A First Foray on Myth and Tragedy

During the first few weeks of the semester, we are working to lay important intellectual foundations for our class by exploring the meaning of myth, introducing Aristotle’s theories about tragedy, and considering the more recent scholarship of Joseph Campbell on the “hero’s journey.” This three-part Blogpost is designed to get you to think about these ideas a little bit differently, and especially to make connections between the world of myth and our own “real” lives – something we will be doing throughout the semester.  With that in mind, then, you will write three short paragraphs (total) in response to the three prompts below.  I’ll be curious to see what you come up with for your first response writings of the semester!

1)  For class last week you read an article (published on ThoughtCo) that takes different theories about myth and combines them into the following simple definition: “Myths are stories told by people about people: where they come from, how they handle major disasters, how they cope with what they must, and how everything will end.” Taking this definition into consideration, I’d like you to discuss a time in your life when a “myth” or a story with key mythical elements played a key role.  Many believe that myths are things of the past, yet we still mythologize many aspects of our world – so how does your experience with myth highlight the power and significance of myths to living beings in the twenty-first century?

2)  On Monday we examined the ins and outs of Aristotle’s foundational views of myth from the Poetics. Hence, I thought it would be worthwhile to apply specific ideas from Aristotle’s theories to a specific movie, text, or experience from your own life.  To do so, you might tell us how the plot of your chosen tale fits certain “tragic” modes (such as leading toward a “catharsis”), or consider how the characters fit Aristotle’s ideals – especially of the “tragic hero.”  And in making these connections, you might also consider this:  what are some of the ways that tragedy functions in your own life?  How does tragedy make you feel, and what does it teach you about the world in which we live?

3)  Wednesday we will be exploring Joseph Campbell’s notion of a “monomyth,” which has been profoundly influential. But one controversial aspect of his view of the “hero’s journey” is the idea that the heroes of myth and legend are, in certain fundamental ways, discernably different than those “heroes” we see in everyday life.  But is this really true?  What is a hero?  To consider these questions, I’d like you to cite a hero that you know personally or just know about, and use them as a way to define, discuss, and illustrate what it means to be heroic.  In time, we will test these ideas by seeing how your notions are similar to – or different than – the ideas of Campbell, as well as the actual heroes depicted in myth and legend throughout the ages.

23 thoughts on “A First Foray on Myth and Tragedy

  1. Personally, there are not many myths that I can relate to in my life personally at the moment, but there are some myths that I have heard of and seen generally in the present day. One example is the Olympics. From what I have heard, it comes from the known god of Hercules. He waged a war on the city of Elis after doing some type of labor and not being paid for it by Augeas. He won the war and to celebrate, created the Olympic games in the city of Olympia. The games happened every four years in Greece where surrounding “states” would come to watch and celebrate. This connects to modern day because we have Olympic games every four years. We have people from different countries competing for medals, for representation, and for bragging rights just like Hercules had the festival to kind of brag to Augeas and the city of Elis.

    One way that tragedy is involved or functions in my life is that I, like every other protagonist in plays like Othello, or Oedipus, have a tragic flaw. My tragic flaw is that I am very gullible and it is hard for me to say no to people. This leads to me being overwhelmed or people using me when they know I’m gullible or “too nice.” Tragedy makes me feel vulnerable because if someone figures out your tragic flaw, they can use it to their advantage and or your disadvantage. This teaches me that you have to reflect on yourself and that even if you think you’re perfect, that in itself could be your hamartia.

    Honestly, I don’t know that much about superheroes. I guess the most common is like Captain America or Spiderman. Mostly in superhero movies there will be doubt and just overall scaredness because a lot of people, if not, the whole world is held in their hands. I see a trend that after a while it’s natural for them and they aren’t scared to do their quest unless it’s a big test or they are against someone deemed more powerful than them. Also usually their identity is unknown and when they come back to their world, they join civilization as if nothing happens.

  2. 1) During middle school, I remember many peoples favorite books to read being the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. These books follow the adventures of a teenage boy named Percy who is the son of the Greek god of the ocean, Poseidon, and his other demigod friends. This series accounted for many of my first reading and writing projects, which played a key role in my understanding of mythology and development of my reading and writing skills. These books are a stand out example of modern day mythology and how ancient myths still pique peoples interest to this very day.

    2) Aristotle’s formula for tragedy ends with catharsis, the purging of the hero’s fatal flaw or mistake. Unfortunately for most people experiencing the types of tragedies similar to the stories of ancient Greece, instead of a catharsis, there may only be an awakening, or a realization of the mistake they have made, without the ability to change the outcomes of said mistake. I think a fitting example of Aristotle’s tragedy formula in todays world can be observed in simple miscommunications. I can recall many times where I had found myself in situations where I wanted to fix a problem, or believed there to be an existing problem, and the actions which I had taken had brought me to the same exact outcome which I had wanted to avoid. Generally when there is a miscommunication people mean well but can often blind themselves with emotion and fear, similar to a tragic hero.

