Main Difference – Myth vs. Legend
Both myths and legends are stories or narratives that are passed from one generation to another. The main difference between myth and legend is that myth is a traditional narrative, particularly one concerning the early history of people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural characters or events whereas legend is a traditional narrative sometimes commonly regarded as historical but not authenticated.
What is a Myth
A myth is a traditional story that is rooted in folk beliefs or religions. They are usually concerned with the early history of a people or explains a natural or social phenomenon using supernatural events or beings. Myths describe stories that take place in a timeless past and involve supernatural or fantastical characters such as deities and demigods. Greek and Roman gods are a good example of myths. The time in these stories is not specific and all the heroes have supernatural powers.
Throughout the history, myths have been used to explain the unexplainable. For example, the story of Chaos in Greek mythology explains how the world was created. The story of the Pandora’s Box explains how pain and suffering came into being. In this story, you can see that Pandora’s Box is also a symbol for suffering and pain. Thus, myths can be also viewed as symbolic stories.
Some famous myths include the story of Narcissus and Echo, adventures of Hercules, the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, the story of Loki etc.
What is a Legend
A legend is a traditional narrative that is popularly perceived to be historical fact, but not authenticated. Legends usually have some connection to real events or locations and there is some factual basis in legends; this is why they are popularly believed to be true.
Legends are also woven around historical figures who are considered as heroes. But their heroic deeds are often exaggerated and distorted in legends. However, these characters and events may be incorporated with many supernatural elements.
Considering all these facts, we can come to the conclusion that though legends may have some facts, they are not entirely factual or real.
Some examples for famous legends include Tales of Robin Hood, King Arthur, William Tell, El Dorado, the story of Rama and Sita etc.
Difference Between Myth and Legend
Myth is a traditional story especially one concerning the early history of people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.
Legend is a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated
There are no evidence to prove a particular event or character in the Myth is based on real facts.
There is some evidence to prove that a particular event or character in the Legend is based on real facts.
Myths talk about supernatural characters like gods, demigods, and mythical creatures.
Legends talk about historical figures and events, which are exaggerated.
Myths explain the unnatural phenomenon through symbols and metaphors.
Legends are often about heroic deeds or overcoming obstacles.
“The Death of King Arthur by James Archer (1860)” Licensed under Public Domain via Commons