Myth Comparison Essay, Research Paper
Compare/ Contrast essayDecember 6, 1998Final Draft Comparison Essay Myths are one of the ways people attempt to explain the unexplainable. With the development modern technology the myth has been much less used. According to Webster’s college dictionary myth is defined as “A traditional or legendary story, especially one that involves gods and heroes and explains a cultural practice or natural phenomenon.” To me myths are a wonderful thing; they represent creativity and are a very good way to explain things to kids. Many myths also just make simply wonderful stories. They explain cultures, state of mind, and the lens that people of that place or time or of that culture see the world through. In the case of many of the myths, like the Greek and Roman myths is a key to the past. In J.F. Bierlein’s book Parallel Myths two stories that caught my attention with amazing similarities were Vertumnus and Pomona and Apollo and Daphne. These two wonderful love stories both have a beautiful young lady who is not interested in her pursuer. Another interesting section of the book was the poem in Part One, An Invitation to Myth. The poem is a description of myth by poet Robert G. Ingersoll. It is quite amazing how two myths from similar backgrounds could possibly be much alike. I often wonder how so many of the Greek and Roman myths could be so much alike. In many cases the stories appear almost exactly the same except the fact that the names were interchanged with the cultures. The two stories that caught my attention Hanenberg 2in the book were both love myths. The basic plot of both the stories are very similar through out most of the story but vary at the end. The first similarity that I happened to pick out that I thought was actually quite odd was that both of the young females in the book happened to wood nymphs. According to the J.F. Bierlein “wood nymphs are beautiful creatures that love the forest and avoid the open fields as a rule”(Bierlein 145). In most ancient myths that I have read I usually thought of the characters as people or a fictitious animal or monster created by the origin of the myth. Wood nymphs are a creature of the woods or a dryad. (Webster)
Although they are supposedly little creatures the myth makes it sound like they are human. A second similarity that I noticed was that the female main character in both of the stories did not really care about finding a man for the rest of their lives. Both of the ladies parents are scared that their daughters will never marry. In Daphne’s case she does not really care because she is “one of those free spirited women in mythology who was more interested in hunting and fishing than in her men”(Bierlein 146). She was simply too involved with nature. In Pomona’s story she is completely involved with the grapevines and apple trees that she so dearly loves. Many people came to see the beautiful lady but she just cared much more about her grapevines. The third point in the stories that were so much the same was that a young suitor instantly fell madly in love with the young lady. This happened in both of the two myths.The young suitor pursued their loves endlessly. But the ladies both dealt with the men doing everything to try to win the ladies over. The men went through a great chase for the Hanenberg 3women. This is where the two stories differ somewhat, which surprises me. Most of the stories were so similar. In Pomona’s case she is told by Venus “This is your true husband, it is ordained that you marry him”(Bierlein 145). She eventually falls in love with him after years of marriage. But in Apollo and Daphne after the chase she stops and her feet become rooted to the earth. The poem An Invitation to Myth is all about how myths are the key to the unknown. They help us to try to explain the unexplainable. It talks about the things we really do not understand and how we can better our knowledge on the subject. Myths are wonderful stories that use creativity and should never be forgotten.