Why Study Mythology

9 th Grade English – Mr. Fusco
 Mythology: the study of myths.
 Myth: stories that have been handed down from
generation to generation, often verbally, in a given
 Myths are often created in order to try to explain
some mystery of nature or of human behavior.
 Myths began as religious stories, and many of them
prominently feature gods and goddesses.
 Over time they have lost their religious significance,
yet they still remain excellent tales.
 Today we read ancient myths for this quality –
storytelling – rather than their religious significance.
 1) The myths of a society
tell us a lot about its
people: their thoughts,
beliefs, fears, hopes, and
 HISTORY can tell you facts about a society, but MYTH
shows you their personality – their thoughts, beliefs,
fears, and hopes.
 Relying only on only HISTORY to tell you about a
people is like reading someone's driver's license
instead of meeting him or her face-to-face.
 2) The myths of a society
help form that society’s
culture, and helps shape
the culture of future
CULTURE (noun): the intellectual and artistic
ability, and the works produced by it, in a
particular society.
Myths not only tell us about the thoughts, fears,
feelings, and beliefs of the societies that created them
– they also, like any type of art, help shape the culture
of those who tell the myths.
 Many of the stories –
books, movies, poems,
television shows, plays,
etc. – that we enjoy today
are in some way shaped
and informed by the
myths of the past, and
even some of today’s
religions share many of
the same stories that
appear in ancient myths.
 As you read myths from ancient civilizations, it also
causes you to think of your own culture. What stories
are we leaving behind for generations to come? What
do we value? What mark are we leaving on an everchanging world?

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