There is a Greek
in your English!
Greek mythology has had a lasting influence on both English language and literature
Some popular phrases named after Greek heroes are used quite commonly in English. These phrases carry stories of significance and are used unknowingly, quite often by us. The idiom ‘Achilles Heel’ means a weak spot, but do you know the interesting story behind it? Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War, was a formidable warrior, however, it was foretold that he would die in battle from an arrow in the foot. To avert this, his mother Thetis dipped Achilles in the River Styx which offered powers of invincibility. Thetis held Achilles by the heel; as a result his heel was not dipped in the water of the magical river.
Similarly, a Trojan horse is a destructive programme that impersonates as an application. The software appears to perform an advantageous function but steals information or harms the system. The term is derived from the Greek myth of the Trojan War, in which the Greeks gave a giant wooden horse to the Trojans, as a peace offering, However, the Greek soldiers hidden in the horse's hollow belly went on to capture Troy.
Cassandra, the beautiful daughter of King Priam was granted the gift of prophecy by a besotted Apollo. However, when she did not
return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions, so a ‘Cassandra utterance' is a warning that is not taken seriously. An ‘Odyssey’ means to take a long voyage or a trip. This word is derived from the Greek epic poem by Homer, describing the ten-year homeward wanderings of Odysseus after the fall
of Troy as he struggled to return home and re-establish himself as king of Ithaca.
Narcissus was a handsome youth who refused all offers of love, including that of Echo. As punishment, he was made to fall in love with his own reflection in a mountain pool. Powerless to possess the image, he pined away and was turned into a flower and what we got was the noun narcissist meaning an excessive love or
admiration of oneself.
Even an innocuous word like siren has a Greek legacy. In Greek mythology, the Sirens were giant, winged creatures with the heads of women. They lived on rocks on the sea, and their wonderful singing enticed sailors into shipwreck. In common parlance sirens are charming women with doubtful designs. Two very important psychological complexes stem from Greek mythology; the Oedipus complex and the Electra complex.
The Oedipus complex derives the Greek mythological character
Oedipus, who unwittingly kills his father, Laius, and marries his
mother, Jocasta. The Electra complex draws from the 5th-century BC Greek mythological character Electra, who plotted matricidal
revenge with Orestes, her brother, against their mother Clytemnestra, and Aegisthus, their stepfather, for murdering their father, Agamemnon. A Triton among the Minnows means "A great man among a host of inferiors." Triton, a Greek god, is the messenger of the big sea. He is the son and herald of Poseidon, god of the sea.