual, or a natural phenomenon'.

The Latin term was then adopted in Middle French as mythologie. Whether from French or Latin usage, myth literature, English adopted the word "mythology" in the fifteenth century, at first in the myth literature 'the exposition of a myth or myths; the interpretation of fables; a book of such expositions', myth literature.

The word is first attested in John Lydgate 's Troy Book of c. From Lydgate until the seventeenth or eighteenth century, mythology was used to mean a moralfableallegory or a parableor collection of traditional stories, myth literature, [43] [48] understood to be false, myth literature.

It came eventually to be applied to similar bodies of traditional stories among other polytheistic cultures around the world. Thus the word mythology entered the English language before the word "myth"; Johnson 's Myth literaturefor example, has an entry for mythologybut not for myth literature. In the context of the theatre of ancient Greecethe term mythos referred to the myth, the narrative, the plot, and the story of a play.

According to philosopher Aristotle — BCEthe spirit of a theatrical play was its mythos. The tragedians of the era could draw inspiration from Greek mythologymyth literature, a body of "traditional storylines" which concerned gods and heroes. It is commonly thought that the ancient audience members were already familiar with the mythos behind a play, and could predict the outcome of the play. However, the Greek dramatists were not expected to faithfully reproduce traditional myths when adapting them for the stage.

They were instead recreating the myths and producing new versions. In one of his works, Merope attempts to kill her son's murderer with an axe, unaware that the man in question is actually her son.

According to an ancient description of audience reactions to this work, myth literature, the audience members were genuinely unsure of whether she would commit filicide or she will be stopped in time, myth literature.

They rose to their feet in terror and caused an uproar. David Wiles points that the traditional mythos of Ancient Greece, was primarily a part of its oral tradition.

The Greeks of this era were a literate culture, but produced no sacred myth literature. There were no definitive or authoritative versions of myths recorded in texts and preserved forever in an unchanging form. These variants were adapted into songs, dances, poetry, myth literature, and visual art.

Performers of myths could freely reshape their source material for a new work, myth literature, adapting it to the needs of a new audience or in response to a new myth literature. Children in Ancient Greece were familiar with traditional myths from an early age. According to the philosopher Plato c, myth literature.

Bruce Lincoln has called attention to the apparent meaning of the terms mythos and logos in the works of Hesiod. In TheogonyHesiod attributes to the Muses the ability to both proclaim truths and narrate plausible falsehoods falsehoods which seem like real things.

There are two variants in the manuscript tradition for the verb used to proclaim myth literature. One variant uses gerusasthaithe other mythesasthai, myth literature. The latter is a form of the verb mytheomai to speak, to tellmyth literature, which is etymologically associated with mythos, myth literature.

He also announces to his readers his intention to tell true things myth literature his brother. The verb he uses for telling the truth is mythesaimenmyth literature, another form of mytheomai, myth literature. Lincoln draws the conclusion that Hesiod associated the "speech of mythos " as Lincoln calls it with telling the truth. While he associated the "speech of logos " with telling liesand hiding one's true thoughts dissimulation.

Three times the term is associated with the term " seductive " and three times with the term "falsehoods". Eris' children are ominous figures, which personify various physical and verbal forms of conflict. Comparative mythology is the systematic comparison of myths from different cultures.

It seeks to discover underlying themes that are common to the myths of multiple cultures. In some cases, comparative mythologists use the similarities between separate mythologies to argue that those mythologies have a common source. This source may inspire myths or provide a common "protomythology" that diverged into the mythologies of each culture.

A number of commentators have argued that myths function to form and shape society and social behaviour. Eliade argued that one of the foremost functions of myth is to establish models for behavior [64] [65] and that myths may provide a religious experience.

By telling or reenacting myths, members of traditional societies detach themselves from the present, returning to the mythical age, thereby coming closer to the divine. Honko asserted that, in some cases, a society reenacts a myth in an attempt to reproduce the conditions of the mythical age, myth literature.

