Analysing myths

Home learning focus

Learn to analyse myths.

This lesson includes:

  • four videos

  • three activities

Learn

Myths are old tales filled with magical creatures, gods and mystery. They are not based on facts or reality.

Watch this video to understand more about what myths are all about.

Find out what myths are all about.

Myths

Many myths were created by early civilisations to make sense of things happening in the natural world around them because they didn’t yet understand modern day science.

  • In Greek mythology the Titan Atlas bore the weight of the heavens on his shoulders.
  • Another Greek myth is that Zeus, a god, threw lightning bolts down onto earth when he was in a rage.
  • A Norse myth suggested that another god, Thor, would create lightning strikes within his huge hammer.

Different groups of people would often try to explain the same thing (such as lightning bolts) but using different myths and/or characters.

The gods, creatures and heroes in myths are supernatural beings often in a battle of good vs evil. They were also given human qualities to help teach people to live better lives.

Watch this video about a famous myth called The Banshee.

Find out about The Banshee myth.

The Banshee

The Banshee is the story of a supernatural woman whose appearance and/or cry indicated that something terrible was about to happen.

As the Banshee has supernatural abilities, her story is a myth rather than a legend.

The Banshee has been reimagined in different places over different times. For example, in Ireland she has been known as The Keeling Woman, whereas in Scotland she has been known as The Little Washer Woman.

Although her appearance and name has changed over time, her appearance within a story is always meant to warn of approaching doom!

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Tackle this activity about The Banshee by using the words to fill in the gaps.

Activity 2

Invent five mythical people that match with different natural phenomena.

Write an explanation of how each character creates what we see in the natural world.

Top tip!

Remember mythical creatures or supernatural humans were used to make sense of things that happen in the natural world, such as rainbows or tornadoes. They can also link to different emotions, from happiness to sadness or from excitement to doom!

Activity 3

Analysing myths

Watch the first part of the myth, Freya and the Goblins.

As you watch the clip, think about the features of myths such as:

-Where is the myth set?

-Who are the characters in the myth?

-What journeys do the characters go on?

-What problem or problems occur?

-Any interesting words or descriptions used?

Freya and the Goblins part 1 from BBC Teach.

Jot your ideas down on the features spotted so far. You could copy out the table below or draw your own mind map if you wish.

FeaturesNotes
Setting ( Where is the myth set? What is it like?)
Characters (Who are they?, Are they a hero or villian? Do they have any special powers)
Journey (What journeys happen in the story?)
Problem (What problems are occur in the myth)
Object
Resolution (How are the problems solved)
Meaning or teaching within the Myth
Interesting language used (description, similies, metaphors etc)

Watch the final part of the myth, Freya and the Goblins and complete the table. Think about:

* Do more problems occur?

* How are the problems resolved?

* What is the meaning or teaching within the myth?

Freya and the Goblins part 2 from BBC Teach.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt to analyse myths.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to find out more about myths and legends:

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