    3) Comparing a mythical hero to a everyday hero is difficult, the first thing that has to be taken into account is how many ancient heroes had unnatural abilities ie; Heracles’ extraordinary strength, Achilles’ near-immortality. The stories of old, legendary heroes in-fact are centered around their individual triumph. When asked to define a real-life hero, common examples include law enforcement or emergency response workers. These are people who often take heroic actions, which are selfless acts and deeds that put themselves at risk for the good of other people. The difference between legendary heroes and real life heroes is that often times real life heroes lead ordinary lives while the heroes of legend lead lives of fame and grandeur.

    • 1) In my younger years I was in love with Greek Mythology, especially gods like Zeus or Poseidon. This love I had for Greek Mythology came from my 7th grade english class, where I was first introduced to a book named Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The class and I had to read the book and do several reading assignments on the book, and after every student finished the book my teacher put on the movie version. I personally liked the movie counter part of the book, and it is still a good movie till this day. Which brings me to my next point, which is myths still have a noticeable impact us in the twenty-first century. Myself and many other still have love for Greek Mythology showing that myths are still relevant in modern day.

      2) When I look at Aristotle’s views on myths, and I reflect on myself I definitely see certain aspects of his theory in my own life. What I mean is, a part of Aristotle’s theory is having a “tragic flaw”, and I can say for myself that I have a “tragic flaw”. My “tragic flaw” is being an over thinker, it effects all the time every day, but I learn to live with it. I have learned to control my overthinking better but I can always get better, and eventually make it to the end goal. That end goal is what Aristotle would call “catharsis” which is when the hero’s “tragic flaw” is purged and no longer has that flaw.

      3) Some one who really embodies what it means to be a hero is a fictional hero from the anime My Hero Academia named All Might. One of the many reasons why I choose All might as my example of what it means to be heroic is the way goes about being a hero. In his eyes the lives of the people he swears to protect are always above his own. Meaning that he is always ready to self-sacrifice his own life if it means saving or benefiting his people. All might has the reputation of always saving people with a smile and has the nickname of ” The symbol of Peace”. I think as a hero having the public think of you as their savor and “Symbol of Piece” is equally important in being heroic.

  3. I don’t have any myths that are personal to me, but something in todays society that stands out is the branding of products. For example the brand Dove is a skin care and hygiene brand. A dove was a symbol of the Goddess of beauty Aphrodite, so when people use their skincare it is like a reminder if you want beauty to use their brand. Another example would be the athletic brand Nike, which means Victory in Greek myths. The name of brands when having a strong meaning behind it draws consumers into buy their products.

    A tragic flaw that I obtain would be to not think before talking. Not thinking before talking can lead to little tragedies between people, and can cause the downfall of those who don’t realize its a flaw. During these tragedies people let their emotions get the best of them and don’t process or regulate how they are feeling. I feel like this can be seen back in Aristotle’s time during times of conflict and can really be seen in today’s world. Sometimes the consequences of this flaw can erupt into bigger problems and lead to the downfall of individuals or groups.

    The comparison between mythical heroes and heroes we view everyday is very drastic. When we think of mythical heroes we normally think of someone who must overcome major obstacles or travels to be seen as a hero. They also might have to fight monsters or defy odds that we can only imagine in todays world. Everyday heroes go about their normal lives but are seen as heroes when preforming an act outside of the ordinary. Also these acts can be seen heroic to some but not to others, for some people saving a cat from a tree can be seen as heroic. In contract others view heroic actions as rescuing people from a burning building, or being a part of the army. But for those preforming heroic actions in todays society its their job and is seen as the right thing to do.

  4. A time in my life when a myth played a key role in my life was when I was much younger. Around 12-13, I was really inspired by Matilda. I watched the movie and the book and Matilda’s character motivated me to read more because I wanted to be smart like her. And maybe a little part of me wanted to have telekinesis as well. I believe that myths help us connect with each other and relate to others as human beings. Myths help build communities and since myths are known from being passed down orally from generation to generation; it’s a way for older generations to connect w/ younger generations.

    I think the film “The Beautiful Person” is a good example of Aristotle’s tragic hero ideals. The main character is Junie, the most relatable character in the entire film. That’s not to say she’s necessarily the best person either, she definitely has more than one fatal flaw. She’s a transfer student with a mysterious past and the second she steps on campus she causes a stir. Many sad things happen throughout the film, including the death of her partner. Personally, tragedies make me feel a whirlwind of emotions. Especially if I can relate to the main character or what’s happening to the main character. Tragedies taught me that sometimes bad things can happen to good people but most of the time it’s our own doing. We should be mindful of not only our good ones but our bad ones too because those can lead to our downfall.

    My definition of a hero is someone who is unrelentingly kind and will stop at nothing to help those in need. A hero doesn’t need superpowers or a flashy suit, all they need is two working hands, a giving heart, and good intentions. One example of a hero is Assane Diop from the television series “Lupin”. To summarize, Assane’s father was falsely accused of stealing a very important necklace. This led to him being thrown in jail and eventually killed. The entire series is Assane avenging his father and putting the man who accused him in jail. Although he didn’t take the most ethical approach, he never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve to be hurt.

