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Themes & motifs of "Mythology"

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Joseph Dibs

on 1 December 2014

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Transcript of Themes & motifs of "Mythology"

Themes & motifs of "Mythology"
Theme 1
Dominance of Fate
Dominance of Fate
Fate was of great concern to the Greeks
- countless characters who go to great lengths in attempts to alter fate, even if they know such an aim to be futile.
Dominance of Fate
The inability of any mortal or immortal to change prescribed outcomes stems from the three Fates: sisters
Clotho, who spins the thread of life; Lachesis, who assigns each person’s destiny; and Atropos, who carries the scissors to snip the thread of life at its end.
Dominance of Fate
These three divinities pervade all the stories of Greek myth, whether they be stories of gods, goddesses, demigods, heroes, or mortals and regardless of the exploits recounted. Nothing can be done to alter or prolong the destiny of one’s life
Dominance of Fate
Though this lesson is somewhat consoling—the way of the world cannot be bent to match the whims of those in authority—it is also very disturbing.
The resisting characers themselves provide the path to fate’s fulfillment
Dominance of Fate: Example
The king of Thebes has learned that his son, Oedipus, will one day kill him. The king takes steps to ensure Oedipus’s death but ends up ensuring only that he and Oedipus fail to recognize each other.
Theme 2
Bloodshed begets bloodshed
Bloodshed begets bloodshed
the irreparable persistence of bloodshed within Greek mythology that leads to death upon death
Bloodshed begets bloodshed: example
The royal house of Atreus is most marked in this regard: the house’s ancestor, Tantalus, inexplicably cooks up his child and serves him to the gods, offending the deities and cursing the entire house with the spilling of its blood
Bloodshed begets bloodshed: example
Atreus himself kills his brother’s son and serves him up—an act of vengeance for wrong-doing done to him.
Bloodshed begets bloodshed: example
Atreus’s son, Agamemnon, then sacrifices his own daughter, Iphigenia, as he has been told it will procure good sailing winds for the Greeks to start off to Troy.
Bloodshed begets bloodshed: example
Atreus's wife, Clytemnestra, kills him on his first night home, with support from his cousin Aegisthus, who is in turn avenging Atreus’s crimes.
Bloodshed begets bloodshed: example
Orestes, the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, comes back to kill his mother and Aegisthus.
Theme 3
The Danger of Arrogance & Hubris
The Danger of Arrogance & Hubris
Greek concept of hubris refers to the overweening pride of humans who hold themselves up as equals to the gods. Hubris is one of the worst traits one can exhibit in the world of ancient Greece and invariably brings the worst kind of destruction.
The Danger of Arrogance & Hubris: example
Niobe has the audacity to compare herself to Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo, thus elevating herself and her children to the level of the divine. Insulted, the two gods strike all of Niobe’s children dead and turn
The Weeping Rock of Manisa
Theme 3
Reward for Goodness & Retribution for Evil
Reward for goodness & retribution for evil
The Greeks and Romans incorporated aspects of their ethical codes in their myths.
These stories are manuals of morality, providing models for correct conduct with examples of which behaviors are rewarded and which are punished.
Reward for goodness & retribution of evil: example
Xenia: the story of Baucis and Philemon, an impoverished old couple who show kindness to the disguised Jupiter and Mercury. Of everyone in the city, only Baucis and Philemon are generous with their humble hospitality.
Reward for goodness & retribution of evil: example
Jupiter and Mercury reward them and destroy all the other inhabitants of the area. The lesson is clear: the gods judge our moral actions and dispense blessings or curses accordingly.
Acts 14: 11-12
11 The crowds who saw what Paul had done shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come to us, and they look human." 12 They addressed Barnabas as Zeus and Paul as Hermes because Paul did most of the talking.
Motif 1: The Hero's Quest
Thee hero is born, raised in poverty by foster parents or a single mother, and at a certain age ventures forth to reclaim his patrimony. He is charged with some very difficult task and is offered the hand of a noble woman in marriage upon his success.
Motif 1: The Hero's Quest
By accomplishing these tasks, the otherwise unknown hero demonstrates his fitness to take on his father’s throne.
Motif 1: The Hero's Quest
Odysseus, offers a notable difference from the archetype. He does not grow up away from his parents, and he is already married and undergoes an arduous journey on his return home after battle.
Motif 2: Beauty
assertion that beautiful is better pervades the myths
- beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but rather a verifiable, objective actuality about which even the gods must agree.
Motif 3: Love
In creation myths, love is described as a force, and it is out of love that Earth arises.
- Broadening the myth’s exploration of love and lust are tales of kidnapping and rape, such as Hades and Persephone
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