Humanities 201: World Mythology
24 March 2013
Tricksters as Savior of Humanity
Tricksters are liars, manipulators, and possess no values or morals. They act completely on their own behalves, for their own gratifications. So why are they thought of as saviors of humanity? For the same reason that Coyote and Prometheus obtain fire for humans and the same reason Raven gives humans the sun, the moon, and the stars. Their trickeries act upon privations for humankind. Coyote, Prometheus, and Raven are Tricksters for humanity. In American Indian myths Coyote is not a god, but a culture hero who helps humans. He is a selfish and manipulating Trickster. One of his greatest gifts to humans is stealing fire. There are many variations of how he steals fire. In the story “How Coyote Stole Fire”, Coyote has no need for fire therefore he did not concern himself with acquiring it. One day he was passing a human village and he heard the women singing a song of mourning for the babies that died during the winter months from the cold. Coyote feels compassion for the men and women of the village and selflessly steals fire from the gods; “Demonstrating the true spirit of a trickster, Coyote steals fire from the gods and gives it to humans. In this sense, Coyote exerts considerable power. He, as many tricksters do, operates as a creator figure rather than simply as a manipulator. Tricksters alter the human world with their feats of guile and strength.” (Watts 284). Unlike Coyote who is considered a culture hero, Prometheus is a culture god. Prometheus has always concerned himself in helping humankind unlike Coyote and Raven. In Greek mythology human beings are looked down upon, Prometheus has always gone against the gods and associated himself with humankind; “Prometheus is a rebel against a certain divine order, the cosmic system in which beings are not cherished, valued and protected.” (Thury and Devinney 397). Like Raven and Coyote, Prometheus...