The Myth

• How has mythology influenced our culture? Where do we see it
or use it in our everyday lives?
• Brainstorm
How many can you list?
• ** View “Mythology in Modern Times”-3 min.***
• To understand the history, culture, rituals, and beliefs
of cultures different from our own
• To discover the commonality of the human
• For entertainment and guidance
• To enrich our encounters with art, language, &
***View “What is Mythology?”***
• The number one rule for reading mythology:
• Don’t look at myths literally!
• Myths are metaphorically and symbolically true, but factually
and literally false.
• Myths involve characters and events that represent other
• Representations of something else/ shadows of these ideas
• Frost Giants in Norse mythology represent natural disasters that
occurred during the Viking Age
• Pandora represents human curiosity
• Sirens in the Odyssey?
• Mythology is based on
• second-hand tellings
• semi-deciphered ancient inscriptions
Because of this, mythology varies. One story can be interpreted
and told many different ways.
Myths are prose narratives which, in the society in which they are
told, are considered to be truthful accounts of what happened in
the remote past. Myths can also be called epics.
• Myths: protagonist is a god/ immortal
• Epic: protagonist is human/mortal (Often written in poem)
Legends are similar to myths, but some elements are true. They
are also set in a less-distant time period.
Folktales are prose narratives, which are regarded as fiction
Archetype: An original model on which similar things are patterned, namely
character types and situations.
Polytheism: The belief in more than one god
Monotheism: The belief in only one god
Pantheon: all the gods of a people or religion collectively
Duality: the state of being twofold; necessary opposites
Parallel: comparative or similar elements across several components
How much value should we put into mythology?
View three minutes of TED Talk:
Devdutt Pattanaik: East vs. West -- the myths that mystify (0:00- 3:10)
What makes up mythology?
-The world vs. My world
-Every culture trying to understand itself
-Different people of the world having a different understanding of the world
My World
The World
“Culture is a reaction to nature, and this understanding of our
ancestors is transmitted generation from generation in the form of
stories, symbols and rituals, which are always indifferent to
rationality. And so, when you study it, you realize that different
people of the world have a different understanding of the
world. Different people see things differently -- different
1. How and why are beings and natural forces created? What do they
2. How do similar motifs/ideas/ themes take on different meanings in
different stories, contexts?
3. What else might this myth explain besides natural events? What can
we detect about this culture from reading their myths?
4. What problems in human existence or in the relations of human
beings to gods (the divine or the sacred) do you think this myth is
grappling with?