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Mythology

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

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