Disney's The Lion King is one of the most iconic children's films of all time. However, behind the Hakunah Matata lies a movie laced with symbolism and mythical references. An online article from Thinkquest.org informs that the movie's popular Elephant Graveyard represents the mythical Realm of Hades. The article continues to delve deeper into the symbolism, stating that the three hyenas, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, represent the three-headed beast, Cerebus, that guards Hades' Realm. The themes and plot lines of the modern era's most famous books and movies trace back to the Greek myths. Medicines are named after the characters of famous myths. Businesses choose the names of their companies and products from the ancient myths, lores, and various deities. Everyday phrases reference the centuries-old stories. Today, Greek mythology can be found in modern medicine, businesses, and language.
Names of various Greek deities and other symbols from mythology have maneuvered their way into modern medicine. Morphine, a pain reliever administered daily to patients in hospitals around the world, can be traced back to the mythology of the Greeks. The name of this popular narcotic is derived from the Greek God of Sleep, Morpheus (Impact of Greek Mythology). However, this isn't the only link modern medicine has to the ancient mythology. An online article, “Medicine in Mythology and Literature”, recognizes one of the symbols used to portray the oncoming of diseases to be the arrows of two Greek deities, the twins Artemis and Apollo. The article continues to delve further into the intertwining of mythology and medicine, claiming that one of the most famous feats performed by one of mythology's most recognized characters, Hercules, was written to symbolize the plague that once spread through the ancient Greek city of Lernea. According to the article “Medicine in Mythology and Literature”, the hydra, a mythological beast, was the symbol of the plague. Once Hercules beheaded the beast, the skin fused back together and multiple heads grew back. This regrowth, the article insists, portrays the rapid and undeniable spread of the disease that once ravaged the city. However, medicine isn't the only aspect of modern culture that has been influenced by Greek mythology.
Businesses have kept the ancient stories alive through the names of their companies and products. Amazon.com, one of the internet's most popular websites, derived its name from a mythical group of wise warrior women (“Mythology in Modern Business”). According to the the online article, “Mythology In Modern Business”, the god of music, light, and male beauty is the namesake for the popular New York City Music Hall, the Apollo Theater. One of the most widely-known myths is that of the gorgon Medusa; “Mythology In Modern Business” shares that one company, the Medusa Cement Company, felt a special connection with the gorgon and chose her as their namesake. The website continues to provide information about the winged goddess of victory, Nike, who was not only able to run at great speeds but whose name was chosen to represent one of the most famous brands of modern time. Tree.com's article, “Impact of Greek Mythology on Western Culture”, informs that the name of the popular brand of cleaning supplies, Ajax, was acquired from the hero of Homer's famous Illiad. Greek mythology is popular within the film industry: one example is the popular film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception. This film portrays the myth of the labyrinth, a dark and complex maze deep underground the ancient city of Crete. The mythical Princess Ariadne was the only one who knew the secret to maneuvering the labyrinth, home of the monstrous Minotaur; in the film Inception,the dream represents the labyrinth and the architect Ariadne was the only one who knew the path through the dreams – the projections within the subconscious represent the Minotaur. Businesses, as well as the film industry, have been vastly impacted by the mythical stories of the Greeks.
Language is perhaps the aspect of Western culture that has been most effected by the mythology of the Greeks. Tree.com's online article, “The Impact of Greek Mythology on Western Culture”, provides multiple examples of the usage of terms inspired by myths and deities. The article gives the example of the term “herculean task” - this term came from the feats accomplished by the famous demigod. The article continues to point out that the word“aphrodisiac” roots back to the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Any internet user has been victim of a Trojan Virus at some point in time or another; few people know that the name of these viruses was taken from the myth of the Trojan Horse, which was used to infiltrate Troy's defenses during the Trojan War. When one comes upon something particularly convoluted or complex, the term labyrinthine may come to mind to describe the situation; the term references the labyrinth built by orders of the mythological King Minos of Crete to house the monstrous Minotaur, as stated in Tree.com's article. The article also points out that each of the planets and many of the moons within our solar system are named after Greek deities; another name for our planet is Gaia, who was the Greek earth mother (Impact of Greek Mythology). The aforementioned article from Tree.com shares that modern atlases received their name from the titan who held the earth upon his shoulders. Mythweb.com's article, “Lesson Plans and Activities”, explains the myth behind the word “tantalizing”: a man named Tantalus, granted the honor of sharing nectar with the gods, took more than his fair share and was banished to an island of fruit trees with fresh, juicy fruit just out of reach and crystal clear waters that receded anytime he neared them; the fruit and water were tantalizing to the man.
References are made everyday to Greek mythology, whether one knows it or not. Medicine administered to patients in hospitals around the world everyday takes its name from the Greek God of Sleep. Businesses name their companies and products after the heroes and gods of the ancient lores; names and phrases are said, all referring back to the myths created thousands of years ago. Words referring to the ancient myths are muttered without a second though as to where the terms originated. Phrases are uttered, books are read, products are used, movies are watched. The references are there, one just has to open their eyes.