Essay is Used to Express

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This essay is used to express what I’ve learned and how the readings and specific texts have helped me understand mythology, along with my overall experience in English 2230. I first wanted to start off with how the class did not end up exactly how I expected it to. This semester I’ve been quite unlucky in the manner of health. I was nonetheless excited to learn more about the subject but was slightly limited because of my low immune system and allergic reactions. But thankfully my teacher has given us a great opportunity, he has recorded each lecture and posted them online, this action has helped me in more ways than imaginable.

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In this class, I did not miss out on any story because I had the advantage of listening to the recordings at home and wherever is necessary, which also can be used as a great study tool. Personally, I would rather listen to a lecture versus reading only, I feel like I understand the emotions and feelings of the story more when it is being told by someone who knows it rather than reading for the first time with slight confusion. I did come to learn that reading the story first then listening to the lectures helped me better grasp the story line of each text. I have thoroughly enjoyed expanding my knowledge in a subject that I never thought I would study. I mainly signed up for this class because one of my very good friends took a mythology class at the University of Utah and really enjoyed it, so it also sparked an interest for me. Not only was I pleased to learn that we were going to go over Greek Mythology but also many other types of Mythologies as well. If I am to be completely honest, I had not heard of any other types of Mythologies other than Greek and Roman, which I still was lacking in knowledge in both subjects.

I have heard many names of Gods and Goddesses but never studied or learned what their purposes and stories were. Favorite Stories I have yet to choose an overall favorite story or text from our reading list. The very first story that we went into detail about was the story about Jason written by Rex Warner in his book The Stories of the Greeks, I think I enjoyed this story because I was able to be in class and follow along perfectly with the class and professor. Not only the following, but the story of Jason was very interesting to me in the fact that I have never been made known to the mythology world, other than the basic Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series. Jason’s story introduced me to many characters and new characteristics, those such as Medea, Roman Mythology names, and the story of the Golden Fleece. One person I would like to reference in this reading is Medea, she was a person of great beauty but showed the world her true colors after becoming self-centered, full of pride, angry and unabridged in jealousy, (which many of us today are consumed with these attributes.) Medea became mad with the obsession of making Jason suffer in every way possible. She was very cunning and manipulative, she once charmed Pelias’ daughters into the killing of their father.

The young daughters were mesmerized by Medea’s powers. Medea basked in the glory and even boasted about how she had once made the old Aeson young and full of life again. The youthful daughters beckoned Medea to see if she could do the same to their father. Her responses is an example of how deceiving she is. She pretended to ponder the question before answering, “It is necessary for you to have confidence in me, and so that you may really feel confident, I ask you to bring me the oldest ram ill all your flocks. You will see that my charms will make him into a lamb again,” (68). In the end, the daughters were coaxed into participating in the ritual where Medea murdered Pelias. Not only did she murder Pelias, and deceive the young daughters, but she also poisoned a young princess out of jealousy. Jason had made the decision to leave Medea, and marry the young princess, which sent her into a catastrophic rage where she only wanted to harm and take away all of Jason’s happiness.

Medea sent a dress to the princess, but she had poisoned it. Once it had been worn it fastened around the princess and burned her. And because of Medea’s evil enchantment, no one dared to help her in fear of burning as well. Then her father saw and held her as she burned, but he eventually was caught in the flame as well. Medea was so strong-willed to make Jason suffer in every and way, the anger eventually led to her murdering their two children. As any man would be Jason was exasperated that his bride had died and to make matters worse, Medea maliciously sought out Jason with the bodies of their dead children. With all the anger she had, she didn’t even allow Jason to touch the bodies let alone mourn their deaths at a burial. So, in the end to get revenge she murdered her own blood, her own children just so her husband would suffer.

The story of Medea was not only intriguing but can also be used as a reminder that jealousy and anger can control us to a point of delirium. Many if not all the stories are Greek, Norse, Roman, and Native Mythologies teach humans valuable lessons, and those that don’t teach lessons explain the wonders of the world and how things came to be. The story of Jason and Medea is more of a lesson and shows us what can happen if you tick off a powerful woman. One story that I had previously heard of, but I had not known the detail of was the story Echo and Narcissus. This Story illustrates many marvelous wonders and creations of the world, one being an echo, such as the nymphs name, but also a lesson that yet again you should never anger a powerful woman, nonetheless a Goddess. It is said that Juno became very jealous with her husband’s affairs with the nymph Echo, and in order to protect Jupiter the nymph tried to distract Juno but was caught with the lies of Jupiter as well as her own. Juno was undoubtedly furious and in short, cursed her and said if you want to tell lies you can only repeat the last few words someone says.

