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Myth in Poetry. Myths: Systems of Symbolic Allusion. Mythology = stories and beliefs of a society Greek, Roman, Norse, Native American, others Mythological motifs and themes are common to many cultures. Carl Jung identified recurring images, characters, events in

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myths systems of symbolic allusion
Myths: Systems of Symbolic Allusion
  • Mythology = stories and beliefs of a society

Greek, Roman, Norse, Native American, others

  • Mythological motifs and themes are common to many cultures.
  • Carl Jung identified recurring images, characters, events in

his patients as archetypes (i.e., all humans share a universal

or collective unconscious)

  • Joseph Campbell, academic expert on myths (The Power of

Myth, The Hero with a Thousand Faces)

joseph campbell
Joseph Campbell
  • A set of images that are symbolic references to universal types, such as warrior, priest, mother, and king. When a poet uses an archetype, he or she can assume that the reader will make the association between that archetype and the characteristics commonly assigned to it.
  • These images have particular emotional resonance and power. Archetypes recur in different times and places in myth, literature, folklore, fairy tales, dreams, artwork, and religious rituals.
  • Some examples: the orphaned prince or the lost chieftain's son raised ignorant of his heritage until he is rediscovered by his parents, or the damsel in distress rescued from a hideous monster by a handsome young man who later marries the girl. Also, the long journey, the difficult quest or search, the catalog of difficult tasks, the pursuit of revenge, the descent into the underworld, redemptive rituals, fertility rites, the great flood, the End of the World.
retelling a myth leda
Retelling a myth--Leda
  • Leda And The Swan by William Butler Yeats
  • A sudden blow: the great wings beating stillAbove the staggering girl, her thighs caressedBy his dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
  • (This is not the entire poem, see poem on pg. 821)
  • (Note: Leda – mother of Helen of Troy)
landscape with icarus
Landscape with Icarus
landscape with the fall of icarus by william carlos williams
  • According to Brueghelwhen Icarus fellit was springa farmer was ploughinghis fieldthe whole pageantryof the year wasawake tinglingnear
  • the edge of the seaconcernedwith itself
  • sweating in the sunthat meltedthe wings' wax
  • insignificantlyoff the coastthere was
  • a splash quite unnoticedit wasIcarus drowning.
icarus by edward field
ICARUS by Edward Field
  • Only the feathers floating around the hatShowed that anything more spectacular had occurredThan the usual drowning. The police preferred to ignoreThe confusing aspects of the case,And the witnesses ran off to a gang war.So the report filed and forgotten in the archives read simplyDrowned, but it was wrong: IcarusHad swum away, coming at last to the cityWhere he rented a house and tended the garden.That nice Mr. Hicks the neighbors called him,Never dreaming that the gray, respectable suitConcealed arms that had controlled huge wings
  • Nor that those sad, defeated eyes had onceCompelled the sun. And had he told themThey would have answered with a shocked, uncomprehending stare.
in class writing activity
In class writing activity
  • Read Cinderella by Anne Sexton on pgs. 919-921. Answer the questions that follow.