Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Myths in the Everyday

Mythology has become a little bit of an interesting thing over the years.  Someone mentions it and you immediately think Greek and Roman gods and the stories they are associated with.  But it doesn't really end there. That mythology, and even things like Norse and Egyptian mythology, has permeated our everyday lives in ways we don't even realize.

For instance, people often use the phrase, "that's a little narcissistic."  We know that it refers to a person's vanity.  But did you know that it comes from the myth of Narcissus, a man so proud and completely in love with his looks that he fell in love with his own reflections?

Or what about if I were to say that "gummy bears are my Achilles heel?"  Commonly we know that it refers to a weak spot in our personalities, but the phrase actually comes from Greek Mythology.  Achilles was a great warrior, completely unbeatable because he had been dipped in the river Styx by his goddess mother.  Except for his heel, the place where she had to hold him by.  So it was the only place on his body that he could be hurt.  Even now, the tendon just above the heel of your foot is referred to as you "Achilles Heel."

I could go on for days ("Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" refers to the Trojan horse, "A Herculean effort" goes back to Hercules and his labors) but I would probably bore you before I got through even half of them.

Now we find Norse mythology showing up in pop culture.  One of the biggest movies of the year is based around Norse mythology: The Avengers.  Good old Thor and his friends and family are all Norse gods.

(Ok, so maybe part of me just wanted Chris Hemsworth in my blog.  Really, who wouldn't?)

Believe it or not, Marvel didn't just pull Thor and Loki and all their companions out of thin air.  They're all actually based on myths that exist.  The original creators of Thor just took an age old idea and ran with it and now we, the general public, a reaping the wonderfully (and might I add, incredibly good looking) benefits.

Mulan included Chinese mythology.  The Mummy included Egyptian mythology.  Even the Power Rangers had some mythology in it.

Now, I'm not saying you should use all these things as academic sources for your papers.  Obviously there's been a lot of creative license taken for the story.  I'm just showing you that mythology is not something that is stuffy and old and never used.  It's constantly in our lives, culture and speech.

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