For example, it might reenact the healing performed by a god at the beginning of time in order to heal someone in the present. Since it is not the job of science to myth literature human morality, a religious experience is an attempt to connect with a perceived moral past, which is in contrast with the technological present.

Pattanaik defines mythology as "a subjective myth literature of people that is communicated through stories, symbols and rituals". One theory claims that myths are distorted accounts of historical events. Some theories propose that myths began as allegories for natural phenomena: Apollo represents the sun, Poseidon represents water, and so on.

He believed myths began as allegorical descriptions of nature and gradually came to be interpreted literally. For example, a poetic description of the sea as "raging" was eventually taken literally and the sea was then thought of as a raging god. Some thinkers claimed that myths result from the personification of objects and forces.

According to these thinkers, the ancients worshiped natural phenomena, such as fire and air, gradually deifying them. According to the myth-ritual theory, myth is tied to ritual. Forgetting the original reason for a ritual, they account for it by inventing a myth and claiming the ritual commemorates the events described in that myth. The critical interpretation myth literature myth began with the Presocratics.

He interpreted myths as accounts of actual historical events — distorted over many retellings. Sallustius [83] divided myths into five categories — theological, physical or concerning natural lawsanimistic or concerning soulmaterial, and mixed. Mixed concerns myths that show the interaction between two or more of the previous categories and are particularly used in initiations. Plato famously condemned poetic myth when discussing education in the Myth literature. His critique was primarily on the grounds that the uneducated might take the stories of gods and heroes literally.

Nevertheless, he constantly referred to myths throughout his writings. As Platonism developed in the phases commonly called Middle Platonism and neoplatonismwriters such as PlutarchPorphyryProclusOlympiodorus, myth literature, and Damascius wrote explicitly about the symbolic interpretation myth literature traditional and Orphic myths, myth literature. Mythological themes were consciously employed in literature, beginning with Homer.

The resulting work may expressly refer myth literature a mythological background without itself becoming part of a body of myths Cupid and Psyche.

Medieval romance in particular plays with this process of turning myth into literature. Euhemerismas stated earlier, refers to the rationalization of myths, putting themes formerly imbued with mythological qualities into pragmatic contexts.

An example of this would be following a cultural or religious paradigm shift notably the re-interpretation of pagan mythology following Christianization.

Interest in polytheistic mythology revived during the Renaissancewith early works of mythography appearing in the sixteenth century, among them the Theologia Mythologica The first modern, Western scholarly theories of myth appeared during the second half of the nineteenth century [82] — myth literature the same time as the word myth was adopted as a scholarly term in European languages. This movement drew European scholars' attention not only to Classical myths, but also material now associated with Norse mythologyFinnish mythologyand so forth.

Western theories were also partly driven by Europeans' efforts to comprehend and control the cultures, stories and religions they were encountering through colonialism. These encounters included both extremely old texts such as the Sanskrit Rigveda and the Sumerian Epic of Gilgameshand current oral narratives such as mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas or stories told in traditional African religions. The intellectual context for nineteenth-century scholars was profoundly shaped by emerging ideas about evolution.

These ideas included the recognition that many Eurasian languages—and therefore, myth literature, conceivably, stories—were all descended from a lost common ancestor the Indo-European language which could rationally be reconstructed through the comparison of its descendant languages. They also included the idea that cultures might evolve in ways comparable to species. This theory posited that "primitive man" was primarily concerned with the natural world.


Myth - Examples and Definition of Myth


myth literature


Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths. DEFINING MYTH From the Greek mythos, myth means story or petsronass.gqogy is the study of myth. As stories (or narratives), myths articulate how characters undergo or enact an ordered sequence of term myth has come to refer to a certain genre (or category) of stories that share characteristics that make this genre distinctly different from other genres of oral narratives, such as. The frontier myth or myth of the West is one of the influential myths in American culture. The frontier is the concept of a place that exists at the edge of a civilization, particularly during a period of expansion. The American frontier occurred throughout the seventeenth to twentieth centuries as Euro-Americans colonized and expanded across North America.