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CLA204H1 Lecture Notes - Stheneboea, Tiryns, Greek Hero Cult

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Claesson Welsh

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Saga/Legend : ' Has a perceptible relationship to history, however fanciful and imaginative
Set in time beyond human history
Myths stand outside of historic time
Principal characters are Gods and Goddesses
The Hero usually has elements of the extraordinary linked to his birth and his childhood
He inevitably faces opposition of one sort from the beginning and as a result he must prove his
inherent worth by surmounting challenges of every kind
He is helped by one ally, divine, or human
He faces apparently insuperable obstacles, often must be accomplished through a quest
Adventurous conflicts with divine, human, or monstrous opponents
May also observe taboos
Death itself is the ultimate conquest, usually achieved by going to the underworld
Hero's success may be rewarded with marriage, political security, or wealth and power
Reoccurring Motifs:
Relationship to the human realm
Related to the history of humanity
Principal characters are humans, even though God and Goddesses often play a role
Purport and tell about events from human past are stories about heroes
Legends Chiefly:
Hierarchy: Olympians minor Gods; demigods; heroes; mortals
Setting: middle-earth
Has a helper (fellowship)
Falls under the power of an enemy
Goes on a quest to the end of the world/to the land of the dead
Magical objects (rings, cloaks, phial, the sword sting)
Returns home at the end of the quest (life of peace and solitude)
Frodo's Greek Heroic Features
Humble, filled with self-doubt about finishing quest
Not seeking glory, surprised when he himself volunteers
Humble: without the clear strength and surperior size of a Greek Hero
He fails in his Quest: "I have come.. Buy I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will
not do this deed. The Ring is Mine!"
Not like a Greek Hero in these ways:
MAY have a divine parent
Miraculous birth, but little is known of his childhood much of childhood spent elsewhere ("exile")
Physically imposing; great size and strength
Compelled to perform impossible labours (the "quest")
Falls under an enemy's power
Always bizarre events in the birth of the heroes
Example of a Hero: Frodo Baggins
The Greek Hero
Monday, October 25, 2010
10:08 AM
CLA204 Page 1
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