Essay on Mythology of Evil: Deciphering the Darkness

Essay on Mythology of Evil: Deciphering the Darkness

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The act of studying mythology can be an extremely unifying thing. For humans as a species, myths connect us with our collective history by allowing us to see through the eyes of our ancestors. Potentially much more than in novels, myths allow us to enter into the ancient world on a deeper level; through them we are exposed to the popular worldview and superstitions of the day. The inner workings of ancient human beings are visible, and it becomes strikingly clear that they were not all that different than we are. They experienced similar hopes and fears, they felt the rapturous beauty of falling in love, and cursed the crushing pangs of loss. They missed loved ones when they were away, anxiously counting the days and watching the horizons for their return. Seeing, breathing, speaking creatures, they were living, emotional beings. Their hearts vigorously pumped lifeblood through their capillaries until the day of their death. (Ellwood, 9)
It is easy to forget the place from whence we came. By reading and studying mythology we are reminded of the great journey embarked upon by mankind as a whole. We can follow developments in mindset and public opinion, customs and courtesies, biases and superstitions. We watch the human race grow and flourish.

Every myth, and arguably every story, has one thing in common: an antagonist. The key to writing or creating a memorable story is to have an intriguing counterpart with whom the hero will duel. This can take many forms, the classic being the amiable and admirable protagonist who must conquer the evil antagonist and put an end to his despicable deeds. In cases such as this the reader will most often agree with the protagonist’s reasons for destroying the evildoer. Interestingly, though, the...

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...ce existing for the sole purpose of introducing pockets of Evil into our lives saves us from having to face a terrifyingly possible reality: that human beings actually are capable of being pure evil – that a person can hurt another person simply for the pleasure of watching them suffer.
It is much easier to blame an invisible, ill-tempered foe than to consider that ‘Evil’ may come from within us.

Works Cited

Bernstein, Richard J. A Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation. Wiley, 2002.
Cole, Philip. Myth of Evil: Demonizing the Enemy. Westport: Greenwood Publishing
Group, 2006.
Ellwood, Robert. Tales of Darkness: The Mythology of Evil. New York: Continuum,
Guin, Ursula Le. A Wizard of Earthsea. London: Penguin Group, 1968.
Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters. HarperCollins, 2009.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Two Towers. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1954.

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