The Classical Mythology of Milton's English Poems

The Classical Mythology of Milton's English Poems

Read FREE!

The Classical Mythology of Milton's English Poems

The Classical Mythology of Milton's English Poems

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The importance of Greek and Roman mythology is proved by its unfailing vitality. After the visible forms of states and empires had passed away, the myths of the ancients survived with their politics and philosophy and poetry as a part of the heritage which the new peoples received from the old. This power of classical myths to survive is explained principally by two facts: first, they were the embodiment of the moral, religious, and artistic ideals of the Greeks and Romans; secondly, morality, religion, and art were serious and fundamental realities in ancient life.

These two facts explain also the kind of vitality by which the myths have survived. It consists not merely in the repetition of a tale through centuries, but also in the variation of its quality, and in its susceptibility to employment for various uses. The old mythology was a kind of plastic material which received through individuals a national impress. As the life of the Greeks became modified from century to century, so Greek mythology was similarly modified by the poets, teachers, philosophers, and artists who were the master-workmen of this people. The stories and conceptions of gods and heroes are strong, aspiring, or weak, as the people who invented and cherished them manifested the corresponding qualities. And when the Roman civilization adopted Greek culture, Greek mythology suffered modification, and became in some degree a reflex of the Roman life into which it had entered.

The poet who was religious, and hence peculiarly and continually sensitive to moral truth, found in existing mythology a partial expression of the truths dear to him, and in his poetic treatment added to the moral, religious, or imaginative value of the myth which he . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.