Marriage: Duty Vs. Love In Chinese And Greek Mythology

1106 Words 5 Pages
Marriage: Duty vs. Love,
Morality vs. Humanism

“Mythology of a people is ‘the origin of the people’s philosophy, literature and religion’ and ‘the collective sub-consciousness of the whole people’” (Wang 1). Therefore, studying mythology will help us to understand how the perspectives of a people in a specific culture form and how their attitudes toward what they experience take shape. Furthermore, by comparing and contrasting different mythologies, we can explore how different peoples attempted to analyze the world and explain the phenomena around them and, thus, how different cultures developed the earliest branches of knowledge. This essay will briefly examine the concepts of marriage in Chinese and Greek mythology, how they are represented as well as what significance they have in relation to the respective cultures. In Chinese and Greek mythology, there is a great difference of belief concerning what leads to marriage. In Chinese mythology, “there is no god or goddess of love” (Wang 83). The closest we have to a deity of this type is Yue Lao or “the old man under the moon.” He is represented as an old man carrying a bag of red strings and the book of marriage which “[records] all the marriages in the human world” (Sun, “The Matchmaking God: Yue Lao”). According to these records, Yue Lao ties up people together by their feet as soon as they are born and the tied-up couple would become husband and wife – inevitably. Therefore, in Chinese mythology, Yue Lao’s red thread is the cause of marriage, regardless of whether there is love between people who are bound together or not. In Greek mythology, however, marriage is almost always based on love and Eros, son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, is

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