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A Handbook to the Reception of Classical Mythology (Wiley Blackwell Handbooks to Classical Reception)
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Mythology > Mythical Narrative and Self‐Development (Meg Harris Williams)

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The ancient gods in their capacity as “figures of thought” (Langer 1946, 196) enact conflicting aspects of this human story on behalf of confused and struggling mortals who are searching less for a solution than for a model through which to contain and understand their predicament.


Using this model, it would seem Odysseus is ruminating just as much as prince Hamlet. All the fantastic tales of caves and underworld and enchantresses and gods are just his various impulses, dark sides included, being considered, before he “awakes” on the shores of Ithaca and enacts his final revenge (and the consequential political settlement.)


message 2: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
Coleridge formulated the importance of symbol‐formation in promoting the mind’s innate “principle of self‐development”; following Plato, the getting of wisdom was a matter of “becoming” rather than of possessing knowledge.


Which is really neat, Athena-as-Mentes encouraged Telemachus by telling him what he will become, not what he is.


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