Morales Myths: Origin, Characteristics and Examples

The moral myths they are those in which the fight of good against evil or gods against demons is represented. They seek to offer a teaching or moral lesson about aspects of people's daily lives. Like all myths, they are simple stories that are part of the tradition of the people and are transmitted between generations.

One of the main characteristics of moral myths is the Manichaeism or duality of its content. That is, good and bad, right and wrong, good and evil, sacred and profane, etc. In addition, they are dramatic stories that appeal to the sacred, because they are based on literal or distorted religious teachings.

Moral myths Myth of Plato's cave.

The moral myth uses magic and uses its symbols to explain the natural or supernatural events that it narrates. Myths in general are imaginary stories that are told orally or written about fantastic characters and incredible facts.

In these stories usually intervene gods, demons or monsters and all kinds of supernatural characters. However, in modern myths other common characters also intervene and deal with events or everyday issues.


  • 1 Origin
  • 2 characteristics
  • 3 Lessons from moral myths
  • 4 Examples
    • 4.1 The cavern of Plato
    • 4.2 The 10 Commandments
    • 4.3 The heaven and the hell
    • 4.4 Australian myth of Biame
  • 5 References


Myths were born in ancient Greece as a narrative resource through which natural phenomena or aspects of everyday life could be explained for which there was no answer. In these are supposed episodes occurred to the ancestors or the gods.

The origin of moral myths also took place in Greece, and throughout history appear in all societies, cultures and religions.

This is due precisely to its educational or formative characteristic, as well as its explanatory content about good and evil which, by the way, varies between one society and another.

Moral myths are considered among the most important that exist. Currently they are seen more as creations of the human mind and cultural or social manifestations than as deformed historical accounts.


The myth usually develops based on a real element or truth. Its difference with the legend is that in this there are certain historical aspects, which give it credibility and make it credible; it unfolds between reality and fiction. On the other hand, the myth is a magical and unreal story, although it contributes"moral truths".

The following are some of its basic characteristics and common with other myths:

- They have a universal character. Moral myths exist in all peoples and cultures, and are used as a means to explain life and the world.

- It is usually a traditional narration transmitted orally or in writing and is part of popular folklore.

- It is a story that tried or tries to be a true explanation of the natural world.

- Use symbolism and analogies to represent different phenomena and things, such as storms, winds, mountains, seas, fire or water, trees or stones.

- Often their characters are unreal (gods, monsters, supernatural beings) but not always, because real invented characters can also intervene.

- The plot can develop between two worlds (the previous or supernatural world and this world).

- The events he describes unfold and break with the natural laws, which reflects the connection of the fact that narrates with the previous world.

- Almost always offers a metaphysical / cosmogonic explanation about the world and the universe.

- It is a practical or functional story; that is, it indicates and invites action on how to live, what to do and what not to do. It transmits moral values, visions of the world and of life.

- There is a permanent evocation to the mystery and the sacred. It focuses on the unknown.

- It is a narration of Manichaean character (good-bad, sacred-profane, light-dark) that contains a reflection with formative intention.

- It develops on a narrative-metaphorical plane of ontological type (study of being). Through moral myths we try to explain our mission in the world and answer questions like who we are, what our purpose is and why we are here.

- The moral myth is associated with the beliefs and religious practices of each society.

Lessons from moral myths

These are some of the most common lessons that moral myths convey:

- Good always imposes itself on evil, regardless of the subject dealt with in the myth.

- Destiny can not be changed, we are all born with a mission in life.

- Arrogance is a danger that can lead us astray.

- We must always sacrifice ourselves for our family and loved ones.

- Blood calls blood, violence breeds violence.

- The country comes first. You have to sacrifice yourself for this because God wants it.

- We must not succumb to temptation (Adam and Eve), because we can obtain catastrophic results (Pandora's Box).

- We must love the family and respect the elderly.

- Do not challenge destiny or nature (the anger of the gods).


The cavern of Plato

He myth of Plato's cave It is an example of a moral myth. This is an analogy about the reality of human knowledge. It was created by the Greek philosopher Plato to expose figuratively how life chains people looking towards the wall of a cave.

This happens from the moment of birth to death. Through this simile, Plato teaches that the shadows we see reflected on the wall are our life and the reality of the world.

He also uses this figure to explain how and for what he himself taught and transmitted his knowledge, in order to"liberate"people from the"bondage of the reality of the cave".

People tend to be comfortable in the midst of their ignorance and become violent towards those who try to make them see it. Thus, the task of teaching people to self-govern becomes more difficult.

The 10 Commandments

Some non-Catholics consider that the Tablets of Moses are a myth. This narrative describes how God dictated to the prophet Moses his laws for human coexistence. The 10 commandments contained in these speak of not killing, not stealing, not wishing the neighbor's wife, etc.

Christian and Jewish ethics is based on these tables, which define the good of evil in order that humanity may live in harmony.

The heaven and the hell

The Christian religion, like all others, is full of moral myths; One of the most important is heaven and hell.

The sky is a space that represents good and where good people go when they die. Hell is the dimension of evil; there go the sinful people of the Earth.

Australian myth of Biame

Through this myth of creation it is about explaining how all living beings on Earth were created. The three tribes created were composed of birds, fish and living beings of Earth, as well as a supernatural creature called Platypus.

The story concludes with a moral, which more or less tries to indicate that all beings are equally important, even with our differences.


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