Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all agree that there is both a paradise and a hell. They differ slightly on what paradise and hell looks like but that seems more like a perspective of the times that those paradises were written down in. These similarities even cross over to how each of the religions give access to paradise though some have different focuses. With Islam and Judaism the main focus in the books with the material provided is that every practitioner must devoted to god and the laws that have been passed down by him. While that is also a theme in Christianity, in fact Jesus’s last words as he goes up to heaven, Christianity also carries a much more highlight theme of forgiveness and mercy than what occurs in the Torah or Koran.
The four gospels were each written with a different focused audience in mind. Its easy to see this when the book of Luke 2 talks about how Jesus was found in a temple discussing theology with the temple masters. This type of exceptionalism that divine beings have is something thats a constant theme in many of the stories that occur throughout stories like the Iliad and Gilgamesh. It gives readers whose cultural background is from these types of stories something thats familiar to help them along with the more alien parts of the book. This type of familiarity is also shown in Luke 15 through the use of a story to get a message across. The use of that type medium is one that occurred in almost every single interaction between characters trying to communicate something in the Iliad and Gilgamesh. For example, Achilles uses the story of Niobe and her children to tell Priam how he must move beyond his grief and get on with his life after the death of his son Hector.
When it comes to the relationships that gods and humans have with one another with religions like those found in the Iliad it seems to be based around both exclusiveness and exceptionalism. This can easily be seen in the Iliad when the gods only interfere in the affairs of men when it comes to those who rise up above the masses through either their own actions or divine birth. The switch from that exceptionalism to a focus on repentance and mercy was a far more inclusive and accepting religion. These kind of changes allow an access for all to divinity for all rather than limiting it to a few.
Neither Media or Achilles are what I would call heroes because heroes are individuals that perform extraordinary deeds that serve others beyond themselves. Achilles is so consumed with himself that it prevents him from ever really becoming a hero. He often simply takes action due to how he feels which is what drives him to withdrawal from the war and get Zeus to put the Trojans on the winning side. Media on the other hand is driven to a very terrifying extent by both her stalker type love for Jason and her own perceived status among people. This explains why she has no problem killing her brother and her children without expressing any sort of regret. Which points far more to being a sociopath rather than a hero.
To perform the actions that Media took to take her revenge she definitely did break out of the role of the regular greek female. I’d say that taking that action is defiantly to be admired but it is transformed to become not something that would promote change but destroy the chance for it. This is because Media a strong capable woman is presented as having confronted with something that occurs in greek society like the discarding of her marriage. With her reaction to this being to kill everyone who is involved in her life except for Jason. Starting with her own children and ending with burning to death her husbands wife and new father in law. Thats pretty terrifying and does not say that if you let a woman be an individual good things happen and this should be encouraged. Instead it says that if you let women be smart and capable they will be sociopaths and kill everyone who so much as says no to them. Which I don’t think is a very welcoming message for part of human society.
Job accepts the Yahweh’sassertion of divine power because it provides perspective. He gains this because Yahweh starts to describe the entirety of creation from the center of the earth to the birth patterns of an antelope. Which allows Job to see beyond himself and consider his condition compared to the rest of creation. Seeing beyond himself in this manner shows Job how inconsequential he is and this is what quiets him.
I do find the end of the dialogue between God and Job satisfactory. I feel this way because at the end of the dialogue it becomes more than Job complaining about his life. Instead it steps into a perspective into life showing how the ancient jews attempted to explain why bad things happen to good people. Showing that you aren’t the center of creation and sometimes there are things that are happening in the world that prevent your desires from coming first.
Achilles and Hector both have entirely different relationships with their fellow countrymen than the other. Hector’s relationships tend to have a smooth unity to them thought the story. He only seems to ever face conflict from either fellow soldiers calling him back to battle or his own family wishing him to stop fighting. This allows the relationships that Hector has to be one of the his major sources of strength in the story and one of his main drives to fight.
