Carl Jung's Gigantomachy: Theories Of Comparative Mythology

988 Words4 Pages
In this essay, I will be exploring the battle of Zeus and Typhon after the events of the Gigantomachy through two alternative theories of mythology; Comparative mythology (Dowden p.21) and Carl Jung’s idea of Greek myths as psychological archetypes (Dowden p.22-23). Each theory of mythology provides its own unique perspective on the legendary battle; and supplies an ample amount of evidence to back up their claims. Using Apollodorus’s Biblioheke and Hesiod’s Thegony from the Anthology of Classical Myth, this essay will argue that while both theories of mythology are valid, Carl Jung’s approach to this myth better explains the myth, with its motif and therefore its relevance to other Greek myths. According to the anthropologist C. Scott Littleton,…show more content…
Carl Jung believes that myths are an expression of the collective unconsciousness, that the myths often express the universal core ideals of human beings. This theory explains why myths have recurring themes and motifs that are spread across all cultures. In relation to recurring themes, “Jung cites [recurring motifs] as evidence of the existence of psychic elements shared among all humans” (Jung 1970). Jung also believed Greek myths expressed archetypes common to human thinking anywhere. In the battle of Zeus vs. Typhon, One such recurring motif found in Greek myth exists: When the hero is in critical help in his greatest struggle, assistance is always given to him in the form of lesser beings, usually inferior to the hero in status. These beings and their actions often become so crucial in the narrative of the myth and in the hero’s success; that their assistance to the hero sometimes is so important that their actions become the “motivating force in the action of the tale”. During the battle of Zeus and Typhon, Typhon manages to wrap Zeus in his coils and cut out the sinews of Zeus’s hands and feet. Typhon then carries Zeus and imprisons him in a cave, hiding Zeus’s sinews in the same cave. But with Hermes and Aigipan help, the two lesser gods sneak past the dragoness guarding the cave and manages to put the sinews back into Zeus. The action of Hermes and Aigipan allows Zeus to get his strength back and ultimately defeat Typhon, son of Tartarus and Ge (Apollodorus A2). In this myth, Hermes and Aigipan come to the assistance of Zeus, in his great struggle against a powerful enemy. Their actions of thievery end up saving Zeus from certain death and reinvigorates Zeus with new energy, revitalizing him to defeat Typhon. Similar narratives containing this motif are also found in Egyptian and Indian culture; in a variation of the Hittite

    More about Carl Jung's Gigantomachy: Theories Of Comparative Mythology

      Open Document