The Importance Of Classical Mythology

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Millenia after their creation, classical mythology continues to intrigue and inspire; Greek and Roman (and even Norse) figures and stories directly appear in the contemporary works of Rick Riordan, Jennifer Estep, Neil Gaiman, and Shelly Laurenston. Additionally, references and allusions to classical mythology frequently are and have been used in unrelated works for emphasis. The enduring strength and power of these myths is due not only to their divine and heroic feats, but also to the connection the audience can form with characters who don’t have happy endings, but suffer as much and often more than ordinary mortals. Thomas Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor, devotes an entire chapter of his book to the employment of classical mythology connections as a method of adding depth to a piece. However, he also frequently draws on Greek mythology to illustrate his claims in a variety of chapters, including “Flights of Fancy” and “Never Stand Next to the Hero.” In doing so, Foster by no means is exhaustive as a plethora of classical myths, such as those found in Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, may be used both to bolster and qualify Foster’s assertions. In the aforementioned “Flights of Fancy,” Foster utilizes the tale of Daedalus and Icarus to introduce the significance of flight (and plummet) in human culture. Another myth which complements several of Foster’s subsequent observations about the meaning of flying and falling in literature is that of the Greek

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