Term Paper: Mythology the Classical Myths

Pages: 4 (1483 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Odysseus succeeds because of his cunning and his strengths, just as Hercules does. The Gods also help both men at times during their quests, and both men return home victorious. The main difference is that Odysseus lives to enjoy his homecoming, while Hercules dies a horrific death from poison of the Hydra.

These heroes relate quite closely to their Gods, which is one reason their Gods choose to help them. In fact, Homer, the author of the Odyssey, begins his tale with an entirety to the Gods. He writes, "Oh Goddess of Inspiration, help me sing of wily Odysseus, that master of schemes!" (Homer). The Gods and their land were quite important to most classical myths, and these two are no exception. These heroes also relate to their people and authority, although they do react in different ways. Hercules does not handle stress well, and kills his own children. Odysseus spends years with Calypso, even though he is married. Again, these heroes are not perfect; they are mortals; not Gods. However, one of the things that keep them timeless are their imperfections that mingle with their larger-than-life stature. They are not perfect, but they are very close, and they are consistently heroic and brave in their deeds. This makes them seem timeless to the reader because their stories live on and continue to be updated and narrated. Both of these heroes' stories have been told in modern terms, which continues their myth and their timelessness. The most recent is "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" which retells Odysseus' story.

The Greeks obviously revered their Gods, but they lived in a quite civilized society that influenced modern life in many ways. They had strong values, and this is evident by the values expressed in their mythology. Their heroes are larger than life, and these are the men and women they look up to and hope to emulate. As such, they set high goals for themselves and their society. The Greeks invented philosophy, drama, and democracy, and passed these on to modern society. They also created a diverse set of myths that taught them lessons and indicated how they felt about society and life. Their society was based on government by all, fairness, and even some education of women. Their myths are all about heroes who could have stepped from the pages of the myth and taken over the governing of Athens or any other city. These heroes are strong, noble, courageous, and loving, and these are traits Greeks hoped to obtain for themselves. They felt man was able to do anything, and this is evidenced by their creation of the Olympic games, which in their purest sense pitted naked man against naked man in a series of strength and endurance events. They could appreciate the beauty in the body of a man or woman, a beautifully decorated vase, or a well told tale, and their myths embody this love of language and beauty, too, for all the heroes are good looking, and the heroines are beautiful. (Just like our romance novels of today.) The Greeks appreciated nature and the natural world, and this is one reason so many of their myths contain references to the natural world, and so many of their Gods represented the natural world, such as Poseidon, God of the Sea. The Greeks saw the future as a continuation of their society, and in this, they were quite correct, because not only does our society embrace many Greek innovations, we still perpetuate their myths in film and fiction, too. The Greeks left their myths as part of a culture that recognized their value and importance to the world. They also left us remnants of a colorful and varied culture that embodied many of the principles we still hold up as admirable today. Thus, the Greek's myths were only a part of a well thought out and planned society, but they were an integral part, which is one reason they are still so popular and live on today.

References

Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable; The Age of Chivalry; Legends of Charlemagne. New York: The Modern library, 1934.

Lindemans, Micha. "Encyclopedia Mythica." Pantheon.org. 2004. 7 May 2004. http://www.pantheon.org/

Radin, Paul, Karl Kerenyi, and C.G. Jung. The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology. New York: Greenwood Press,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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