• gods and other supernatural beings with special powers
• supernatural events and settings
• a lesson about life or human nature
Myths may also explain the origins of natural phenomena, such as volcanoes or constellations, or warn against the consequences of human error. Often, myths reveal the values that are of greatest cultural importance to a society, such as honesty, cleverness, and moderation, which means acting within reasonable limits. Myths were used to guide ancient people’s behavior in a way that reflected these values and beliefs.
* A myth shows the values of a culture.
Watch the short video below on Greek Myths (Mythology)
What do you need to know?
A myth is a traditional story
- that attempts answer a basic question about human nature or the natural world.
- in which, events occur that cannot happen in real life
- where characters have unusual or supernatural powers
- that shows the values of a culture.
A theme is a message about life or human nature that a writer shares with the reader. An example of a theme might be “beauty fades” or “greed can lead to ruined lives. ” Authors might state a theme directly. More often, however, a reader must analyze the story events and characters’ actions to infer, or make logical guesses about, the theme.
A myth often contains more than one theme, and often the theme reflects the cultural values of the society in which the myth was first told. By analyzing the behavior of mythic characters in unusual situations, we can learn lessons about the traits that mattered to a culture. This chart provides helpful questions for determining a myth’s likely themes.