Myths are defined as traditional stories and legends told to explain unaccountable events and phenomenon of nature. Before science and schools came about, humanity needed a way of understanding what was occurring around them. Many myths tend to live on throughout generations, inculcating certain essentials in that culture. Mythology serves as an explanation as well as a rationalization to the mysteries of the world; it acts as a unifier of a culture’s beliefs and traditions and usually aims to teach a valuable lesson.
The idea of the American Dream has fueled the goals of Americans for ages. This concept encouraged individuals to achieve their personal dream that they as American citizens can be successful. In 2013, in his second Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama stated, “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.” President Obama asserts America’s devotion to the American Dream and emphasizes that through this concept, everyone is seen as one. Just like in many other cultures, America’s national myth of equal opportunity unifies America in the idea that everyone can achieve greatness.
Ancient Greece based their culture on the foundation of mythology to institute societal norms and make sense of the world around them. The Greeks believed by honoring the Gods they would be blessed, and by disobeying they would be cursed. For example, when Arachne, a weaver, became boastful about her weaving skills, Athena, goddess of wisdom, war, weaving, pottery and many other crafts, became infuriated. Threatened by Arachne’s abilities, Athena transformed Arachne into a spider, condemning her to weave forever. The purpose of this myth is to warn people of the consequences when shaming the Gods and that it was wrong to consider themselves equal to the Gods. Mythology was used to explain the reason why in the Greek culture they did certain things, such as obey the gods and goddesses.
Mythology serves so many purposes and it is created for so many different reasons. Many myths strive to answer the question: “Why?” Before scientific discovery, humans searched for logical reasons of why things happened. Other myths seek to teach a lesson and instill values that are important to a specific culture such as the obeying the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece. Myths are able to live throughout generations because they inscribe indispensable values in the fabric of the culture, and unifies the community as one.