Greek Mythology

Mythology by Edith Hamilton Critical Analysis

Mythology by Edith Hamilton Edith Hamilton: Mythology is a collection of Greek and Roman myths retold by Edith Hamilton. It is rewritten in a way that more readers could comprehend its content. The book was published in 1999 by Grand Central Publishing in New York, New York. Edith Hamilton believed that Greek myths “show how high the ancient Greeks rose above ancient filth and fierceness. ” However, she also believed that “Greek mythology do not throw any clear light upon what early mankind was like” (14).
They were simply written by ancient societies or civilizations to express themselves or to explain natural events that occurred around them. In addition, Edith Hamilton also says that the “best guides to a knowledge of Greek mythology are the Greek writers who believe what they wrote” (23). Edith Hamilton: Mythology can be described in many ways. It can be described and analyzed by its purpose, organization and language, and interpretation. One way that it could be described is by analyzing the book’s purpose. This book was written for many purposes.
In Hamilton’s perspective, the purpose of this work was simply to “show us the way the human race thought and felt untold ages ago” (13). Another purpose of the book was to entertain its readers and audiences. Reading Edith Hamilton’s collection of Greek and Roman myths gives its readers more knowledge about how ancient civilizations explained things. Hamilton’s purpose for writing this literary work was also to “make the reader see some differences between writers [of the original], who were so different” from each other.

She accomplished this by writing short passages about the original writers at the beginning of each story. Her goal for this book was to be accurate and close to the original and for readers to gain knowledge of myths and an idea of what each original writer was like (Foreword). The organization and language of Edith Hamilton: Mythology is another way to analyze this book. Hamilton organized her work in easy-to-follow groups. Short love stories were all in one chapter, and the events of the Trojan War were all in another chapter.
She also kept the Greek stories and the Roman stories separated by using only Greek characters in some stories and using only Roman characters in the next. While that organization made the book more convenient, it may also have confused some readers. The transition from Roman gods in one story to Greek gods in the next story came so unexpectedly that it may have surprised or confused readers. Hamilton was very sophisticated with her use of words and language in the book. While that may have impressed some of her audiences, others may have preferred the use of simple and easy-to-understand language.
Edith Hamilton: Mythology can be interpreted by its effectiveness and appeal to its audience. It was very educational and effective in letting the reader understand the interaction between mortals and immortals. This literary work was definitely a monomyth, a hero with a thousand faces. Most of the stories all related to each other, and some were basically the same stories, only told by different writers using similar gods, goddesses, and mortals. The myths also contained a few recurring themes such as the theme of love.
In several stories, readers were told that love was given to mortals by the gods and that it was unavoidable. The stories and myths appealed to the reader and audience in many ways. Some stories or myths contained humor, while others were quite moving and heart-warming. For example, in Hercules’s story, we are told that Hercules drank and partied one night while everyone else around him was mourning a woman’s death. Hercules regretted being merry on such a night that he did all that he could to bring the woman back to life (176-178). That story was very sweet and heart-warming.
It also showed the readers Hercules’s true character and how much he cared about the people around him. Other myths and stories provided suspense or even mystery to its audience. The story of “The Quest of the Golden Fleece” kept some readers wanting to keep reading just to find out what the future held for Jason, the Argonauts, and Medea. Overall, Edith Hamilton: Mythology was a collection of Greek and Roman myths rewritten by Edith Hamilton. Her book can be analyzed by its purpose, organization and language, and its interpretation.
It was written to inform its audience about how humans thought and felt ages ago. Its content was organized in such a way that made it easier to understand for some readers. The book’s stories were very effective in letting its audience know about the relationship between the gods and the mortals. They also appealed to readers because of their humor or suspense. People all over would now be able to read and understand Greek, as well as Roman, mythology because of the literary work, Edith Hamilton: Mythology.