Another part of the story, a very important part being that of Tiresias, who has lived life as a man and woman. It first starts out with Juno and Jupiter having an argument about who experiences more pleasure. In which they turn to Tiresias, but he agrees with Jupiter and is cursed with blindness and blessed with mystical prophecies from Jupiter It is said the answer was that women feel 9/10 of the pleasure while only feel 1/10 of the pleasure. Tiresias foresaw Narcissus, who is very beautiful. Tiresias said Narcissus will live a long life, If he does not discover himself. (3.348) As the story of this marvelous wonder continues, Narcissus investigates a deep steal pool and he sees himself and instantly falls in love. He desperately tries to have a relationship with himself, unknowingly but he eventually figures out he’s in love with himself and he tries to do something about it while whilst in the background Echo falls in love with him.

Sadly, Narcissus rejects and despises Echo because of his self-absorption overpowering love. The nymph is broken and begins to fade away in sorrow which leads to the creation of a wonder of the world, an echo. Everyone knows the classic Cinderella story, but the Russian version is ten times better. The title being Vasilisa the Beautiful. There is a popular character in this story, Baba Yaga, she is found in many Russian tales. She is an old witch who is a threshold guardian, one whose job is to make sure that the hero is worthy and safe. Even though Baba Yaga is supposedly evil, usually she helps the heroes who show her respect and not fear, (9). This tale follows closely to the story line that we are all familiar with, Vasilisa’s mother passes away but right before her mother gives her a wooden doll and her blessing to aide her when she is in need. Vasilisa’s father remarries to an awful woman with two ugly daughters. Her stepmother is jealous of her beauty. Vasilisa has many tasks from her nagging stepmother that she needs to complete, but first, she must get start a fire for her. The fire will not lite, so she sends the young Vasilisa into the forest, where Baba Yaga lives and contains the fire that she needs.

Vasilisa finds Baba Yaga’s hut, this is when Baba Yaga the threshold guardian to the underworld starts the test. She begins by asking Vasilisa if she has any questions, but the doll spoke to Vasilisa saying those who know too much growth to old. Vasilisa is wise and doesn’t ask any questions and she also does not tell Baba Yaga about the doll. But she does say she has her mother’s blessing. Baba Yaga will not have those that have blessings in her hut, so she gave Vasilisa a skull that had the light for the fire. Vasilisa returns home with the skull which burned everyone because the skull looked into the eyes of the stepmother and daughters. Vasilisa buried the skull and the lived with her neighbor, an old woman. Vasilisa weaved the most beautiful thread into a fine cloth. The old woman brought it to Tsar, who was impressed by the cloth and asked to marry Vasilisa.

This is one story that ends in a happily ever after, many Mythological stories do not end in such a way. Overall, I feel like I have gained a lot of knowledge through these stories and readings, not only life lessons but also good entertainment as well. As I have gone through this semester, I have learned a lot about the different types of Mythology and also an understanding of the stories that have been told, I have sincerely appreciated the online uploads of each class as well.

Works Cited

Ace Pilkington. Russian Fairy Tales. Presentation Authors. Date NA. PowerPoint Presentation. Alexander Afanasyev. Vasilisa the Beautiful. www.mftd.org. Translated by Irina Zheleznova. 1855.. Narcissus and Echo. About Ancient/Classical History. Web. 15 Nov 2009. . Ovid. The Metamorphoses. Enhanced Media Publishing. Kindle Books. March 26, 2017. Electronic Book. Rex Warner. The Stories of the Greeks. Jason Rex Warner PDF. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Inc. 1967. SparkNotes Editors. SparkNotes on Metamorphoses. SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 24 Nov. 2018. <. https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/metamorphoses/>. Tiana. Understanding Archetypes: Threshold Guardians. www.prezi.com. 2018 Prezi Inc. October 27, 2015. .

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