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Impact of Greek Mythology on Contemporary Literature

Greek mythology is an expansive set of fictional folklore that is one of the most prominent cultural influences in Western arts, literature, and other mediums for centuries due to its origin in Ancient Greece often viewed as the cradle of Western civilization. The rich development of the mythological stories and intriguing fascination with human-like qualities of deities or fantastical descriptions of creatures and environments has always intrigued individuals, leading to adaptations of the mythology (Ross). Greek mythology has been adapted in modern literature in a variety of ways, ranging from retelling classic mythologic stories set in the past to adopting mythological fantastical elements into the modern setting or simply borrowing certain symbols and elements of mythology to be used as highly recognizable allusions in a non-mythological piece.

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One of the best critically acclaimed pieces of literature inspired by mythology is The Penelopiad by Margaret Attwood, offering a unique perspective on the famous events of the Homer epic The Illiad and its aftermath. It is told from the perspective of the mythical character Penelope who was the wife of Odysseus. It takes a classical mythological story but adds a modern twist to it with aspects of femininity and deeper emotional character development than expected from myths.

However, there is literature inspired by mythology that brings the concepts to the modern world. The famous young adult novel series Percy Jackson revolves around the presence of Greek gods, mythology, and artifacts in the modern world. The adventure novel takes the intrigue and fascination of the Greek mythological world and adapts it to modernity to make it more relatable (i.e. the God of War rides a motorcycle), while maintaining the many elements of the folklore and connections that were vital to the rich background development of the Greek folklore.

Finally, there is contemporary literature that borrows elements of Greek mythology. For example, the famous Harry Potter series takes on many aspects, ranging from obvious ones such as the three-headed large canine guarding a door (representative of the Cerberus in the Greek Underworld) to more subtle references. The ultimate prophecy of the child which must defeat Voldemort, but “neither can live while the other survives,” represents the unclear and often paradoxical prophecies seen in the Greek mythology stories.

Overall, Greek mythology holds an extensive impact on modern-day literature in a wide variety of ways and influences. Examples demonstrated in this paper suggest that the allure of the mythological folklore continues to remain an avid interest to readers and authors. Meanwhile, due to the permeating nature and its pertinence in Western culture, many of the mythological elements have grown to be widely recognized and common literary devices used in contemporary literature.

Work Cited

Ross, Matt. “Why Art and Storytelling Owe a Great Debt to Greek Mythology.” Arab News, 2021, Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2023, January 5). Impact of Greek Mythology on Contemporary Literature. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/impact-of-greek-mythology-on-contemporary-literature/

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StudyCorgi. (2023, January 5). Impact of Greek Mythology on Contemporary Literature. https://studycorgi.com/impact-of-greek-mythology-on-contemporary-literature/

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StudyCorgi. "Impact of Greek Mythology on Contemporary Literature." January 5, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/impact-of-greek-mythology-on-contemporary-literature/.

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StudyCorgi. 2023. "Impact of Greek Mythology on Contemporary Literature." January 5, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/impact-of-greek-mythology-on-contemporary-literature/.

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StudyCorgi. (2023) 'Impact of Greek Mythology on Contemporary Literature'. 5 January.

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