Elements of Myth

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Elements of Myth

Main Conflict

As I watched, I noticed the following conflicts:

a. Arachne got angry when people attributed her success to Athena

b. Athena was angry at Arachne for disrespecting the gods.

c. Arachne was angry at the old woman for bothering her

d. The old woman was angry that Arachne would not listen

e. Arachne challenged Athena to a spinning contest

f. Arachne angered Athena when she spun insults of Zeus into her weaving.
Which one is the main conflict?

Athena challenges Arachne to a weaving contest.

How do you know? How did you arrive at this decision? How do we know this? Because this is the main event of the story. Remember that the main conflict will have an inciting incident leading up to it, other conflicts and details of the story revolve around it or branch off from it, and the resolution will solve it (or attempt to solve it)
Some people said the main conflict was that Arachne insulted Athena w/ the picture she was weaving. This is not the main conflict because if there was never a weaving contest, then that would not have happened.
Some people said that the disrespect of Athena was the main conflict. However, the same logic from above applies. If Athena reacts right away to disrespect, there would not be a challenge.

Inciting Incident

What led up to the conflict?

Athena hears Arachne bragging and stating she is a better weaver than her. (It is important to include that Athena heard Arachne bragging. If Arachne was bragging on earth and Athena never heard her then a conflict would not happen.)


Did Arachne lose her pride? Did she apologize to Athena? Did Arachne gain respect for the gods?
How did the story end? What part of the ending solved the conflict? Athena turns Arachne into a spider because she was insulting the gods. (To answer this question think about how the conflict ended. The conflict, in this case, is the competition between Athena and Arachne. It ended when Athena turned Arachne into a spider…this is the resolution).

Based on the elements, above, what is the author’s purpose of the myth?

i.e. What does this myth explain?

What is the main purpose of a myth? TO EXPLAIN
What are two types of explanations that myths offer? Myths explain human nature or an element of nature?
Looking at the resolution, we know that Arachne was turned into a spider. Does this myth explain how spiders were made or does it explain what a spider can do? This myth says she was turned into a creature which were named Arachnids – spiders… the word Arachnid seems to come from the name Arachne. In addition the spider could do something unique – they could weave intricate webs – much like Arachne

Therefore the purpose of this myth is to explain… Both the existence of spiders and to explain why they weave webs.

I needed to think about what the ancient Greeks were trying to explain or understand in our world. I knew that the result of the conflict (how it ended) was that Athena turned Arachne into a spider. I also know that Arachne was an excellent weaver, which led me to believe the purpose of this myth is to explain the mere existence of spiders amd/or more specifically why spiders weave such intricate webs.

How did the elements (conflict, inciting incident, and resolution) lead to the purpose?

This myth contains elements of human nature such as pride, respect, disrespect, anger, and boastful behavior (any others?)
Theses connections make the myth relevant to us eto today – we can relate to this story because of these connections. However, we know that this myth is not about these (or any one of the) human nature components. How do we know this? Or Why is this true?

In order to understand the purpose I needed to find the resolution. In order to find the resolution, you need the conflict. In order to find the conflict, you need the inciting incident. The inciting incident is the first action/event that starts the conflict. Athena hears Arachne boasting about her weaving (inciting incident), so she challenges her to a weaving competition (main conflict). The resolution, in this case how the competition ends, is that Athena turns Arachne into a spider because Arachne was insulting the gods.

Since Arachne—a talented weaver—is now a spider we learn that this is why spiders are able to weave webs, which is the purpose of the myth. The resolution to the contest gives an expnantion about some element of nature.

How does the author use the character to convey purpose?

How would you describe Arachne? How did her personality contribute to the conflict or resolution?
How would you describe Athena? How did her personality contribute to the story?

Arachne is boastful, which is necessary to start the inciting incident. If Arachne never boasted about her weaving, then Athena would never have gotten angry and the conflict would never have happened.
In addition, Athena needed to be a prideful god. If she was not prideful, then she would not have cared that Arachne was a talented weaver and the inciting incident (the fact that Athena heard Arachne bragging) would not have lead to the conflict.

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