In contrast Achilles’s relationships with his fellow Achaeans seem to be a hodgepodge of close friends and hated allies. With a large part of the relationship that Achilles has with these people seeming highly dependent upon how Achilles status is perceived. Causing Achilles to take actions that force the Achaeans to continue to rely on him like asking his mother to talk to Zeus about flipping the direction of the war. Which shows that the dependence of the relationship is felt on both sides.
Hector and Achilles seem to have a very indirect relationship. They both rarely seem to mention one another beyond a few passing lines but both regard the other as a significant part of the war. Achilles seeing Hector as the only challenge that the war may offer him. While Hector sees Achilles as a force of nature that will crush him that he must still find an answer to.
After Achilles enters his berserker episode he is brought back to balance by Priam. Priam does this by risking his life and entering the Achaeans camp with the guidance of Hermes. Achilles is so surprised and impressed by this that when he first sees Priam he asks Priam if he is a god. The courage and love for his son that Priam shows when he does this reminds Achilles of his father and Patroclus and units them in grief. With Achilles transformation communicating that you have to move beyond grief and go on with life. As soon as Achilles realizes this he passes this on to Priam with the story that he tells him about Niobe and her children. Showing that even though the gods killed all of her children Niobe exhausted from grief had to continue to eat. This little tale signifying that even when grief cripples you you must remember to live on.
Sadly the Warrior code and the Familial code, at least when it comes to the greeks, is not mutually exclusive. This is because to have a family you have to at the very least be able to prevent your family from being taken from you. That means that in those times you had to be able to fight and fight well which is where the code of the Warrior came in. Its easy to see this play out with the talk Hector has with his wife Andromache about the worry he faced when the greeks would enslave her. Which to prevent demanded his attention as a warrior for if he did not fight for his family who would.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu both undergo heroes journeys and transformations throughout the tale. They change throughout the tale becoming greater than what they were due to the experience of successfully completing their trails. The difference between the two is how they grow and change throughout the story. Sometimes experiencing the same type of growth and sometimes learning entirely different lessons than the other.
Enkidu’s heroes journey consists of two separate journeys where he completes the cycle both times. The first time Enkidu starts his cycle through the heroes journey is when he meets Shamhat and the shepherds. Causing him to start his break from his old lifestyle and get his call to adventure when he hears about the behavior of Gilgamesh. Leading him into his first challenge with the wresting match against Gilgamesh. When he is defeated it starts a period of growth as Enkidu goes through the cycle of revelation, transformation, and atonement. Which is shown as Gilgamesh and Enkidu become friends and Enkidu becomes able to join society becoming greater than his old self. Enkidu then goes through his second heroes journey when he finds out that he is going to die and begins the process of accepting his own death. As Enkidu realizes that he is going to die and he curses Shamhat and the Hunter for starting him on his first heroes journey. He then is challenged by Shamash who tells him that without those two he would have never met Gilgamesh. Which leads him into a revelation about how his life has changed for the better. He then blesses Shamhat and seems to accept his death. Completing his final heroes journey and period of growth.
Gilgamesh starts his heroes journey after he meets Enkidu and becomes Enkidu’s friend. They then go through the trials of killing Humbaba and the bull of heaven. Then as soon as Enkidu dies he enters the preverbal abyss with his newfound fear of death and his way of escaping that fear with the pursuit of immortality. With the true moment of transformation occurring when Gilgamesh realizes that the achievement of immortality does not require violence and death. This is a complete change from how Gilgamesh has behaved to solve problems throughout the majority of the tale. Leading Gilgamesh to several realizations about himself and causing him to make his way back to Hurk when he fails the tests of immortality.
All of the four functions of Mythology are touched upon in different manners throughout the story. The change from child to adult to awaiting death is shown with the growth that both Enkidu and Gilgamesh both go through. First in their breaking away from their more primitive behaviors and then the dealing with their own approaching deaths. Answering the question of the place of humans in the universe is told by Utanapishtim’s survival of the flood. Which lead to a change of the gods attitudes towards the total annihilation of humans after ensuring a place for them on the planet. A feeling of belonging is shown most potently by Enkidu as he leaves his animal friends. Causing loss of his feeling of acceptance for a time until he builds his friendship with Gilgamesh and finds a home in Hurk. As for mystery, it is discovered as both Enkidu and Gilgamesh embark upon the next part of their journeys. For if there was no mystery there would be no need for them to go.