  5. I feel as though myths are important for many people and help them cope with certain aspects of their lives. It’s also there to sometimes eject fear from a community. Myths in a way can be to scare people into not doing certain things such as the myth of Candyman or even La Llorona. There are supernatural aspects in many myths that are meant to in a way control the people who believe in them. These myths can have a community in fear or anxious of certain things and will make sure that they for example do not go out past a certain time in fear of what could happen. For me I do not really follow many myths but I still will not do certain things in order to prevent these things from happening. For many people myths such as these play a key cultural role. In the black community this myth tells the story of a man who was killed but seemed to be a good man. In a way this is a cautionary tale to me and many others that bad things can happen to people who do no harm at all and to always be careful.

    Something I can relate to in Aristotle’s theories of a good tragedy is a Katharis. In many friendships things have come to a tragic end. The friendship displayed many toxic traits or tragic flaws that in the end would lead to the end of that friendship. At the end of the day this happening left me feeling down or depressed much like a katharis is supposed to feel. But, ultimately it is a learning experience that can help you improve and grow into a better person. Much like tragedies are supposed to make you feel. They make you feel pity and feel for the person with a tragic flaw and ultimately will allow for you to reflect those flaws in yourself and improve them. Tragedies make me personally feel very down but again I feel bad for the characters who were affected by the fatal flaws.

    In myths heros are seen to be a certain way. They are almost always gods of some form and have some form of power that helps them be who they are. Personally when I think of a hero I think of people who everyday work hard to make a better environment for us. They do things that many others are not willing to do. I think heroes are anyone who risks their lives or does anything that others may not be able to or want to do. People such as environmentalists and firefighters are some of my own personal heroes. But, in the Greek mythology times they would have to usually be a strong man and would again, have to have some sort of power.

  6. 1.) Growing up I went to Catholic school and was heavily influence by my grandparents who are extremely devout Catholics. A lot of my perspectives on the world and what I thought was real was molded by the stories and teachings of religion. I did not fully grasp the science or what may be as my young brain was primarily influenced by these biblical myths. It was not until I was much older and left Catholic story that I realized that these things may not be as real as I thought they may be. For a young child these religious stories and myths helped me conceptualize the earth and feel as though everything happens for a reason. Adam and Eve is much easier for a young child to understand than the complicated and not so clear-cut way that the earth came to be. This may be an explanation for why myths are still seen today because they help us find comfort in the things that we can not always explain. It is always easier to say that there is something greater than us influencing what happens and saying that there may always be a reason for the bad. Myth helps people come to terms that not everything is in their control or understanding and that is okay. These myths also build a community amongst people who believe in the same myths or religions. They help people support each other and find people who think the same as them. When something bad happens, it is a normal thing in religion to go to church and pray, as well as ask others to pray to God for you. This community is built through this biblical ‘myth’ that God has a plan and will help people through tough times which goes to show the extreme influence that myths have upon us.

    2.) For me when I think of Aristotle’s view of a tragedy the first character and story that comes to mind for me in modern day is Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars series. When watching the prequels Anakin is seen as this larger-than-life prophet who is meant to bring balance to the force. All of Anakin’s actions influence the battle between good and evil or the Jedi and the Sith. Anakin knows he is seen in this way, and he knows that he is meant for greatness. Which also causes him to want more and be seen as more to the Jedi Council. He also has the weakness of his love for the Senator and wanting to keep her alive which is ultimately his hamartia. His tragic flaw is that his love and want to keep her alive is what ultimately leads to the downfall of his character to the dark side. We see in the end that all his actions were for nothing as everyone that he loves now hates him or is dead. In my own life I have seen tragedy play out with people who want so badly to be great that they let the pressure overcome them. I also watch people in my close family want to be seen as strong so badly that they let their emotions keep being buried until it comes back to haunt them. For me tragedy seems very relevant, and I have seen tragedy in action.

    3.) In life I believe that everyone possesses the ability to be great and a hero, but they do not always use this greatness within them in the correct way. One of the greatest clichés is that your parents are your heroes and for me that is partially true. My mom is my hero in many ways as she continually overcomes struggles for the people she loves and manages to conquer these obstacles like a true hero. No matter what tries to knock her down she manages to get back up again because she has people she wants to survive for and provide for. Even when her greatest enemy is someone, she loves she tackles it with ease for the people that mean the most to her. I believe that my dad could have been a hero if only he was able to use his strengths for the greater good and not for solely his own benefit. He is not a hero because he let evil too much in and it clouds the aspects that could be great. That is why I believe that almost everyone can be heroes, but they are ultimately a product of what influences and inspires them.

  7. 1.) Most people think that myths are a thing of the past, but myths still play a big part in our lives today. I know personally that my parents would tell me myths in order to teach me life lessons. For example, a common myth my mom would tell me was Pandora’s Box. This myth is about a woman opening a box that releases all the evil into the world. My mom would tell me that because of this, I would now have to face a lot of hard, painful things in my life. I feel that these myths can teach the twenty-first century important lessons without people even realizing it sometimes.
    2.) Everyone can relate to having a tragic flaw in life. For example, my tragic flaw is overthinking. This usually puts me in a lot of bad positions. The idea of tragedy is sad, yet beautiful at the same time. No one wants to go through something tragic, but once you make it through, it’ll only make you stronger. Tragedy is part of life, and dealing with it is what makes us people. Tragedy teaches me that we are all human. We all have to go through these hard things.
    3.) I know this might sound really cliche, but I see my father as a hero. A hero is someone who is brave and strong. Someone that cares about the needs of others over themselves. He was always there when I needed help and he always put me before himself. A hero doesn’t have to have a cap. I think I see my dad as a hero because he would stand out compared to everyone else.

