Throughout recorded history, man has sought explanations for the various phenomena that occur in every facet of nature, and when no obvious answer is forthcoming, still a theory is often proposed. These explanatory theories, often taking the form of stories or chronicles, are usually linked to some sort of mysticism or divine intervention. By ascribing that which he does not understand to the gods’ will at work, man avoids facing up to his own lack of knowledge in a given area, and also draws comfort from assuming that the universe does indeed function under the guidance of divine beings. Thus the explanatory accounts that man crafts enhance his own security, quelling the fear of chaos that resides in everyone, and also providing a convenient means of constructing a religion based on such stories.
Nearly every culture throughout the ages has offered a veritable cornucopia of tales detailing the reasons behind the seasons, the sunrise, and all other occurrences in the natural world. These stories often form the backbone of the religious tradition that prevails within said culture, as most or all of them feature gods and goddesses crafting the natural world and everything on it in a certain image. The Iliad is replete with religious overtones, and is also considered a definitive account of ancient Greek culture. The Bible serves much the same purpose for the Judeo-Christian tradition, serving as a literary phenomenon, and also as a historical account. Both books purport that they are true stories, and the two serve as windows onto complex and dynamic cultures. By analyzing common thematic elements of both chronicles, seeking out the differences and the similarities, and p...
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Cohen, J.M. trans., Don Quixote by Cervantes. Penguin Books: N.Y., 1987.
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Mandelbaum, Allen. The Aeneid of Virgil. trans. Bantam Books: N.Y., 1985. 5th ed.
Ciardi, John. trans. Dante's Inferno. New American Library: N.Y., 1982.
Guillory, John. "Canon". Critical Terms for Literary Study. ed. Lentricchia, Frank and Thomas McLaughlin. University of Chicago Press Ltd: London, 1990.
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