Mythology by Edith Hamilton Critical Analysis
Mythology by Edith Hamilton Edith Hamilton: Mythology is a collection of Greek and Roman myths retold by Edith Hamilton. It is rewritten in a way that more readers could comprehend its content. The book was published in 1999 by Grand Central Publishing in New York, New York.
Edith Hamilton believed that Greek myths “show how high the ancient Greeks rose above ancient filth and fierceness. ” However, she also believed that “Greek mythology do not throw any clear light upon what early mankind was like” (14).
They were simply written by ancient societies or civilizations to express themselves or to explain natural events that occurred around them. In addition, Edith Hamilton also says that the “best guides to a knowledge of Greek mythology are the Greek writers who believe what they wrote” (23). Edith Hamilton: Mythology can be described in many ways. It can be described and analyzed by its purpose, organization and language, and interpretation. One way that it could be described is by analyzing the book’s purpose. This book was written for many purposes.
In Hamilton’s perspective, the purpose of this work was simply to “show us the way the human race thought and felt untold ages ago” (13). Another purpose of the book was to entertain its readers and audiences. Reading Edith Hamilton’s collection of Greek and Roman myths gives its readers more knowledge about how ancient civilizations explained things. Hamilton’s purpose for writing this literary work was also to “make the reader see some differences between writers [of the original], who were so different” from each other.
She accomplished this by writing short passages about the original writers at the beginning of each story. Her goal for this book was to be accurate and close to the original and for readers to gain knowledge of myths and an idea of what each original writer was like (Foreword). The organization and language of Edith Hamilton: Mythology is another way to analyze this book. Hamilton organized her work in easy-to-follow groups. Short love stories were all in one chapter, and the events of the Trojan War were all in another chapter.
She also kept the Greek stories and the Roman stories separated by using only Greek characters in some stories and using only Roman characters in the next. While that organization made the book more convenient, it may also have confused some readers. The transition from Roman gods in one story to Greek gods in the next story came so unexpectedly that it may have surprised or confused readers. Hamilton was very sophisticated with her use of words and language in the book. While that may have impressed some of her audiences, others may have preferred the use of simple and easy-to-understand language.
Edith Hamilton: Mythology can be interpreted by its effectiveness and appeal to its audience. It was very educational and effective in letting the reader understand the interaction between mortals and immortals. This literary work was definitely a monomyth, a hero with a thousand faces. Most of the stories all related to each other, and some were basically the same stories, only told by different writers using similar gods, goddesses, and mortals. The myths also contained a few recurring themes such as the theme of love.
In several stories, readers were told that love was given to mortals by the gods and that it was unavoidable. The stories and myths appealed to the reader and audience in many ways. Some stories or myths contained humor, while others were quite moving and heart-warming. For example, in Hercules’s story, we are told that Hercules drank and partied one night while everyone else around him was mourning a woman’s death. Hercules regretted being merry on such a night that he did all that he could to bring the woman back to life (176-178). That story was very sweet and heart-warming.
It also showed the readers Hercules’s true character and how much he cared about the people around him. Other myths and stories provided suspense or even mystery to its audience. The story of “The Quest of the Golden Fleece” kept some readers wanting to keep reading just to find out what the future held for Jason, the Argonauts, and Medea. Overall, Edith Hamilton: Mythology was a collection of Greek and Roman myths rewritten by Edith Hamilton. Her book can be analyzed by its purpose, organization and language, and its interpretation.
It was written to inform its audience about how humans thought and felt ages ago. Its content was organized in such a way that made it easier to understand for some readers. The book’s stories were very effective in letting its audience know about the relationship between the gods and the mortals. They also appealed to readers because of their humor or suspense. People all over would now be able to read and understand Greek, as well as Roman, mythology because of the literary work, Edith Hamilton: Mythology.