  8. 1) When I think of connecting “myth” to a particular moment in my life I immediately think of this spiritual experience I had. In Mexico there is this ritual called Temazcal in which you go into a sweat lodge, and you talk about your feelings while being around your loved ones and sweating because of the heat. This is a very spiritual experience in general, however I never thought that it would change my life so much. As humans we tend to take for granted things that do not seem shiny enough for us, an experience as simple as this sounds does not tend to peg for being life changing.
    I did this ritual a few months before moving to New Jersey, while being in the lodge we were surrounded by medicinal plants and there were rocks in the middle which created steam. While being there we talked about my life so far up to that point and what I was thankful for, it helped me get some closure on that life and those connections I had with people for so many years. I also set some goals for the new life I was about to begin and for the person I was going to become, I remember wanting to find who I truly was but also going through the normal human experiences such as making a lot of mistakes and slowly growing into the person I was meant to be. Being inside that lodge and letting out all my feelings made me feel whole in a way that I never thought was possible, it made me feel like I understood what I needed to do and how to naturally become who I was meant to be. To this day I still think about how my body and soul felt when I was in there, and just how much the cleanse I did in the lodge really helped me to become the best version of myself, not the perfect version because we all have flaws. A spiritual experience that taught me how to be patient and learn to be my true self is the most accurate example of “myth” that I have experienced, I think that myths have a lot of influence to this day because we tend to look for those stories that will show us how to be better or how to overcome the regular human obstacles, we all go through.

    2) Whenever we think of a tragedy in our own lives, we tend to go for things that seem very “simple” or unimportant, but I think that everyone goes through different things and all tragedies are as valid as any. I think that tragedies from the past tend to be all about death or romance and the mistakes that someone made by hurting others. Nowadays it still is that way, but most people’s tragedies don’t involve killing someone and getting repercussions. When I think of tragedy and connect it to my own personal experiences, I think of a time in which I have failed myself. I have always been into performing, and as a performer I tend to always strive for perfection, however most of the time that is very impossible. I had auditioned for a role that was very dear to me, I was very confident, and I did not get cast, we are taught to be strong and not let defeat bring us down, but I think we can only take so much failure before we break. This time really let myself down, I wasn’t scared of letting my family and friends down, but I was devastated that I had let myself fall and I didn’t do enough to get what I wanted. However, I did learn from this, and I was my own hero in this story, tragedies teach us that the world isn’t perfect and that you will fail but also that we are strong enough to be the heroes of our failures. There is no way of avoiding failure and of having to redeem yourself, tragedies are here to teach us that, and to give us that time to reflect on ourselves as well as our actions and learn to do better as much as we possibly can. I think that tragedy takes a toll on all of us, and I can say for myself that it has, maybe sometimes more than others, but they affect our lives especially because there’s so many different tragedies surrounding us.

    3) Hero- someone who is courageous, they face hard struggles, but they persevere and do as much as they can to be there for others. They fight against danger, and they use their strength to face it head on.
    When I think of a hero I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, most people would maybe think of Batman or Superman, or Wynonna Earp. But to be RBG is one of the strongest real-life heroes to exist. She fought for so many years and for so many people who were constantly in danger. Although we continue to face these issues, she made so much progress and helped so many women have the right to vote, get abortions, get jobs and be seen as the strong intelligent people that we are. She built so much from just being one of a few women in college who were constantly looked down upon by all the men. She took all that anger and judgment and turned it into something that helped millions of women all over the country. It didn’t just legally give us rights but also gave us the strength to be outspoken, do what we wanted to do and not just be told to get coffee and be assistants.
    A hero is someone who fights for others not just for themselves, someone who can see the wrongs of others and the world and has the courage to work hard and correct these injustices. Being heroic is about more than just saving the day, it’s about leaving a mark and creating real change that will truly help everyone, not just one specific group of people.

  9. I don’t have a myth that’s personal for me, but one that I could somewhat make a connection with would be Sisyphus and his eternal punishment. Sisyphus cheated death twice by outwitting the gods and received our modern-day nickname of “smart alec”. Once Sisyphus eventually gets caught, he gets his eternal punishment of having to push a giant boulder up a mountain and every time he reaches the top, the boulder goes down the other side and he is forced to push the boulder up and down for eternity. The way I can relate to this is because my dad is as we would say the “smart alec” of the family and his antics have slowly worn off on me. I’m no where near Sisyphus when it comes to outsmarting gods and having an eternal punishment, but thinking of all the things one could do, I could seriously get into some trouble.

