Nov 15, 2018 in Analysis

Mythology Essay

Mythology

Myths and legends, whatever nation they were created by, not only represent the human vision of the world arrangement and natural phenomena. Through them, people’s inner world, emotions, and feelings can be reflected in a symbolic way. That is why the adventures of gods and heroes, as well as their mutual relations and emotional experience, remind of those that person has. Down below, the brief description of the two Greek myths of adversity will be given. They will be compared to the two lifelike stories of one’s own of the same kind. The way how one’s personal inner struggle is depicted in the stories will be highlighted, and compared to the way it is expressed in the myths. 

Myths of Ancient Greece are often filled with subjects of struggle and adversity. Most of all, there are two sides taking part in conflict, the gods or one particular god on the one hand, and those who live on earth (i.e. heroes or prominent humans like kings or warriors) on the other. The reasons for the dispute can be different, for example, disobedience of men, breaking a vow, one’s deeds that are out of favor with gods, etc. At the first sight, myths may seem to be just the exciting stories describing the lives and affairs of divine creatures, as well as their interaction with mankind. However, it would not be right to take these stories as those describing real facts and characters. First of all, myths have symbolic meaning revealing the inner nature and expressing the inside conflicts of people through the fiction stories. 

As an example, two popular myths of Ancient Greece can be taken. One of them is a myth about confrontation between Zeus and Giants. According to its contents, Zeus, with gaining the power, had to face several threats in order to assert his right to being the supreme god. 

One of these threats was fighting Giants. As a myth says, Giants appeared long before Zeus and belonged to the Old Gods. They believed this gives them right to position themselves as the only legal rulers of the world (“The Creation,” n.d.). That is why they were not satisfied with Zeus coming to power and rebelled against him.

As an example, two popular myths of Ancient Greece can be taken. One of them is a myth about confrontation between Zeus and Giants. According to its contents, Zeus, with gaining the power, had to face several threats in order to assert his right to being the supreme god. 

One of these threats was fighting Giants. As a myth says, Giants appeared long before Zeus and belonged to the Old Gods. They believed this gives them right to position themselves as the only legal rulers of the world (“The Creation,” n.d.). That is why they were not satisfied with Zeus coming to power and rebelled against him.

This situation can find its analog in real life as well. For example, it often happens that someone is not satisfied with the position he/ she occupies in general hierarchy, at one’s job, for instance. Instead, the desired status seems to be more attractive, especially if it promises some amount of power over the others. Naturally, when the wishful goal becomes out of reach being given to someone else, the person feels cheated and being passed over. His or her pride, as well as sense of self-importance is hurt. Then, naturally, being completely confident that he or she was treated in an unfair way, the individual begins to try to get the loss back in all possible ways, sometimes descending to the not much fair means. In fact, it is pointless to do anything in this case as long as the decision was already made by someone of a higher rank, and another one was considered to be the most proper candidate. It is reasonable to suggest that one’s own level of experience or professional qualities do not fit the requirements of the position. However, no reasonable arguments can convince the offended person to step aside and accept the situation. On the contrary, he or she will keep on trying to get the desired position by all means, again and again, until strict measures may be applied to him or her by the company management.

 

What is, in fact, going on in this case? The person who tries to get back something strongly desired is doing this not because of the mere obstinacy as it might seem at first sight. In this way, he or she tries to prove oneself that he (or she) is worth occupying this position. Therefore, this is the way to assure oneself to be a worthy personality, an indispensable specialist, to feel oneself needed at last. Of course, such aspect as fulfillment of one’s own ambitions to gain power also plays an essential role. 

Naturally, when being rejected, one feels abandoned and useless, which causes him or her to struggle. On the other hand, in this situation the best decision is to step aside if nothing can be done in order to change it. On the contrary, one should look for other ways of self-expression and fulfillment of one’s own ambitions, if not at work, then in some other sphere of activity.

In the myth mentioned above, Giants represent absolutely different way of action, struggle, which brings no effect in this case. As it can be seen from the following story, this path leads them to being defeated by Zeus. In a symbolic way, it can imply that forcing the situation and insisting on one’s own scenery of its development often ends up with one’s loss.   

Another myth to be discussed is Prometheus and Zeus. It tells that Prometheus, though being one of the Titans by birth, still fought on Zeus’s side in the Titanomachy (“The Creation,” n.d.). Later, he fell from favor with Zeus because of championing the cause of man. However, the most unforgivable guilt of Prometheus was that he stole the fire from heaven and gave it to people against the will of Zeus almost assimilating them to gods (“Greek Mythology the Creation of the Earth,” n.d.). As punishment for this fault, he was doomed to endless tortures, with an eagle coming every day and pecking at his liver. 

Again, this seems to be a common didactic story teaching that disobedience always leads to severe punishment. However, this myth can have its lifelike analogs found in real life, too. For example, one can cooperate closely with someone whom he or she trusts and relies on. This person is believed to be trustworthy and honest, having proved it in practice by loyalty and interplay. So one naturally entrusts him or her with the most important and essential tasks. None the less, this person appears to be cunning and insidious in fact. It becomes clear when he or she goes under protest with the leader and confronts his decisions when following them would be the best choice. 

Acting his (or her) own way, the person believes that this is the right way to do, without even suspecting that there might be some reasons, even though not obvious, that make the leader act in a different way. However, self-confidence and arrogance, as well as belief in his or her cleverness and rightness cause such individual to end up being mistaken and fail miserably, because he or she does not take into account all the possible ways of action and variants of the situation development. One can also not see clearly all the hidden aspects of the situation in general.

Connecting to the myth, one can notice that Prometheus confronted Zeus’s decision not to give heaven fire to people, and stole it, and gave it to them against the will of supreme god.

Prometheus is known to be a trickster, insidious and cunning, who dared to disobey Zeus himself. The myth shows how wit and skill oppose power and mightiness, describing the former being defeated and punished. How can this correspond to real life? The one who believes himself or herself to be very clever is often very self-assured person as well. Being confident that wit and skills will always help to avoid any troubles and traps, this person feels safe enough not to listen to those who has more experience or power than they do. As a result, they do get in troubles. However, such conduct shows that these people rather try to carry down their points of view or ideas than simply acting opposite because of their rebellious nature. Perhaps, because of being unable or unwilling to use another way for expressing their position, they choose the simplest one, to confront. As can be seen from the examples given above, this method is not the best one to choose.

Summing up all mentioned above, a conclusion can be made that ancient myths, in particular ones of Ancient Greece, are not only the exciting fiction stories about gods and heroes, or simply the way to explain how world is arranged. 

In a symbolic meaning, they represent people’s own inner turmoil and struggle, incarnating them as gods and their rivals (for example, Zeus as an incarnation of desired power, Giants incarnating the aspiration for mightiness, or Prometheus as an incarnation of one’s own self-assurance). The contests between gods and heroes or, rarely, human beings showed in myths describe human’s inner disorder, which causes adversity in the end, if not being changed to the correct way of acting by human itself. 

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