Joseph Campbell's analysis of Myth

Topics: Joseph Campbell, Mind, Ramayana Pages: 3 (1243 words) Published: October 19, 2013
What is a myth? This question-and the vast concepts that go along with it-doesn’t come up very often, if at all. Perhaps this is due to the fact that myths are not popularly observed in depth; therefore, the answer to such a simply-put, yet broad question usually doesn’t exceed a standard myth’s generalities. Most people will conclude that a myth is fiction and neglect to realize that the overall definition goes far beyond that. According to Joseph Campbell, neither a myth nor the hero’s story from within the myth is manufactured by its author; moreover, a myth is a collective and unconscious exploitation of the mind in which it dwells. It thrives off of representations and ideas from within the mind of the author, who unconsciously desires such happenings in reality. Campbell’s reference to the unconscious is similar to that of Sigmond Freud’s, who has referred to the unconscious time and time again. He stated that the unconscious is what our memory cannot retain; for instance, they are things we dream of, or memories that we may forget. With that in mind, the myth comes into play.

Campbell states that myths are primarily based on the hero and his journey. He goes on to say that the hero’s journey consists of three parts: his retreat from the world, trials and victories he makes along the way, and his return. Some may disagree with this idea, convinced that Campbell holds the belief that all myths are the same. However, that disagreement is a mere misunderstanding of Campbell’s explanation, which is not that myths are exactly alike, but that their general construction follows the same idea. Even with that clarification, still, some may wonder if there is true evidence that myths solely rely on the journey. Without a doubt, any myth could promptly defend Campbell’s theory, but two that most prominently demonstrate the truth behind his perception are the stories Ramayana and Yeelen.

As Campbell concludes, the journey of a hero begins with his first mission:...
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