    When I was younger, I had a big tragic flaw, and it was not thinking before I spoke. When I was younger, I would always blurt out what was on my mind and let my emotions take over instead of thinking rationally about what to say. This was especially bad around my parents where whenever I talked back to them, I would have my mouth rinsed with soap. By the time I realized what I had done, it was too late, and no amount of apologizing would make up for what I said. This can lead to people saying something offensive to someone, even if it’s not what they intended to do. Letting emotions dictate what actions you do can lead to confrontations that, if serious enough, can have drastic outcomes. It is hard to always think about what you are going to say before you do, but the key thing to remember is to build a sense of knowing who you can say and share certain things around.

    The heroes in myths, legends, and tragedies are very different from those in the modern-day. A hero is someone that is forced to overcome one or more major obstacles. The heroes in myths were known for fighting monsters, going on quests to save people, and finding the treasures of the gods. The everyday heroes we have go to work and have a meaningful job, and most people wouldn’t even recognize them because the fit in with the rest of the people. Also, there are the heroes in the military that protect our country from treats around the world. These are the modern-day heroes that most people would think of. A hero by the name of Desmond Doss in the American military saved 75 men from The Battle Okinawa in World War 2 by himself. While every other soldier had left the battlefield, he went looking for his comrades to save. Doss risked his life repeatedly in order to save as many as he could, and in doing so he was given the Medal of Honor. In 2016, a movie named Hacksaw Ridge was made to commemorate Doss as he passed away in 2006. This is a prime example of what a modern hero would be.

  10. 1) I don’t really have a myth that has a personal meaning to me. However, I know the movie Hercules has to deal with myths, and I remember watching that growing up. Hercules was the son of the gods, until he was snatched and brought to earth. Here he had to learn to use his strengths to get through live, and tackle all sorts of evils. This can give me a true understanding of mythology from a young age as it is a Disney movie. This movie however focuses on the supernatural and god like parts of mythology. While it also talks about strengths which I believe to be an important aspect of all myths.
    2) I think tragedy takes place in our daily lives quite often. Aristotle believes a tragedy is an imitation of an action which has a serious consequence at some point. We can see this in Oedipus which I feel like is a common example. In my life however, my tragic flaw is my shyness. It’s hard for me to speak up, and say whats on my mind. Due to this I tend to let people walk all over me, and take advantage. This can also be seen in Oedipus however he is more gullible rather than shy. This can help teach me self reflection, and help me get a better understanding on myself as a person.
    3) A hero is a central figure that can be an ordinary person. That being said I think we see heroes in our everyday lives. Some people see their parents as heroes or people they look up to. Even in todays day and age healthcare workers are very much hero. That being said I don’t think heroes have to be these well known people or someone who wears a cap. I think anyone can truly be a hero who fights their own battles daily. That being said I think my examples differ from Campbells. He sees a hero more as a story or a mythical element. I focuses more on the ordinary people in todays society.

  11. 1.) The mythological elements of the movie Coraline have played a key role in my life and most likely many others. To most people it may seem to be a creepy movie but the reality of it is the background/history of it.The movie is all about a young girl who does not want her family and hopes for a new one and when she gets the new family it ends up being a nightmare.This movie helped me understand that we can not take the things we have for granted.Personally, that is how i perceived the movie and its what taught me to love my life how it is because change can create disaster. Thus the connection to a myth is that the movie showed how to deal with that major conflict, the coping the character has to go through, and then the final result of it. In this case we know the disaster and how she copes but the ending is simply appreciating what we are given and what we have already.

    2.)Oedipus is the best examples of Aristotles theory. He experiences something he could not escape which was his tragic flaw. cursed with killing his own father and marrying his mother was his reasoning. Another connection is that Oedipus is that he was the good person everything he did was with good intent making him the tragic hero as well. tragedy is obviously a horrible thing most if not everyone experiences throughout their lives. Personally, tragedy makes me feel very upset and distraught but i also feel like it makes me a stronger person. If you can make through something tragic you are most capable of doing so much.

    3.) My hero is my mother. What makes her a hero is that no matter the time or the place she creates a safe environment for me and my family. She works hard and makes sure we have food and shelter at all times. My mother is someone who even on her worst days makes sure that everyone is happy and healthy. Most people see a hero as someone who saves the world and has supernatural powers but to me a hero is someone who fights day to day battles. Especially in recent days not even a superhero could fix it yet my mother is making everyday the best it could be.

  12. When I was younger, I had this fascination with all things paranormal and mythical. I used to read stories and articles about the mythical creature ‘the wendigo’. I used to watch a lot of videos with cruddy camera quality just to get a glimpse of what I thought could lead to more answers. The myths of spirits and ghosts running around burial grounds and apparitions making their presence known always fascinated me. I know that so many people find that stuff interesting, so I sometimes wonder why so many people seem to enjoy the unknown aspect of what we think could be out there, but also why the other portion of people seem too frightened of the unknown. I believe in myths being alive, but dying slowly. There are people out there that keep those stories alive orally and by pen and paper. I cannot say I have met a lot of people that keep track of myths or even believe in them all the time. It is like a dying tradition.

