Sample Essay on:
Joseph Campbell And The Functions Of Mythology

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Essay / Research Paper Abstract

A 5 page research paper that examines mythology as interpreted by historian Joseph Campbell. According to Campbell, mythology represents ancient intuitive understanding of certain archetypal or "elementary ideas" that still speak to the human condition even in modern times. The writer demonstrates how this fits in with the ideas of Carl Jung and Adolf Bastian. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

Page Count:

5 pages (~225 words per page)

File: D0_Campyth.doc

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Unformatted sample text from the term paper:

to scientific knowledge, by reading the work of historian Joseph Campbell, one soon gains new appreciation for the people of antiquity. Ancient mythology appears to be universally regarded in Western culture as na?ve misconstructions of scientific phenomena primitive attempts to explain the nature of reality based on simplistic stories rather then scientific information. Campbell demonstrates that this misconception is deeply and seriously wrong. Rather then being simplistic, Campbell explains how mythology represents ancient intuitive understanding of certain archetypal or "elementary ideas," In analyzing mythology, Campbell illustrates how myths in the modern world still perform the same four basic functions that they did in antiquity. The first function of a mythology is to "reconcile waking consciousness" to the deep mysteries of the universe, to see reality as it is (Campbell, Creative Mythology 4). In order to understand what Campbell means by this, consider this aspect of one of the "Mystery Religions" of ancient Greece the harvest is protected from the summer sun in underground silos waiting for the planting time in the fall (Campbell, Transformations of Myth 190). Essentially life waits underground in the realm of Pluto (Merlin in the Celtic stories) until such time that it will be reborn once again in the earth. The harvest story of Demeter and Persephone expresses not only the passing of the seasons, but also the whole drama of life, death, life that is such an intrinsic part of existence. The archetypal idea exists in the reality of the life-death cycle. By giving it expression in the Demeter-Persephone story, the ancient Greeks were illustrating Campbells second function. The second function is to take this understanding and translate it into an image understood by contemporary consciousness "to render an interpretive total image" (Creative Mythology 4). Just as the underground silos ...

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