Comparative Mythology and Symbols in Literature


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The likeness of myths from disparate cultures was used to recognize their shared themes and characteristics. This was referred to as Comparative Mythology. Myths have been used to show the relationships between different myths to record the development of religions and cultures, and to suggest common births for myths from different cultures, and to support various psychological theories. Comparative Mythologists originated from assorted fields, such as; linguistics, Psychological and religious studies, and they have used a variety of methods to compare myths. Myths came in the form of general storytelling and used in some religions. In Ancient mythology, using myths was a way of connecting human attributes and evil to divine counterparts. In Ancient civilizations and Greek mythology, myths played a central function in setting morally right parameters in scenarios of difficult decision-making. Ancient mythology used cultural symbols to signify a specifically unique way of acting, thinking, and living as a people from its respective territory.

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Symbolism represents the use of one thing for another using an object, a person or an idea. Symbols help us to associate and connect things with ideas or concepts. It is commonly used in a way to communicate a deeper meaning without expressing it in literal terms. It can also be used as actions of a character, word, action, or event that have a deeper meaning in the context of the whole story. Symbolism plays an important role in language and when using it in literature, it can be utilized as other figures of speech, for example, Metaphors.

Metaphors are a figure of speech that makes an indirect or hidden comparison between two things that are not related but share common characteristics. Metaphors are how we understand the world; our conception. In both books’ metaphors are used in different ways but at the same time they are similar; In Metaphors, we live by, Lakoff and Johnson develop a relationship on the grounds of close association and understanding of our experiences. Metaphors shape our perceptions and actions without even being aware of it. In other words, Metonymy is used to develop literary symbolism. In The hero with a thousand faces, Campbell uses Monomyth, using a universal story structure, where he takes a story and proceeds through stages. Metaphors are a form of language, understanding, and reasoning. They assist us in understanding our experiences. They also shape our perception and actions effortlessly.

Imagery has also been adopted to be able to use descriptive language in describing these myths. As a literary instrument, imagery consists of descriptive language that can justify a way for the reader to imagine the world differently and add symbolism to the work. Imagery outlines the five senses, such as; taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound.

In reading both books. The element that connects them is “Life.” The life experiences and how our life is introduced and conquered; Personal human development. Life is a journey and the word journey is a common metaphor, it reminds us that your personal destination is not the only goal but just a stage in our lives that we must fulfill.

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