    I love Sweeny Todd. The movie is classic tragedy. The hero tries to be good after getting so much taken from him and ends up going crazy and killing a lot of people, ending his spree with his wife (unknown until after he kills her). As an audience, we almost feel empathy (well, maybe some do), but the majority of us look on the side of pity. He thought he was doing something right to fix the ‘eye for an eye’ concept, but he ended up really blowing it. Tragedy in my life is usually handled by some grief and then moving on- I try not to dwell on what I can’t control. I usually believe the world has good in it that is surrounded by human flaws that are unable to go away and leave. We can try to teach as we might but people will be people and cannot always agree.

    What is a hero? I count a hero as being someone who strives for doing something for others and being dedicated to the task of being selfless beyond the norm. I personally do not have any heroes that come to mind, but I know that in kindergarten we are all taught to say our family members so we can draw them a picture with crayons. I see heroes depicted as elevated members of society without ego or drama. Of course, Hollywood does a good job with the former of the two. I believe the older versions of heroes are better than the newer ones.

  13. 1. I have been an athlete for the majority of my life. And a common brand for athletes to buy their equipment from is Nike. When I became familiar with mythology, it was incredibly interesting as to how the company got its name. Nike is the Greek goddess and personification of victory. And the famous check mark logo resembles her wings, which are meant to resemble the speed and power of both the goddess and the athlete. After finding this out, it somewhat motivated me to give it my all in games and competitions. Nike as a company highlights the power and significance of myths in the twenty-first century since using the goddess of victory as your name could influence people to buy your product.

    2. One way that tragedy is present in my own life is bottling in negative emotions because I am afraid of being a burden to others. I can keep it to myself for some time, but eventually it all comes through in one giant wave. My tragic flaw is not only hurting myself, but it also has the capability to hurt the people around me. But a lesson I am trying to apply to my life is that it is healthy to let all of your emotions go, and that talking to someone about this will not be a hindrance to them. In one of my favorite films, Black Swan, Nina’s (the main protagonist) tragic flaw is her need to be perfect. And while she does eventually achieve this at the ending of the movie, it is at the cost of losing herself to the role. Nina faces her catharsis during the last ten minutes of the movie where she realizes that she did not harm her replacement, but rather herself since her sanity has been slowly slipping away. And in this state of catharsis, she performs the dance that she has been struggling with the entire movie flawlessly. Although her fate is left to be ambiguous to the viewer, she finally relishes in the thought that “it was perfect”.

    3. When people think of a hero, they will often think of a mythological figure like Achilles, or even a comic book character like Spider-Man. Both of these figures have great power, a moral code, and a sense of goodness that round them into the perfect image of an archetypal hero. However, both of them still possess humanlike qualities, and aren’t entirely invincible. In our reality, there are heroes present everywhere. Maybe it is the man who helped an eldery person before they could fall, or a doctor who saved the life of her patient. As unfair as this comparison is, both of these people was the hero to someone else. And the flaws they may possess in their personal life are still there, but that sense of goodness is there as well. A hero is human.

  14. 1) While I do not specifically relate to any one myth, myths and stories of that nature were a big part of my life growing up. From a very young age, my personality very much revolved around my affinity for Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and stories of that sort. I really enjoyed the stories and characters, especially some of the strong female archetypes that were established such as Hermione and Annabeth. When I was younger it was hard to find female characters to look up to aside from the princesses which I already knew so well and, upon further reflection, are often based around various myths as well.

    2) During the discussion of tragic heroes and the fall of the protagonist my first thought was Anakin Skywalker. In the prequel movies to focus falls on him as a protagonist, namely in the 2nd movie, as in the first he was a child only just released from slavery. He was told that he was not only too old to be trained by the Jedi but that if he trained he was fated to cause a lot of destruction. In the 2nd movie the audience sees Anakin grow and, despite objectively bad writing and/or acting, become likeable. The third installment in the prequel trilogy ends with him succumbing to his fatal flaw, hatred and anger, as he truly becomes Darth Vader. Through the original trilogy he is the primary antagonist until the final part where the catharsis takes place and he finally connects with his son and saves Luke from the Emperor, dying in the process. The flaws and fatal errors revealed in the protagonist and the near-inevitable death of characters typically found in a tragedy is always very shocking to me. It thoroughly emphasizes unpredictability of life and stories despite fate.

    3) Modern heroes and mythical ones take on very different physical challenges (fighting a literal monster vs. walking into a burning building) but face extremely similar mental ones. Most times these challenges involve some kind of self-sacrifice for someone or something else. Even within the categories of mythical heroes or realistic ones there are a lot of disparities. For example, Captain America chose to take the risk of trying an experimental serum to better fight for his country despite the long list of reasons he had to steer clear of joining the military. Iron Man on the other hand was kind of thrown into it when he had to rely on his intelligence and knowledge of weapons technology to save himself from a terrorist situation. Based on his firsthand experience, he then felt obligated to push hard against terrorism and war profiteering. Firefighters risk their lives going into burning houses while doctors work hard and train to save others’ lives and repair injuries.

  15. 1) When I was younger I would watch this show called House of Anubis. The show has concepts of Egyptian Mythology and I quickly became fascinated. Watching the show brought me to do my own research on the Egyptian Gods like: Ra, Anubis, Horus, Isis, etc. I still have the same fascination for ancient Egypt and its mythology. Egyptian myths were one of the first topics I became so intrigued with that I would research and read about it in my own free time. I believe that myths have the ability to allow others to explore their creativity. Especially when one is younger, being able to freely and confidently explore and learn about myths expands the mind and brings in room to wander the possibilities of limits in everyday life.

