Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's your favourite myth?

I think mine might be the King Arthur myths - I love nearly all of them.  Myths seem to be inherently sad stories, I'm struggling to think of one that has a happy ending.  There was an interesting book by Tanith Lee called "White As Snow" which mixed the Persephone myth with the Snow White fairytale - deeply skin-crawly in parts, but good.


Nic said...

I was wondering - do you think superheroes are the myths of our time? Kind of struck me that Superman/Batman/Spiderman etc are shared stories that everyone sort of feels they can write about or interpret or use. If the original myths were belief-system based and used to explain things that otherwise couldn't be explained, are we using superheroes in a similar manner to battle a confusing and scary world?

detecktive said...

Nicole always knows how to make the best discussions..

The concept of a modern 'superhero' (I guess as opposed to an action hero like Zorro or the Scarlet Pimpernel) I think really kicked off with Superman and developed from there. Superhero stories typically mimic events and themes of world affairs - for example, during the world wars Superman all of a sudden was fighting Nazi's and Captain America originated as a super soldier to fight the Germans.

As for whether they are modern day myths, I'm not sure. I guess some of the idea of mythology is that part of the tale might find its roots in history (eg. Arthurian) even if 99% of it is fiction. I'm not sure the same can be said of superhero stories.

What does everybody else reckon?

detecktive said...

I've just been having an interesting discussion with Hetty Betty about superhero's and mythology and she made the point that superhero's stories tend to be in response to current affairs (typically worked out of some sort of fear eg. nuclear threats, war, famine, death, loss emotion).

Whereas on the other hand a lot of the time fairy tales and mythology tend towards spirituality or mysticism as their source. Themes of good vs evil, magic and the supernatural often feature in mythology and fairytales. These are all questions about the human condition and grappling with the question 'is there more?'.

Take Vampire's for instance. I'd probably rate them as more modern day mythology than maybe a comic book superhero.

Nic said...

Hmmm... I see your (collective) point. In that case do you think shared history is why we keep retelling myths? Are they lessons or warnings? Are they more comfortable because we all know what's coming? Or is it just that everyone asks the same questions?

爱书 said...
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