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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