    2) Tragedy functions in my own life because I have my own issues that only I can solve. Whether they be large or small, completing my task is a means of catharsis for me – it allows me to rid my anxiety and any stress glooming over me. Another way it functions in my life is with my very own tragic flaw. While everyone has their own flaws, mine would be not allowing myself to receive help from others. In comparison to others that would be thankful and use their own mentors I typically push mine away saying “I can do it on my own”. It is not a sense of pride at hand more so just not wanting to be a bother. Tragedies make me feel nervous because there are small details within other stories that I can relate to, however being able to relate teaches us that we are not alone. Tragedies teach readers how to overcome obstacles and recognize the difficulty that an “adventure” may bring.

    3) I don’t think that heroes in myths and legends are all that different from heroes we see in everyday life. A hero is someone that stands above and helps another/their community even in the face of some sort of danger.There are everyday heroes all around us: a bystander that decides to stand up to a bully, or as simple as a student that is brave enough to raise their hand and ask a question that the whole class is scared to ask, etc. While heroes from myths and legends have their differences from everyday heroes such as: some might be extraordinary strong/god-like, a king, gifted a magical item/ability, etc, I believe that the principle of the hero remains the same. To compare the two we could compare Thor Odinson and Iron Man. Thor was born with his abilities and wields a magical item to help him, Thor is a God – the God of Thunder. Iron Man/Tony Stark was an ordinary man that climbed up in society and built a name for himself and then after an incident he built a suit of metal and used it to help others. Despite the fact that Thor was born with his magical abilities and that Iron Man is just an ordinary man under suit, they both have the same principle in their minds: to help people however they can.

  16. I believe that even though myths aren’t really prevalent in my life, they still play a role in today’s modern society. I think that one company that has really helped with that as well, would be Disney. Disney has retold many old stories including some myths like Hercules. Disney has been able to capture the attention of children for decades, with their whimsical storytelling of these magical worlds that we are captivated by.

    A story that fits Aristotle’s formula for tragedy would be Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Caesar’s fatal flaw was that he was too arrogant and ambitious, even when he was warned of his death to come he would inevitably meet his demise due to his flaw. This left him blind to the betrayal he would later face from his own men. This piece of literature, and all tragedies, teach us lessons of our flaws that make us human but that could also lead to our downfall and how we must learn from the mistakes of these characters. The stories are told in such dramatic and compelling ways, that just keep readers and viewers engaged until the very end.

    Comparing heroes of old myths and stories, to heroes of today can be very tricky, because in certain cases they are nothing alike, but they can also share similar characteristics. In the hero’s journey we see the hero struggle and go through difficulties leading up to the final challenge or fight that will deem them worthy. Generally, when we think of heroes we think of superheroes like superman or spider-man who will always be there to save the day and defeat the bad guy. Defining an everyday life hero would be firefighters, law enforcement, and emergency responders who risk their lives to save and protect the lives of others. These people are regular people who live regular lives, they don’t have any special powers or superhuman abilities to aid them on their journey.

  17. One myth that has affected me was the myth of La Llorona. “La Llorona” or “The Weeping Woman” wanders along canals and rivers crying for her missing children and takes away misbehaving children. As a kid, whenever i would misbehave; my uncles would tell me La Llorona would take me. This myth not only terrified me but disciplined me into not doing anything bad. The myth is still used on children today throughout many different cultures and religions.

    Oedipus Rex by William Shakespeare is a play in which we follow a man named Oedipus who has a tragic flaw of having too much pride. This tragic flaw ultimately leads to Oedipus’ downfall. Much like Oedipus, I have a tragic flaw as well. My flaw is procrastinating work until the due date. This eventually leads into my work being late and points being deducted. This “tragedy” makes me feel disappointed in myself for not doing the work earlier. This lightens my procrastination through the hardship.

    Heroes of Myth and Legend are in some way alike from heroes we see in everyday life. Heroes from myth and legend tend to have supernatural abilities. WIth these abilities, these heroes perform actions unlike any other to help out a community or a single person. For example, Spiderman is a superhero who swings on spiderwebs around New York saving people and stopping crime. Similar to this, in every life we have cops. Unlike Spiderman these cops don’t have any supernatural powers but they do go around stopping crime in a city. To be a hero means putting someone before yourself and helping them out in a subtle or drastic way.

  18. 1. I grew up going to church every Sunday with my family. In church we would talk about stories from the past and we learn from their stories. Religion is a type of myth because it deals with a supernatural being (God) and its stories told by people about people.

    2. In high school i remember reading the story “Oedipus Rex.” Which is a tragic story where Oedipus finds out he married and slept with his own mother and then later stabs his eyes out due to it. Personally I think my tragic flaw is being to nice to people and not saying no. When your to nice, people tend to take advantage of you for example picking up a shift at work one time to help someone and then they constantly ask you to pick their shift up and you don’t want to say no.

