cmlit class notes - 2 theories for the origin of myths 1...

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1/16/08 2 theories for the origin of myths: 1. Monogenesis- all myths at some point in time had a common source 2. Polygenesis- similar types of myths arose in different cultures with similar concerns but were totally independent *Polygenesis is probably the correct theory 5 requirements of a myth: 1. Deals with supernatural and fantastic figures 2. Carried from generation to generation 3. Represents the beliefs of a community— not a single author 4. Shows a world view of one culture 5. It is a narrative Religion- based upon beliefs; the articulation of a belief system Myth- narrative that exemplifies the belief system How to read a myth: 1. ID plot 2. ID main characters; are they divine, human, animal, combination? 3. What do these characters do and why are their actions important? 4. What do they represent or symbolize? 5. What are the relationships between characters? Conflicts or struggles? 6. What type of order is disrupted or resolved? Social, natural, cosmic? 7. What are the general themes? 8. Notice the specifics of the language of the text (repetition, structures, songs etc) “The Descent of Inanna” 1. Why did Inanna go to the Underworld? She wanted to spite her siblings and her father to make them jealous. She wanted to do something that no one has done. She was a cocky brat. Ereshkigal, her sister, ruled the Underworld and she wanted to take over 2. What excuse does Inanna use to go to the Underworld?
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