A Brief Discussion of Mythology

Essay by pronothingCollege, UndergraduateB, November 2007

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A Brief Discussion of MythsAccording to Wikipedia, “mythology” signifies a means of myth telling from a culture and involves the study of myths. OED defines myth as traditional stories that include forces, beings, or creatures with supernatural powers that justifies “a religious belief or ritual, or a natural phenomenon.” Myths were part of all early cultures before the development of writing and reflected the beliefs of older generations that included speculations about the nature of the world, its origin, and the human experience. These ideas were passed down from generation to generation in the oral tradition through the retelling of myths and were accepted as fact in the tradition of a society.

Encarta’s article on mythology states that the practice of mythmaking is found in all of the early cultures. Although myths of different cultures exist in various parts of the world, many share similarities in terms of the content matter.

Origin myths and creation myths existed in almost all cultures because humans pondered questions about their origin as well as the creation of the world, which myths explained. A supernatural or spiritual aspect of a myth was used by humans in myths to rationalize natural events because no other plausible or scientific answers were available. Karen Armstrong explains in A Short History of Myth that a myth “is about the unknown; it is about that for we initially have no words.” Therefore, to explain the unknown, myths needed some fantastical element in order for humans to rationalize unexplainable events. The supernatural aspect of Greek mythology was the gods and goddesses, who were omnipotent and were responsible for all natural events that occurred. Thus the Greek mythology asserted that the creation of the world resulted from the establishment of order from Chaos, which a void which stretched across the universe...