    3. I personally do not know much about superheroes but from my understanding, mythical heroes tend to have crazy superpowers such as flying or being invisible while everyday heroes are just everyday people who put others first. Humans don’t have crazy superpowers but it could seem like someone has a superpower just because of how amazing they are.

  19. When it comes to myths in my life, the first thing that comes to mind would be Santa Claus. Having two kids, i’m constantly telling them to behave or Santa won’t come. Having this mythical story of Santa shows how we still use this stories in today’s society and each month emphasize and cherish them.
    A play that fits the “tragic” modes defined by Aristotle would be Les Miserables. In the play, Fantine is working, trying to make ends meet to send money and support her daughter. After an argument breaks out between the workers and Fantine is thrown out, she ends up homeless on the streets. This then leads to her downfall, prostitution, selling her hair and teeth, and ultimately her death. A tragic flaw I have myself would be pushing people away. This flaw can lead to the loss of people in my life and the downfall of my support system. Tragedy shows how bad things can happen to good people, there’s really no way of avoiding it. It’s life it just happens, at some point everyone will experience it.
    My definition of the work hero, is someone who goes out of their way to help someone in need even if can hurt them in the end. The first one that comes to mind is in the movie Avengers: Endgame, Ironman died to save the universe from Thanos.

  20. I started getting into mythology my freshman year of high school. I was in my Creative Writing’s class & one day we started reading the Odyssey. At the time, I didn’t know or realize how interested I’d be in “mythical” creatures & beings. For me, this was the start of something great. As we read in the class, I began to pay closer attention to Penelope, known for her fidelity towards her husband. She’s married to Odysseus. They’re the perfect couple that everyone wants to be like. Which is very similar to today’s society. Everyone wants to be “goals”. People want you to look up to them & that lets role models know they’re doing something good. Role models don’t want to fall off their game so they’ll do anything to keep themselves at that high standard. Even when their decisions are morally wrong, most role models do it for attention or greed.

    Now, even though Penelope & Odysseus are the star couple, they do have downfalls. Their tragic story actually comes from outsiders trying to budge their way in. Not very surprising. Odysseus went away for a while & Penelope stayed back, here though suitors could take Penelope’s hand in marriage. Despite the fact that they knew she was already married. But Penelope stood her ground & denied the suitors. When Odysseus got back, they didn’t like him because they were jealous of what he had that they couldn’t. So, the suitors decided to retaliate & try to fight him. Because of this, Odysseus started to be upset with Penelope. He thought she did something to trigger then to behave like this, which obviously, wasn’t the case. So, long story short, outsiders who are jealous of what you have, always find someway to ruin what you have & cause it problems. Being the role model doesn’t always have it’s good days.

    Aside from Gods & Goddesses, a hero I love most is Elastigirl from The Incredibles. I look to her as a hero because she’s always doing more than she’s suppose to as a woman raising three kids while her husband is always busy. Three super kids at that. I. believe she defines as someone heroic because on top of her being a great mom, she uses her superpowers to keep her kids & the city safe from any danger.

  21. An experience I had where myth effected me was from the book “Unwind”. I read this two years ago and it shifted a view I had on a hot button political topic. This myth was about children who were unwanted or disappointments to be Unwound and have their body parts donated to people who needed them. This changed my opinion on abortion at the time (I don’t have a solid opinion of it now) but I was strongly pro choice before reading the book. After reading it, my opinion was changed.

    A myth about tragedy is from a show called Demon Slayer. A girl ran in front of her brother to protect him from an attack, and because of how touching that was she was kidnapped because her kidnapper wanted to have a “Loyal Sister” too. When she tried to escape she was restrained and cut all over her body as punishment and it was a scene that had me on edge and made me upset that that was happening. This was catharsis that I was having. She did not deserve to be in so much pain, it was because she risked her life for someone she loved. Tragedy makes me feel sorry and sometimes angry. This teaches me that even if someone is a good person bad things can happen to them as easily as someone else. Life is not always fair.

    A hero that comes to my mind is my bud Joseph Scola. He used to be a person that did not know social skills and did not function well in the world. Now he is a life coach with an instagram page that has taught me-and certainly many others-life skills. He is a hero to me because he has a passion for helping others by doing things that will impact other people and they will be able to make use of that advice for the rest of their lives.

  22. I grew up with religious grandparents and they were always telling more stories from the bible. They also would use superstitions to scare me into behaving and whatnot. Other than that, I can’t really think of any other times where myths directly affected the life I live.

    Some of the movies I have watched before were considered to be a tragedy, when you really look close. For example, Fruitvale Station, All the Bright Places, and a few more. Now that I think back on the storylines of these movies, it makes me realize that they follow that pattern of a “rather good man coming to a bad ending.” All of these movies provoked a feeling of pity and sadness within me. Tragedy teaches me that life just isn’t fair and that it can end when least expected. It shows you that tragic events can happen to normal people like me and you.

    The first hero I can think of is Katniss from the Hunger Games. For one to be heroic they must answer the call of adventure, fight a physical/emotional battle, succeed, and return. For Katniss, this looked like sacrificing herself to fight in the Hunger Games, winning, and coming back to District 12.

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