In the past and modern literature, myths are widely used in short stories, poetry, and in novels. In Oedipus, the story is about a king (Oedipus) who killed his father and married his mother. According to the story, this foretold event resulted from a prophecy by an oracle told to King Laius. The King took precautionary measures, but the prophecy was already in place and had to be fulfilled. The story becomes a myth when Oedipus dies and is swallowed into the earth, then becomes the guardian hero of the land. Other Greek myths include stories of Zeus, Odyssey, Athena, Apollo, Heracles, and Atlas. All which explain the world’s supernatural phenomenon (Oedipus par.3).
Myths are used in stories, or in poetry to explain the origin of natural occurrence, history of the people and customs. Therefore, the paradox of myths is that they are not factually exact. In the case of Oedipus, though it looks untrue that the earth swallowed the king, and he became the guardian of the land, his tale entices and creates a desire for the audience to listen (Dowden 2). Mythology plays an important role in the stories with its origins ranging from different aspects of life. For example, they are used to show hyperbole, historical events, explanation of prevailing rituals, as well as personifications of ordinary events such as climate (Dowden 2). Individuals who subscribe to myths may well express their acceptance of it by asserting its truth and therefore myths cannot be termed as false.
Although seen as lies by most individuals, the use of myths is to entice the readers or listeners of the story or a poem, its foundation is to lure and not to stray the story’s audience. In other cases, the use of myths was to teach and to encourage individuals in their daily partaking. For example, most of the Greek myths are from stories that show might and courage in individuals that sought to change the world. Such story example Hercules are meant to display strength, fruits of perseverance, as well as courage among men (Dowden 2).
In modern society where Christianity and other religions are the dominant factors, the understanding the explanations of natural events, as well as origins of people, are seen as just stories. Today’s religions cover mythological concepts, introducing one God, who is the creator of everything in the world, thus rubbishing any tale that makes men gods’ and tries to explain supernatural events (Dowden 2). Modern works of poetry, short stories, as well as novels use these Greek myths as mere stories in works of fiction rather than on realistic grounds. Myths may appear as false and at times not wholly true, but they have the power, which surpasses their inaccuracy and at times depends on it. For Christians, the birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary might be seen as mythical; however, one cannot say the story is untrue because it has some truth in it (Dowden 2).
According to Hamilton, when these stories were being formed, imagination was not that sharp and little distinction was made between the real and unreal. In that era, imagination was vividly alive and not checked by reason or logic (Hamilton 3). In addition, the two (logic and reason) were to some extend a far-fetched ideology thus they created stories and believed in them. These stories explained to others the natural and supernatural events that were unexplainable. Myths create the prospects of traveling back to the ages where little is known of, and Knowledge of them romanticizes the desire for the reader or listener. Primitive men associated things and events with gods reacting to certain issues that occurred in the universe (Hamilton 4).
Dowden, Ken. The uses of Greek Mythology. London: Taylor & Francis e-library, 2005. Print.
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York, NY: Warner Books, 1999. Print.
'Oedipus - Greek Mythology'. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ancient-mythology.com/greek/oedipus.php>