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1_9_09 - CLASSICS 222 NOTES FOR Sign-up sheets for the...

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CLASSICS 222 NOTES FOR 1/9/09 Sign-up sheets for the paper will be available on Monday. Continuing the three broad categories of myths: 2) Legend, while it may involve divinities, deals primarily with heroic mortals doing great deeds (good or bad) in some distant past. These stories, which may be treated as history, say something quite specific about what the teller finds admirable, lamentable, and important in the human condition. The tales of the Trojan War are the most famous Greek legends. Take the choice of Achilles for example. Achilles learns from his divine Mom that he can go to Troy, win immortal glory and die young OR stay home and live to a ripe old age in obscurity. For Achilles, choosing an early death and immortal glory was a no-brainer. Achilles, as a Greek hero, is far more complex than, for example, a hero from our culture's stories is like Superman, who is squeaky- clean and will always swoop in to save the day. Greek heroes are more morally problematic, potentially more dangerous than the modern American conception of the "hero." So while the focus of the Achilles story is the hero's search for glory, Achilles also allows tremendous destruction when he withdraws from the fight in anger over being disrespected. His legend thus reinforces cultural values while at the same time allowing him to be exceedingly complex. 3) Folk tales , which are not set in a specific time, but happen "Once upon a time", have characters that are usually not great leaders or heroes, and have some element of the fantastic (magic, talking animals, etc.) They often tell stories that often have a moral. They also have basic narratives that occur in different and widely scattered cultures. Folk tales and legends can be intermingled; the three categories of myth are not mutually exclusive. There are common motifs. In the tenth book of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus, a character of legend, encounters Circe, a witch who turns men into animals. This is a folktale motif. Another motif: The child who is to be killed by order of the ruler, but is instead exposed
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