5 Reasons to Study (Greek) Myth
Okay guys, so as you have probably heard, our next class, coming up in July, is MYTH AND MYTHIC ADAPTATION – yay! It is focused on Greek Mythology plus the literature and media inspired by Greek Mythology (which is a lot.) This is Mythic Fiction. This is Mythic Arts. This is Mythpunk.
When we were thinking about what course to do next, we realized that we pretty much had to do a course on myth. We had already hit the two other major folk narrative groups (folk/fairy tale and legend), so it was time. And this is a good thing too, because mythology is amazing, and looking at it from a folkloristic viewpoint is likely to be different from anything else you’ve ever done. Myth gets swept up in a lot of different kinds of work – psychology, Jungian theory, etc. in particular – but folklore studies look at myth a bit differently, and we’re so excited to share that lens with you!
Plus these stories are just fantastic!! So without further ado, here is our list of 5 Reasons to Study (Greek) Myth!
1) Because Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses are Temperamental as Hell (Hi Hades!) and Completely Fascinating
Reading Greek myths can make soap operas seem really tame. Many of the characters are, quite literally, larger than life, and they can be incredibly heroic, like when Prometheus gave fire to man despite the punishment that followed, or they can be absolute assholes, like Zeus (most of the time.) They experience profound rage, profound loss, and profound love.
Their boldness and the scale of their actions makes for some seriously gripping, seriously weird storytelling.
2) Because Myths Underpin Many Beloved, Popular Stories (Including Many Fairy Tales!)
While myth is a different genre than the fairy tale – myths often explain the creation of the earth or why things are the way they are, while fairy tales tend to be more about entertainment or socialization – some stories bear a close resemblance! For example, “Beauty and the Beast” is very closely related to “Cupid and Eros.” Beautiful ladies forced to dwell in lavish but creepy (and empty!) castles? Check. Jealous sisters? Check. Potentially/ definitely monstrous captors?
3) Because Ancient Myths Can Help Us Think More Critically About Our Own Myths
While the term “myth” might seem very distant, it actually applies to many of the stories that we still use to make sense of our world. The Greeks used Chaos, Gaia, Eros, and other gods to tell the story of the world’s origin. What stories do we tell ourselves now, and how might our storytelling overlap?
Hint: they overlap a lot.
4) Because They Are Sacred
Myths are different from legends and fairy tales because they are sacred – they provide the backbone to religious cultures. And it’s worth thinking about why these stories are so important to people. What kind of cultural work do these stories do? Also, it’s just cool to open up your perspective and think about what other people value!
5) Because They Tell Us the Truth (or, to be more specific, a Version of the Truth)
Colloquially, “myth” usually means something that isn’t true, just like “it’s just a fairy tale” means something isn’t true.
But in folklore, myths are the stories that are the most true. They are the stories that are most important, the stories that provide the guideposts for navigating life, death, and all of the other big questions people still have and have always had. They provide a deep, grounding truth to the people who believe them.
Myths are a big deal.
So there you have it, our five reasons to study myth, five reasons why our new course is going to be SO much fun. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you might have – we’d love to help!
[Main Post Image is “Pandora” by J. W. Waterhouse, Gifs from Various Films and Television Shows!]