Cupid and Psyche: Myth or Folktale?

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When looking at the definitions of folktales and myths, we can conclude that there is a very fine line between the two. Myth can be defined as "… to do with the gods and their actions, with creation, and with the general nature of the universe and of the earth." (Thompson, 106) On the other hand, some might say that folktale is defined as an anonymous story, that originates and circulates orally among a people (Harris and Platzner, 1054), or even that folktales involve a fairy god mother and dancing mice. However, there seems to be many similarities between the two concepts, and the story of Eros and Psyche is no exception. This story entails many mythic characteristics as well as many features of a folktale. Though the story comprises of Greek gods and other myth like elements, the features of a folktale seem to be much more abundant then that of a myth. I believe that the story of Eros and Psyche is a folktale because of the many folktale elements this story encompasses, as well as the fact that, unlike other myths, there is no real underlying purpose to this particular story. A major component of myth is that it serves some underlying purpose in describing how certain events occurred or why certain events happen. For instance, the myth of Demeter and Persephone, explains why seasons change the way they do. Another example is that of the myth of Pandora, which describes how and why, women are present today. However, the story of Eros and Psyche does not have this underlying purpose which most myths do possess. This tale seems to be one of pure enjoyment and fantasy more than a specific purpose. The fact that this story does not contain this important characteristic categorizes this tale as more of a folktale background, than a myth.

Many classical myths have some folktale elements incorporated into the story. However, the tale of Eros and Psyche has an abundance of these characteristics. The entire story itself is much like the common fairytale of "Beauty...
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