Theories of Myth Hum 105

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 855

Words: 1111

Pages: 5

Category: Philosophy and Psychology

Date Submitted: 03/25/2011 09:25 PM

Report This Essay

Theories of Myth

A child asks, “Mommy, where do babies come from?” The mother responds, “Why the stork delivers them my dear.” Thus begins and ends what is perhaps one of the greatest myths of all times. As people grow in age and education, they learn that babies come from mother’s wombs and not from storks. The question of where do people come from remains however, and from the beginning of known human time stories of mankind’s origin passed from one generation to the next. Stories vary between cultures and range from people being formed from ground corn to humans instantly appearing because of the spoken word of a god. Some of these stories, known as creation myths transformed over time and later became the basis of some of the world’s religions. As mankind evolved people began to question the myths themselves and devised theories that they could use in attempts to prove, disprove, or understand the meaning behind the stories.

The euhemeristic myth theory discusses myths as though they were created as a means of explaining daily natural life occurrences to people who lack the intelligence necessary to comprehend the reality. Euhemerism also states that the myths may also be accounts of history embellished through the generations of storytelling. Most of the time, these actions come at the behest or through the working of a god or other supernatural life form. The structural approach attempts to take an objective look at myths through the structure of the language to discover how myths work. Structuralism looks for basic patterned relations or codes over a broad spectrum of myths. Structural theorists use those patterns or codes that contain polar oppositions to determine the underlying base of the myth. The psychological approach contends that all myth emanates from the collective subconscious of the individual societies as a means for the society to further the understanding of itself. Psychological mythologists also believe that myths are how a society...