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CLAS 203
Margaret Palczynski

CLAS203 Textbook Section 1 Notes  There are three types of myths: divine myth, legend, and folktale  Term myth is hard to define. Greek word ‘mythos’ means “authoritative speech,” “story,” or “plot.”  A definition widely agreed on is that myth is a traditional story with collective importance  Myths should have a plot, a narrative structure (beginning, middle, and end), characters, and setting  Traditional story is one that has been “handed over” orally from one storyteller to another without writing (‘trado’ = “hand over”)  Myths’ have ‘collective importance’ – myths hold meaning for the group, not just the individual  Since myths are anonymous, Plato eventually came to contrast mythos, “story” or “myth,” with logos, “account”. The teller of a logos takes responsibility for the truth of what is said  A logos is a reasoned explanation of something that will emphasizes a continuing causal sequence, as in the proofs of plane geometry  Divine myths are stories in which supernatural beings are the main actors o Explains why the world, or some aspect of it, is the way it is o Sometimes supernatural characters are little more than personified abstractions without clearly defined personalities. (Nike = “victory) is just an abstract concept  Legends (sagas) are stories of great deeds of human heroes or heroines o Narrate the events of the human past o Comes from Latin legenda “things that should be read” o Whereas divine myth is set in a different or previous world-o
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