THE MYTH OF THE BIRTH OF THE HEROby Otto Rank
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The Myth of the Birth of the Hero — A Psychological Interpretation of Mythology. is an account for the astounding similarity of such myths on the hypothesis that the myth-makers have credited the hero with their own childhood fantasies. Wishing to be a hero itself, the folk-mind invests the hero with the first heroic act of universal childhood—the revolt in fantasy against the father, and the replacement by the little rebel of both parents for more illustrious and romantic ones. All the myths of heroes reveal the endeavour to get rid of the parents, and the hero overcomes many obstacles to re-possess his own. This hostile attitude of the hero toward his parentage concerns especially the father — in the case of a heroine, it would doubtless more concern the mother. That imaginative faculty which in the childhood of races invested heroes with miraculous birth or rearing, is in our day found in its active unchecked exuberance only in childhood.
All our lives each one of us is finding how in one respect or another we have failed to grow up; how, though in most ways mature, we have left open a little secret avenue by which we may escape from reality. Each of us treasures, less or more openly, his secret of an empress — even though he has not been brought up by Mrs. Kaiser.
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