Monomyths within Ancient Societies Essay

Monomyths within Ancient Societies Essay

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Have you ever wondered what the seemingly different societies of the Anglo-Saxons, ancient Greeks, and ancient Indians have in common? All three of these societies wrote epics that use the concept of a monomyth in the various stages through their stories. According to the American mythologist Joseph Campbell “The standard path of the mythological of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rights of passage…” (Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth) is a monomyth. Different parts of a monomyth that describe a series of events in a character throughout a story include the ordinary world (what life was like before the story), crossing the threshold (the character leaving for a battle, adventure, etc.), the call to adventure (what caused the character to leave), mentor (who assists them in their journey), and reward (what do they receive as a result of their actions). Although epics differ between the ancient societies in which they came from, the cycle that the character takes will be similar in many ways throughout the story.
The ordinary world is an important beginning for all stories, as it shows what the main character’s life is like before the book, and gives readers a glimpse of their personality and more importantly, the values that are most important to them. The poem Beowulf depicts the ordinary world of Beowulf, stating that, “…Beowulf, Higlac’s Follower and the strongest of the Geats – Greater and stronger than anyone anywhere in this world…” (Beowulf 26). The poem later goes on to describe prior events, such as the race with Brecca, that show his honor. Achilles’ personal character from The Iliad is shown from a series of other pieces of Greek Literature preceding this story and shows that, “Achilles distingu...


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...to see that within all of those big differences are many similarities. This includes things such as the occurrence of different series of events, the actions that the main character will take throughout the story, and the traits that people from those societies honor within a hero. All of stages of the cycle that the hero takes produces similar stories within societies without the realization of it.



Works Cited

“Beowulf.” Elements of Literature 6th Edition Ed. Kylene Beers, et al. Austin, Tx: Holt, 2009. 23-49. Print.
Hunter, James. “Achilles.” Pantheon. Encyclopedia Mythica, 30 November 2005. Web. 8 March 2014.
“Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.” Berkley. Web. 8 March 2014
“Ramayana.” The Language of Literature Ed. Arthur N. Applebee, et al. Boston: McDougal Littell, 1983. 130-140. Print.
The Iliad. Trans. W.H.D. Rouse. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. Print.

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