Folklore Essay

folklore / myth / legend / proverb / troy / ancient greek / fable / robin hood

Genres of folklore

A myth is a fantastic, symbolical representation of gods and legendary heroes, supernatural forces, explaining the origin and the essence of the world, revealing the mission of the man on Earth.  It is a specific, peculiar first of all to an archaic epoch of mankind, way of functioning of the world outlook. A myth is the reflection of the sensual-rational consciousness with existing and invariable elements of the reality. One of the brightest examples of a contemporary myth is a myth that can be called a “central” on among the others: the myth concerning the America and American life. It is a myth about a well-being that is obtained very easy. As America has become a dream for many people nowadays, this myth takes most of the contemporary myth-space.

The legend is a written down story about any historical event, stated in the art or poetic form. If to consider the concept of a legend in a wider mode, it is possible to tell that it is folklore product with elements of a miracle, but, nevertheless, perceived as authentic. For example, as a legend about Trojan war and the Trojan horse which a “gift” left by the Greeks in order to get inside the city of Troy. The Greeks played on the ambitions of the Trojan people who decided to leave the Trojan horse to remember about their victory on the Greeks.

A proverb is a short figurative finished “saying”, usually rhythmical by its form, with instructive sense similar to the situations presented in the proverb. The subject of the statement is analyzed in the light of the conventional truth expressed by the proverb. This is the source of the ideologically-emotional character of the proverb. The composite parts of the statement in the proverb are supported by the rhythm, rhyme, assonances, alliterations and it also coincides with the syntactic parts. One of the most outstanding proverbs to know is the proverb “A leopard cannot change its spots”. Its roots go to the Bible: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil”. It is very hard to underestimate its depth, due to the fact that it touches the question of the never changing inner nature of a man.

A fable is a short, more often a poetic, moralizing story. The main characters of a fable are not only people, but also animals, plants, or even objects which are allocated with those qualities that are considered to be human. The fable narration is allegoric but nevertheless this fact doe not contradict its moralizing character. The main moral of the fable is emphasized in the beginning and in the end of the fable. So basically it is a mini moral lecture, formulated to teach a person how not to behave. The Aesop’s famous fable “The Fox and the Crow” is known all over the world. The crow with a piece of cheese falls for the flattery of the fox that desperately wants that cheese. The flattery strongly gets to the crow and she opens her break to answer at the same time the cheese falls down to the fox. The importance of this fable is seen in its moral very clear. There are so many people around that might want something from you and in order to get it they will be willing to do anything and to say anything that one wants to hear. The moral of the fable says that it is very important not to be “bought” by flattery and to understand what is true and what is false, what words are sincere and what are pretence.

The legend of Robin Hood is among my favorite ones. It fact that a thief can dedicate his life to the “fair” distribution of money amazes me. Robin Hood takes the money away from the rich people and gives it to the poor, to those who really are in need. The contradiction and conflict of this legend is a separate question. Being a thief is socially considered to be a manifestation of antisocial behavior but at the same time giving money away to the needy is considered to be noble. This reveals the fact that eve among thieves there can be noble people and teaches people that there are “socially positive” people in any class or group of people. Such lessons make the myths, legends, fables and proverbs a priceless treasure of modern morality!


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