Essay on Myths and Heroes: Why People Needed Them?
Since the beginning of time, humans have tried their very best to give logic to the world around them. Logic not in the sense that they desired the truth of the matter, but anything that would offer them a false comprehension that would lead their lives a linear path. The masses do not enjoy the realization that how massive and unknown the universe is and thus it is much easier to look towards a comforting lie or sympathetic tale that leaves the individuals at the receiving end that more content with their current existence. Humans as a species are creatures of habit, as such, they are not content with the cluttered nature of the world around them. Hence, the constant desire and attempts to morph the world to one’s frame of logic, to ignore the simple truth of weakness that is a staple of human nature. Such is the origination of myths and heroes like demigods. In this paper, the research is focused on the history and the current influence of myth/folklore in the realm of human existence.
Though there are minor differences between a myth and folklore, the commonality among them is always tilting towards the vocal narrative. Usually of unknown origin, unless from religious texts, these are traditional legends passed down from generation to generation in cultures that had a need for the moral peril shown in the story. There are often accounts of supernatural elements within the lore and at times are on the side of evil. As such, there can be a bit of confusion as to what is what, however, a variance can be pointed out when looking towards the subject and relevance of the tale at hand (Detienne, Marcel, and Cook 34). While the myths are often tales of conquering and conquest, folklores revolve around the existence of the unknown. There are also cases of the symbolic journey to the moral or political triumph in both however there will be the religious and cultural undertone difference respectfully.
Where myths are more focused on near impossible tasks performed such as Hercules and the 12 labors performed, folklore would look towards more cultural influenced stories that aim to heed rather than to project greatness such as the case with the “Kappa,” which translate to the “river child” (Eiichirô, 3).
Even so, the following is an oversimplification of the two as there are many disagreements and variants in regard to the characterization and the affiliations shared among myth and folklore (Detienne, Marcel, and Cook 34).
Sharing its geneses with theatre, the world of mythology was found in ancient Greek culture. The people of Greece and the culture originated between 120,000-10,000 B.C (Detienne, Marcel, and Cook 23). The English word is derived from the term mythos within the Greek language which referred to the practice of vocal narration.
The stories usually dealt with topics such as death, the afterlife, culture, gods and devils, creation and existence. Other civilizations that have contributed heavily to the world of mythology are the Roman Empire and the Old Norse Religion. Looking back we can see that the exact heritage of the myth cannot be traced easily as the primary means of preservation of the said tales was through human memory. It was, for the time, believed that verbal information was the purest form of conveying information, thus it the ear of preservation came there was a lot of information lost.
Both Myths and Folklore often times do not have a name to thank for their existence, some historians even believe that many myths and lore was the creation of multiple individuals offering their own input as is the case with the works of “Homer” (Detienne, Marcel, and Cook 30).
The Kappa was said to be creatures that resembled huge man frogs, there were said to inhabit the ponds and rivers in Japan. It was said that the kappa had magical powers that could be used for both good and evil, however, they chose the dark path.
There were seen as a kind of Suijin, a race of water deities, usually found in freshwaters. The more violent things that the Kappa was known to do were drown people, livestock, rape and abduct children (Eiichirô, 10).
The origins and their overall behavior point that these creatures were used as an excuse to keep disobedient children afraid and away from going towards any deep rivers or ponds as to save them from drowning. This legend offered the perception that even if they knew how to swim, they would still be at the mercy of the Kappa. As such the children would stay away from such rivers that were rumored to be inhabited by Kappa and also avoid bad behavior. One can consider the Kappa to be the Japanese alternative to the “Boogieman” (Eiichirô, 5).
Coming of modern times, the more imminent threat to kids in the states revolved around child abductions and rebellion seen it be a desirable trait to have. With the combination of the two, there is much danger to kids, especially to the children that live around areas where there is thick forest. As such an urban legend was born about a slender man that roamed around the woods one who would come for anyone that happens to take something from it, usually pieces of paper that have scribblings on them or just happen to see it. According to the physical description of the creature, it is always depicted as a tall, over 7 feet in some cases, a slender humanoid that has extremely pale skin and lacks any physical features. The origin of the slender man was a Creepypasta forum that is a website online that offer people a platform to create, share and rate Urban legends (Boyer, 255).
It is not difficult to see that the myth came as a response to the knowledge of child abductors and molesters who are usually as faceless as the creature and have a normal appearance as symbolized by the black sophisticated suite, usually a three or two-piece, worn by the creature.
Both the Kappa and slender man are entities that reside where kids should not go, furthermore these tails emphases the importance of looking to strangers as a potential threat. Being aware of the dangers one has to face from the surrounding area is also an aspect that the two shares, falling into a river and getting lost in the woods, both are such cases where the results are not going to be in the favor of a small child.
Both legends have the creature possess such abilities that can make them almost undetectable if the so desired. Kappa is considered as a water deity and by some water demons while the slender man is to have the ability to appear out of thin air right behind the individual it is on the hunt for. Both are more than capable of sneaking up on unsuspecting victims and in both cases, they cause even greater harm than adults, perhaps to make the kids understand the limitations of the level of protection an adult can provide against nature or a predator (Boyer, 260).
Myths, folklore and urban legends are born out of an uncurious evaluation of the current society. Therefore, most of them represent the moral and physical conflicts that were prevalent at the time. As such, they become that more interesting for both people that belong to the ear and future generations looking back at their history and culture.