full title · Mythology
author · Edith Hamilton
type of work · Nonfiction
genre · Classical lore and legends, Norse legends
language · English
time and place written · 1930s, United States
date of first publication · 1942
publisher · Little, Brown and Company
narrator · An omniscient narrator, suggestive of the author herself
point of view · Edith Hamilton’s level and even-spirited scholarly voice provides the general point of view. The stories are told by omniscient narrators who are sympathetic to the protagonists yet instantly aware of their weaknesses or foolishness whenever it comes into play. Even these omniscient narrators have plenty of equanimity and are not terribly engaged in the stories they are telling.
tone · Edith Hamilton clearly admires the greatness of antiquity, although at the same time posits myths as important mostly as progenitors of “us” and “our culture.”
tense · Past
setting (time) · Ancient times
setting (place) · Greece and Rome, and, at the very end, Northern Europe
themes · The dominance of fate; bloodshed begets bloodshed; the danger of arrogance and hubris; reward for goodness and retribution for evil
motifs · The hero’s quest; beauty; love
symbols · Cannibalism; art
On page 380 I found it really interesting that Oedipus said " ' For the love of God, ' " a couple of times. I thought they might say for the love of the gods (plural) since they honored many not just one. Or was God considered Zeus to them?
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There is a dual sided portrayal of women present throughout the story. They are shown to be shallow, selfish, and self-centered, but also to be secretly controlling, planning everything that happens.
According to Hamilton, "[Hercules] was what all of Greece except Athens most admired. The Athenians were different from the other Greeks and their hero therefore was different"(225).
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