RARA-AVIS: The mythological link

From: Michael Robison ( zspider@gte.net)
Date: 26 Jul 2003

Frederick Zackel wrote:
> Unless you're a recognized "loser," how can you find salvation? The moral
> code of the lone wolf isn't much off from that ancient Greek "goat song,"
> the "tragodia" (or tragedy.) The lone wolf sacrifices himself (i.e., his
> personal pursuit of happiness) for his society by prowling the mean
> He reluctantly stands up to the gunfire, puts himself in front of the
> bullet, for the greater good of his society -- even if he shuns it and it
> looks down its collective nose at him.
> The mythology doesn't work unless he is a loser.

************************** I've been exploring the mythology angle myself. Don't know hardly anything about it and I hate being so clueless cuz it appears that a lot of literature has got some roots in it. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I started out by reading a Cliff Notes booklet on mythology. It hit on mythological themes from several cultures. I can't say a lot of things fell in place after reading it. More questions than answers. The one thing I did see was the clear archetype of the femme fatale in the Greek legend of Pandora. Stories vary even about the same legend, but one of the stories about Pandora has her being purposely sent by a god to seal the doom of a man.

I've gone on to read Campbell's THE POWER OF MYTH and an interesting book called THE MARRIAGE OF CADMUS AND HARMONY. I didn't care for the first but I enjoyed the second.

Coming back to your post, Frederick, the Greek tragedies you speak of seem to be early templates for noir, don't they? Cuz the protagonist is screwed from the beginning, and nothing he does is gonna get him out of the world of hurt he's in.

The Greek heroes seemed a lot less "noble" than our heroes. Our hardboiled heroes do a little bad, but usually no more than is necessary to wrong a right. The Greek heroes sometimes act like immature children, and there pettiness often leads to many wrongful deaths. Is our culture more sophisticated than theirs, or simply more prudish?


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