Myth vs Legend
Every single world culture from Europe, to India, and from Australia to Africa have a body of traditional literature. Usually this literature was passed through the generations orally until the society developed language or an outsider came who wrote the stories down. There is still some debate as to the primary purposes of these stories, but since they are still captivating to modern man, considerable study has been done on traditional cultural stories, often known as myths and legends. Much care has also been taken to documents the differences between the two types of stories.
Myth ‘“ is a traditional and often sacred narrative that explains important events in the birth and growth of a culture by relating supernatural acts that took place before our current time
Legend ‘“ is also a traditional story, but is very rarely considered sacred. It details the actions of men and women who were larger than life but still grounded in an actual historic timeline.
Myth ‘“ was commonly thought to be told in conjunction with a religious festival. The myth would describe the actions of the gods or supernatural forces and it was believed that the retelling would allow those forces to come into play in the present day. Myths could also be used as morality tales for the instruction of the younger generation in the norms of their society.
Legend ‘“ lost much of its spiritual element. However, since it involved real, historical people, it was often used to foster group cohesiveness and loyalty, especially in times of war or oppression. Legends too were teaching tools for the younger generation.
Common Characters and Events
Myth ‘“ feature gods, goddess, and human endowed with supernatural powers. They may interact with humans, but generally fight against each other or try to trick each other in an effort to establish primacy.
Legend ‘“ feature real human beings, often blessed with superior intelligence or strength, but not god like. They will struggle against their fate, external oppressive forces, or worthy adversaries.
Myth ‘“ one famous Greek myth explains the origin of fire. Prometheus (meaning fore-thought) brings the fire of the gods down to men. For this gift he is punished by Zeus by being chained to a rock and having his liver pecked out by vultures. This myth explains from where fire came and the crucial importance of it.
Legend ‘“ the tale of Lady Godiva agreeing to ride naked through the streets of Coventry to free the peasants from an oppressive tax imposed by her husband is still a popular one in England today. Lady Godiva is an actual historic personage who can be found in the Domesday Book but the tale, meant to inspire patriotic sacrifice, could very well be apocryphal.
1.A myth is a cultural story told about the gods that may be religious in nature, but also instructs about the origins and norms a particular culture; legend also aspires to instruct, but by using real people, not gods.
2.Myths happen in faraway places a long time ago, while legends happen in the definable past.