Some works of literature are heavily based on existing mythology. Are these works on topic here?

To be clear, I am not referring to entirely fictitious mythologies, like Cthulhu or Star Wars mythos.

A few examples:

  • The Homeric epics ("The Odyssey", "The Iliad")
  • The plays of Sophocles ("Oedipus Rex", "Antigone")
  • Wu Cheng'En, "Journey to the West"
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Idylls of the King"
  • Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
  • TH White, "The Once and Future King"

The Homeric epics I've listed more as a point of comparison. So far, the community seems to find the Odyssey on topic, which, I think, seems appropriate.

Similarly, I suspect "The Once and Future King" may be clearly off topic.

The rest of these examples, I find troublingly murky. Would a question about the actions of Haemon in Sophocles telling of "Antigone" be on topic (that is, not including the similar works from Aeschylus or Euripides)? Could a question about the nature or actions of Sun Wukong be (excepting comparisons, like how he relates to Hanuman)?

1 Answer 1


I'd say that the ancient literature at least should be on-topic. Although there is a a distinction between literature and mythology (for example one could say that Greek mythology is something people believed in at the time, while Odyssey was an epic poem people appreciated), some poems were taken from real stories and would not be considered fictional by people at that time. Speaking of Greek mythology, Hesiod's Theogony is a masterpiece of literature and if it were regarded as off-topic, there would be no citation for events such as the creation of the world.

On the other hand, I'd say modern literature should be regarded as off-topic, since it could misrepresent some mythological events.

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