When Gilgamesh’s journey ends he did not gain anything of material value that he did not finally lose at the end of his journey. Instead by the time that he has completed his travels he has learned that even he, a being two thirds a god, has limits and will die. Discovering these things about himself changed Gilgamesh for the better. Causing him to write down his story on the city walls when he gets back to Uruk so that he may both gain a measure of immortality let others learn from his trials.
A film that reminds me of the heroes journey is The Wizard of Oz. The journey begins with Dorothy’s call to adventure when she is forced to leave her home in order to save her dog Toto. She then enters her departure when she meets a fortune teller who tells her that her aunt is ill. Which causes her to rush home and get caught up in the tornado that carries her to Oz. Leading to another forced departure down the yellow brick road after Dorothy discovers that she landed upon the Wicked Witch of the East in her arrival.
Upon her arrival Dorothy gains aid from two sources and also two objectives from those sources of aid. The first bit of help that she gets is a pair of ruby slippers from the victim of her transportation into this new world. The slippers give her the objective to be killed by the Wicked Witch of the West. Which causes another witch, Glinda, to appear and send Dorothy off to find the man who may be able to bring her home.
The film continues along this vein. With mentors and helpers appearing in the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin woodsman, and Dorothy herself. Each of the characters beginning their own heroes journey and alternating between the roles of mentor and helper for each other. These ties also lead directly to most of the challenges that each of the characters face. Like when the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Woodsman face their fears and attempt to rescue Dorothy from the Wicked Witch of the West.
Many points in the film play directly to the stages of the journey as described by Joseph Campbell. Its seen through the call to adventure that each character experiences as they gather up the courage to leave their home in order to gain something from the Wizard of Oz. The road of Trails that the characters go through together on the way to meet their goals. Then in the end of the movie as Dorothy goes through the crossing of the return threshold when she wakes up in her bed changed by her journey. While the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Woodsman take the final step of their journey by undergoing the freedom to live. With the Wizard of Oz pointing out that they had what they were searching for all along.
As to whether or not the Wizard of Oz is a film that uses the general formula of the heroes journey well I think can be answered in two ways. Through my own personal opinion which is a firm yes. Then by how well the movie has stood the test of time considering that many people are still watching and analyzing this movie to this day.
When it comes to if todays current cinema is meeting all four functions of mythology I think it depends on the individual person. I say this because everyone interprets a movie differently based upon their own life experiences and whether or not they can relate to the story being told by the film. Its very easy to see this type of thing when if you were to compare the reactions of a very faithful christian to an atheist who both watched the movie Heaven is For Real. Either of those two individuals would be able to see that movie and experience all four functions of mythology or none of them. The difference between the two is how they would interpret the elements of mythology played throughout the movie depending their own outlook on life.
The only difference that I can see between many of the films being created today and many of the movies of the past is time. When I say time I don’t mean how movies can show their age but that the majority of the population and the film critics have had the time to sort out the brilliance of films like Groundhog Day from whatever else was released that year. Movies that are able to stay in people minds to that amount of time tend to be able to satisfy the same storytelling traits that many old tales have. Like the journey of the hero and the four functions of mythology. So when all of the new movies being created in this day and age are viewed to see if they have these traits in a well told form. It might take a little time to see if they are to be judged worthy of joining the ranks of many other great pieces of cinema.
Hello everyone my name is Nelson Crockett. I’m taking this class because it is required as part of my major and the online version works out with my schedule this year. I grew up here in Alaska in a native village called Brevig Mission. Then as soon as I finished with high school I joined the army as a combat engineer. I stayed in for 3 and a half years with one tour in Afghanistan.
While I’m taking this class I looking forward being able to take a look at the types of stories that have been passed down over several centuries among several different cultures. I find being able to take a look at this type of literature to be very interesting. Mainly because it shows both some of the ideals of a society and its imperfections.