• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Do You Know "Achilles' Heel"?-- Analyzing the Relationship between Greek Myths and English Language

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Do You Know "Achilles' Heel"? -- Analyzing the Relationship between Greek Myths and English Language Abstract: Do you know "Achilles' Heel"? It's an allusion from Greek myths. Instances like this are not difficult to find in English language. They are terse and vivid because of Greek myths and legends behind them. Therefore, they enjoy popular use. But these words and phrases are peculiar to the native culture and language, they appear exotic to foreign learners. So let's share some words and idioms which are relevant to Greek myths in view of knowing the ins and outs of them and understanding how to apply them. In the meanwhile, they can help you understand English history and English culture more thoroughly and deep and taste the wisdom and humor of the English people. Key words: relationship, Greek myths, English language, English idioms Once the Republican supporter made comments on Clinton's scandal, "A misbehaving president is regarded as a government's Achilles heel and is expected to resign." What is Achilles' heel? If you don't know it, you will not understand the meaning of the supporter's comments. The idiom means the weak or vulnerable point of a person, organization and country, etc. which comes from Greek myths. The story is about Achilles, one of the Greek heroes in the Iliad. When he was a child, he was taken by his mother Thetis and dipped in the river Styx to make him invulnerable. The water washed every part of his body expect the heel in his mother's hand. ...read more.

Middle

But on his journey he unwittingly killed King Laius with whom he quarreled. He arrived at Thebes shortly thereafter and saved the city from the ravages of the Sphinx. He was proclaimed king in Laius' stead, and he took the dead king's widow, Jocasta, as his own wife. After several years a terrible plague struck Thebes. The Apollo declared that the plague would be stayed upon one condition: whoever had murdered King Laius must be punished. In the course of his investigation, Oedipus discovered that he himself was the killer and that Laius had been his real father. Finally he couldn't act against the decrees of fate. In his despair at this discovery, Oedipus blinded himself. Girls have a similar sexual desire for the father which is repressed in analogous fashion and is called Electra complex. It also comes from Greek mythology. Electra is the daughter of Agamemnon, the king who led the Greeks against Troy in the Trojan War. To obtain favorable winds for the Greek fleet sailing to Troy, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis and so came under a curse. After he returned home victorious, he was murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover. To avenge his father's death, Electra helped her brother kill their mother and her lover. * Sphinx's riddle The allusion also comes from the Greek legend of King Oedipus. The Sphinx is winged monster having the head and breasts of a woman and body of a lion. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example. * Money may bring you happiness, but sometimes it is a Pandora's box. (Zhuang Hecheng, 2002) * Abolishing the regulations on financial dealing was like opening Pandora's box---it was chaos. (CID) * Horn of plenty In Greek myths, when Zeus was born, his mother Rhea brought him to Amalthea in order to save him from being swallowed by his father, Cronus. Amalthea brought him up on the milk of goat in a cave in Crete. This goat having broken off one of its horns, Amalthea filled it with flowers and fruits and presented it to Zeus.. When Zeus overpowered his father and became the father of all gods, he also brought Amalthea and the horn to the sky. And nowadays the horn of plenty is regarded as a treasure because the horn has the power to give to the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. Let's look at an example in actual uses. * Nature, very oddly, when the horn of plenty is quite empty, always fills it with babies. (Zhuang Hecheng, 2002) English language is abundant in words and phrases which are related to Greek myths. Since these words and idioms are peculiar to the native culture and language, it is difficult for foreign learners to master them. However, if you read the myths of Greece, you will be clear about the relationship between Greek myths and these words and idioms. It will help you know how to apply them. In the meanwhile, it can also offer you a good opportunity to understand English history and English culture more thoroughly and deep and taste the wisdom and humor of the English people. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Overall how good is the movie troy?

    Where the original revolves around the complexity of its characters, Troy the movie manages to present each protagonist as a sketchy cartoon, and where the Iliad elevates conflict and values on a universal level, Troy the movie trivializes even the most compelling of human values.

  2. 'How heroic do you find the character of Achilles?'

    As Odysseus says "But if your hatred for the son of Atreus has grown too strong in your heart... then still have pity on the other Achaians of the army in their affliction". However, the story of Achilles does not end in book 9.

  1. Outline your understanding of the Oedipus complex and its significance for psychoanalysis.

    He begins to fear that his father will learn of his feelings and castrate him. This castration anxiety stems from adults telling him they will cut it off when they see him fondling himself and his 'assumption that, because girls are without a penis, they must have suffered castration' (Storr, 2001, p.33).

  2. Describe the main temples on the Altis. Which in your opinion is the most ...

    There are 34 columns in all and they are quite remarkable. The capitals were topped with rich gold, blue and red paints. There were over 100 lion- headed water spouts which channelled the rain water away from the roof. This was thought to have been influenced by the Heraion.

  1. Exekias and the Amasis painter are renowned artists of their time, with well known ...

    Both painter have approached the theme of Dionysus, The Amasis Painter depicts a more common scene of Dionysus and two maenads, whilst Exekias portrays the tale of Dionysus and the pirates. Dionysus and the two maenads unlike other pots uses the whole field and has boarders on the side of spirals giving the impression of shrubbery.

  2. Discuss the contribution of material culture studies to the understanding of social identity.

    Roth has pointed out that the concept of bricolage could be useful for the "study of Romanisation processes at all levels of society".13 However he approaches Terrenato's book with caution as he states that it mostly focuses on the social identity of elites.

  1. How do the makers of The Simpsons use a simple cartoon format to combine ...

    As well as relating to real life, this comment emphasises Bart's personality in the cartoon which is a common theme. The comment illustrates Bart's apathy and his interest only in gratuitous violence, as well as other frowned-upon traits, because the scene containing the comment, where Bart is animated and full

  2. An analysis of how dikh ('justice') and its associated values are presented and translated ...

    They presumably feel otherwise. In just this one passage justice is used to mean custom, just, revenge and vengeance. The second extract follows immediately after the news of Orestes death (Ibid., pg 91) when Clytaemnestra, after a brief moment of sorrow is joyous at the news that her life is now safe.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work