Myths with a Lesson versus Explanatory Mythology A myth can be defined as a traditional story that is used to explain some phenomenon about nature or man. Although this is the popular definition, I feel that mythology has much more to offer than simply to explain the unexplainable. Myths entertain, but more importantly they teach morals and values through life lessons that most people can relate to in one way or another. This is best shown by looking at some myths that teach lessons and morals, then comparing these myths to those that simply explain something we don’t yet understand. It is then clear which type of myth offers more to the reader and society as a whole. Two good examples that show this comparison are the story of the Trojan horse and the story of Creation in Genesis.
A perfect example of a myth that teaches a lesson or value involves the Greeks and Trojans in the Tenth year of the Trojan War. Odysseus, who was commanding the Greek forces, was looking for a way to penetrate the Trojan defense and enter the city of Troy but the Trojan defense was too strong to attack directly. Instead, Odysseus devised a plan that involved the Greek soldiers hiding in a gigantic wooden horse, which the Trojans unsuspectingly brought into the city of Troy. The Greek soldiers waited until the dead of night and then snuck out of hiding and ambushed the Trojans while they slept, quickly taking and destroying the city. While this story is amusing, it teaches the reader a valuable lesson in life. The Trojans were na ” ive and gullible, not questioning why somebody would leave a humongous wooden statue outside their city, especially during a war.
"Archaeology has proved the historicity of the Trojan War." Discuss.".. he [Heinrich Schliemann] found layers of ruins... and two bore unmistakable signs of violent destruction. One of these layers, the seventh according to more recent excavators, was no doubt the city of Priam and Hector. The historicity of the Homeric tale had been demonstrated archaeologically." - M. I. Finley, the World of ...
They didn’t suspect a thing, and paid for it with their city and their lives. This teaches us to question everything and to be cautious. There are a lot of bad people in the world and prudence is often the difference between being taken advantage of and escaping without any harm being done to you. This may be a harsh lesson to learn, but it is an important one. This myth is invaluable because, if taken seriously, teaches the reader a valuable lesson that can be applied to their everyday lives. For example, a person may receive a letter or email that offers some great money making opportunity.
This offer may seem tempting, but in actuality is really just a scam. The believing, gullible person may fall for this. However, the person who read the above myth will have a better understand that some things have to be questioned in order to protect oneself. This is just one example, but there are many more that can be applied to every myth that teaches a lesson.
The book of Genesis contains a common myth that was created in an effort to explain the existence of humans on earth. Genesis tells of the story of Creation in seven days. Although this was widely believed to be true for a long time, this has since been proven to be false by scientific evidence that show that human evolution has occurred over hundreds of millions of years. This story was originally created because people did not know where life started on earth and this lack of knowledge made them uncomfortable.
So instead of trying to answer this question scientifically, somebody wrote a story that explained everything and it was eventually included in the Bible. Even assuming that Creationism hadn’t yet been refuted, the best thing this story does is give the people who read it some peace of mind if they truly believe in it. It answers peoples questions, although falsely. Having incorrect answers to one of life’s biggest questions actually inhibits your ability to gain knowledge because you have been falsely informed.
Learning a life lesson would be far more beneficial. Knowing where life on earth came from isn’t going to help the average reader in their everyday life, but learning a moral or value that that same reader can apply to the situations they face everyday is invaluable. Another reason why myths that teach values are more significant is because those myths that explain some natural phenomena are almost always false because somebody had to write these myths at one point and when they did, they had little or no evidence to go by, resulting in a fictitious myth. Myths, such as the ones mentioned above, are perfect examples of why myths that teach a lesson are far more valuable to the reader than myths that simply try to explain the unexplainable here on earth.
Understandably, all literature, especially novels, is written to in some way allude to real life. Charles Frazier sets his novel, Cold Mountain, one hundred and forty years ago, yet the characters bear very close resemblance to real people of today. This novel teaches the reader many lessons about his own life. The characters show the reader that there are types of intelligence other that the ...
By focusing on myths that offer insight and morals, the reader can significantly alter their life in a positive way by merely applying these learned lessons to their own life.