Sunday, 24 February 2013


A mythical character is one that is universally recognised even by those who are unfamiliar with the original text. Usually, the character can be defined in a single phrase like the Great Detective or The Boy Who Never Grew Up. Many modern fictitious characters have become myths:

Sherlock Holmes
Alice in Wonderland
Peter Pan
the Batman
James Bond

Some mythical heroes have mythical villains:

Holmes Moriarty
Bond Blofeld
Superman Luthor
the Batman the Joker
Bulldog Drummond Carl Peterson (ok, maybe they are not universally known)

In an earlier post, I said that the trailer for the upcoming Superman film evokes or expresses that character's mythical status. Although I am way behind with the Smallville TV series, just catching up with Season One on DVD, I have just watched a clip from much later in the series in which Luthor defines the mythical status of himself and his adversary:

Luthor resents Clark's years of deception and dishonesty;
he resents Kryptonian superiority to humanity;
if he had had those powers, he would have gloried in them, not hidden them;
he had earlier suggested that, with his intelligence and Clark's powers, they could rule the world but now he accepts that they are adversaries;
he, Luthor, is great because his enemy is;
"Our story has not been written yet" (or similar words; sorry if the quotation is not exact).

This is a powerful statement of a story known to us all "but ne'er so well expressed", a modern myth.

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