Study Help Essay Questions


1. Discuss the differences between pure myth, heroic saga, the folk tale, the romance, and the symbolic tale. Give an example of each type.

2. Why do men give human traits and motives to the gods?

3. Are gods usually personified natural elements, such as fire, water, wind, etc? Or are they beings that manipulate nature?

4. From what cultures do these gods come? Mars, Ishtar, Indra, Gaea, Ra, Thor, Marduk, Set, Vishnu, Odin, Pan, Janus.

5. Give the Latin names of these Greek gods: Cronus, Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Ares, Hestia, Hermes, and Persephone.

6. What does the Greek account of the creation show about the Greek character?

7. Compare the Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, and Norse accounts of the creation.

8. Explain Zeus's amorousness in terms of Greek values.

9. Account for the individuality and specialization of the Greek gods. What happened to these gods when Rome took them over?

10. Which heroes are associated with the following monsters? Medusa, Grendel, the Harpies, Polyphemus, the Minotaur, the Hydra, Khumbaba, the Chimaera, Fafnir the dragon.

11. Show how the following heroes reflected the values of their respective civilizations: Osiris — Egypt, Gilgamesh — Babylonia, Rama — India, Heracles — Greece, Beowulf — Norse, Launcelot — medieval.

12. Take three Greek heroes and show their differences and similarities. How does their character affect their destiny?

13. Show the different themes that run through the Greek tragic dynasties and indicate their significance. Use the stories as evidence.

14. What unity does the tale of the Trojan War have, if any? Discuss the importance of this tale to the Greeks.

15. Why was conflict so pronounced in Greek myths and culture?

16. How was the patriotic legend valuable to the Romans?

17. Explain the Roman preoccupation with love. Use examples. What does such a preoccupation often indicate about a culture?

18. Discuss the importance of warfare in Norse myth.

19. In Arthurian legend what is Logres? Show how it operated as a communal ideal in Arthur's court.

20. Imagine yourself a thousand years in the future. Write a myth or legend of our era as it might evolve. Take the Kennedy dynasty as an example and treat it in a mythical vein.

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