Greek myth is filled with many stories. These stories have many lessons to teach about humanity’s past and insights into human nature.

Statue of Pallas Athena in Vienna, goddess of wisdom in Greek myth. Credit to Yair Haklai.
Statue of Pallas Athena in Vienna, goddess of wisdom in Greek myth. Credit to Yair Haklai.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Greek Myth Lesson #1: Greek Pantheon Shows Human Nature

The pantheon of Greek myth is the most disfunctional family ever.

There is constant fighting between the gods. The gods are prideful and capricious. Greek myth is also filled with the results of these flaws, showing us the impact of human nature.

Zeus in particular shows this well. Him fathering basically half of Ancient Greece brings trouble on most of his children. He is also an arbitrary ruler. In myth, he is very easily irritated and someone to be feared, rather than respected.

Greek Myth Lesson #2: Life Often Sucks For no Reason

Greek myth is filled with stories of heroes being screwed over by things out of their control. The best example of this is Heracles, known as Hercules to the Romans and to modern readers. He is turned insane by Hera, causing him to kill his entire family. Because of this, he has to do his 12 Labors.

This lesson in real life may not be as dramatic, but it still can be very tough due to things we can’t control. Life can also sometimes make you pick up the pieces of someone else’s actions. Greek myth does a very good job of showing this idea.

Greek Myth Lesson #3: The Dangers of Hubris

Hubris, or extreme arrogance, is the most common character flaw in Greek myth. To use another Greek metaphor, they fly to too close to the Sun and suffered the consequences. That Greek myth comes from the story of Daedalus and Icarus. Icarus became very prideful and flew too high. This caused the wax on his wings to melt and resulted in his death.

Another example is the story of Arachne. She considered herself better at weaving than Athena and eventually was turned into a spider. Greek myth is very clear in its lesson that humans should not act like gods or put themselves on that level. This is a lesson that applies to all of us in 2020 as well.

Greek myth is filled with many stories that are relevant to modern times. These lessons are timeless and have long outlived their writers. Greek myth is very human in its description of its characters. As a result, they will continue being important lessons for as long as humans exist.