The journey of the hero in the greek folktales (Doctoral thesis)

Τσακτσίρα, Μαρία Δ.

The topic of our dissertation is “The journey of the hero in the Greek folktales ”. We have studied tales that come from the Greek oral folk culture. The body of our examples consists of fifty four versions of magic folktales. (ATU 300-749), recorded in various Greek regions. These have been selected after careful research in many published collections and folklore journals. We have also studied thoroughly the five volumes of the Greek Index of folktale types and their versions, which are available on the website of the Historical Archive of Greek Youth. We have chosen to include the above mentioned versions in Appendix II.A point of reference for our work is the book of the Russian ethnologist and folklorist Vladimir Propp “The historical roots of the magic tales” (Leningrad 1946), which is an original effort to analyze the content of the folktales on the axis of diachrony. A historical interpretation of important symbols that are interesting for us is attempted in this book. Propp published this research eighteen years after the “Morphology of the Folktale” but it only became known in the western world much later. We present the content of the “Historical roots” in Appendix I. The reader can find there the summaries of the ten chapters of the book, enriched with some extracts of the original text. The full translation and publication of the book in the Greek language is in progress. In the introductory chapter of the German translation (Munich 1987) from which we have quoted, Propp mentions that the folktale has retained some elements of the rituals and customs of the pre – class society, a fact that explains why many symbols can be genetically interpreted through the comparison with these rituals. However, he supports that it would be a tragic mistake to adopt a mere empirical point of view and to study the folktale as a kind of chronicle. The criterion with which we have chosen our versions is that they present heroes who move and travel; that is we focus on tracing magic folktales with a specific structure, which reveals a narrative journey to the supernatural sphere and a symbolic wandering. We are especially interested in the Proppian functions and the symbols that can be spotted in the quest from the hero’s departure until their return. The folktale symbolisms we have analyzed originate from two big, intersecting circles: the circle of the initiatory rituals and the circle of perceptions regarding death and the metaphysical world. Propp believes that the first circle is the oldest basis of the magic folktale. All symbolisms that are included in the ‘‘initiation circle’’ can be connected and produce an endless number of tales. The magic folktale has retained religious beliefs concerning death and the existence of the soul after death. The hero’s journey represents a symbolic passage to the state of death, the triumphant return from this state and the resurrection of the hero to a new reborn person.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Σχολή Επιστημών Αγωγής. Παιδαγωγικό Τμήμα Νηπιαγωγών
Subject classification: Παραμύθια
Keywords: Θάνατος,Ταξίδια,Τελετουργικό μύησης,Λαϊκό μαγικό παραμύθι,Propp,Σύμβολα θανάτου και αναγέννησης,Death,Journey,Rituals of initiation,Folktales of magic,Propp,Symbols of death and resurrection
Appears in Collections:Διδακτορικές Διατριβές

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