Greek Mythology

Exploring the greek mythology through the ‘Odyssey’

Literary narratives such as the Greek and the Roman mythologies have played a great part on the development of societies around the world. Especially in the context of western civilization, the mythologies of the Greeks and the Romans significantly shaped the culture of this region. Aside from its culture, it also highly influenced its society in general. In fact, politics and religion are also explained in the light of the Greek and Roman mythologies.
In this paper, it will explore on the Greek mythology through the myth on the ‘Odyssey’. More specifically, it will emphasize on its main character by the name of Odysseus or Ulysses. Through this character, this paper will be able to explain the role of myth on the changing cultural make-up of Greece. In particular, this myth will serve as an instrument in identifying the way Greeks perceive and use mythologies. Finally, this paper will also present the different key points of the myth.
The Odyssey is an epic of Homer about the adventures of Odysseus. Specifically, this myth is considered as the sequel to the earliest well-known surviving work in Western literature which is the ‘Iliad’. In comparison to many sequels in the present era, the ‘Odyssey’ is considered to be distinct because of its originality and even stands as an independent work. (Napierkowski, 1998a)

It has been said that its main character, Odysseus, has been a celebrated hero in the Greek mythology. Being the central character in the ‘Odyssey’, he is best known for is adventures during his ten-year journey home after the Trojan War. His journey to home on Ithaca took ten years because of the anger of the sea god Poseidon. During his journey and adventures, the hero went to many wondrous and dangerous places. Along the way, he lost all his companions and the treasure he had gotten from Troy Arriving home at last after an absence of 20 years, Odysseus had to defeat rivals trying to take possession of his wife and his kingdom. Then he had to prove his identity to his wife, Penelope. (Wickersham, 2000)
The adventures of Odysseus are highlighted by his achievement of victory in various challenges or struggles. Among this is the encounter with the Ciconians, the Lotus-eaters, Polyphemus, Aeolus, the Laestrygonians, Circe, Journey to the underworld, the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the cattle of Helios as well as the Calypso and the Phaecians. More importantly, one can also add the difficulties he acquired upon his arrival in Ithaca due to the suitors of his wife, Penelope. Eventually, all of these trials were conquered by Odysseus. Therefore, he was dubbed as a hero. Moreover, the qualities he manifested during his trials were considered as the qualities of a real or true hero.
Undoubtedly, the voyages and troubles encountered by Odysseus highlights the concept of heroism, loyalty, creativity and order. In addition, the ‘Odyssey’ is also famous for its use of symbolism as well as for the pace and variety of its action. With this, both the ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Odyssey’ set the standard by which epic poetry, if not all poetry of any kind, was judged in the past 1,500 years. More importantly, the story on the wanderings of Odysseus has remained a perennial favorite to the present day. (Napierkowski, 1998a)
Basically, the appeal of the ‘Odyssey’ is derived from its nature as being able to present the Greek people as well as the way of life in ancient Greek society. In short, the story serves as an archetype to various societies and not just the Greek community. Particularly, the characters of Penelope and Odysseus serve as a role model to the multitude. Their way of life has been the idealized life of the many. Until today, the moral of the story has continuously been resonated to the people of any culture or ethnic group.
Furthermore, the theme of human condition is the most important theme in the ‘Odyssey’. In the story, almost every aspect of humanity is depicted- good, bad, young, old, individuals and groups, the living and even the dead. Other themes also include love and loyalty, order and disorder, heroic craftiness, the nature of women, triumph over temptation, home, the epic journey, the God’s involvement, revenge, heroism and, creativity, imagination and deception.  (Napierkowski, 1998b)
Indeed, the story of Odysseus made a great impact on the society of the Greek people. In fact, even in the present day, the story on the adventures of this great hero is still related to many people around the world. In the contemporary society, people have created a modern version of the ‘Odyssey’ through the aid of media technology. This is evident on the animated version of this story in order to cater the needs of the children or the young generation.
Burns, M. (1996, May 1). The wanderings of the Odysseus: The story of ‘The Odyssey.’ The Horn Book Magazine.  72 (3).
Napierkowski, Marie Rose. (Ed). (1998). Odyssey: Introduction. Epics for students. Vol.1. Detroit: Gale.
(1998). Odyssey: Themes. Epics for Students. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale,
Wickersham, John M. (Ed). (2000). Odysseus. Myths and Legends of the World. Macmillan: Thomson Gale.