The Use of Myth and Folktales in Culture

Environmental Science
Myths and folktales have been an integral part of human culture for centuries. These stories have been passed down from generation to generation and have been used to share wisdom, provide entertainment, and preserve cultural traditions. From Greek mythology to Native American legends, these stories have shaped the way people think, act, and interact with the world around them. In this article, we will explore the use of myth and folktales in culture and how they continue to influence modern society.

The Origins of Myth and Folktales

Myths and folktales have their roots in ancient storytelling traditions. Before the development of written language, stories were passed down orally from one generation to the next. These stories were used to explain natural phenomena, teach important lessons, and preserve cultural knowledge. As societies developed, so did their stories. Myths and folktales evolved to reflect the beliefs, values, and customs of each culture. Myths are usually religious or supernatural stories that explain the origins of the world and the gods, while folktales are more secular stories that explain human behavior and convey moral lessons. Both are important forms of storytelling that provide a window into the culture from which they originated.

The Significance of Myth and Folktales

Myths and folktales are significant for several reasons. First, they provide insight into the cultural values of the society that produced them. For example, Greek myths are filled with stories of heroic deeds and the struggle for power, reflecting the competitive and individualistic nature of ancient Greek culture. Similarly, Native American folktales emphasize cooperation and community, reflecting the collectivist values of many Native American societies. Second, myths and folktales provide a shared cultural heritage that can be used to unite people. Stories have a way of transcending language and cultural barriers, and many myths and folktales have been adapted into different languages and cultures, spreading their message across the world. For example, the story of Cinderella has taken many different forms across cultures, but the basic themes of perseverance and overcoming adversity remain the same. Finally, myths and folktales provide a framework for understanding the world around us. These stories often involve supernatural or mythological elements, but they can also be used to explain natural phenomena or human behavior. For example, the tale of the Boy Who Cried Wolf serves as a cautionary tale about honesty and the consequences of lying.

The Use of Myth and Folktales in Modern Society

Although myths and folktales are often considered relics of the past, they continue to be relevant in modern society. Many contemporary films, books, and television shows are based on these stories, and they continue to inspire and captivate audiences. In addition, myths and folktales are used in modern psychology and psychotherapy. Mythological archetypes, such as the hero's journey and the trickster, are used to provide insight into the human psyche and help individuals understand their own behavior and motivations. Finally, myths and folktales are used to promote cultural diversity and understanding. By sharing stories from different cultures, people can learn about the beliefs and customs of others and gain a greater appreciation for the diversity that exists in the world.


In conclusion, myths and folktales have been and continue to be an important part of human culture. They provide insight into the values, beliefs, and customs of different societies, provide a shared cultural heritage that can promote unity, and provide a framework for understanding the world around us. By continuing to explore and appreciate these stories, we can gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity and richness of human culture.