Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Wine, mead and ale: The rhetoric of alcohol in Greek and Germanic mythology
by Froyd, Sean Melvin, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2009, 228; 3417875
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focuses on how the Greek and Germanic cultures dealt with the krataphonic symbol of Alcohol. It examines the literature to understand how the alcohol of each culture (Wine, Mead or Ale) was handled. These two cultures were chosen because both exhibit a standard literary record as well as being relatively equivalent regarding technology and cultural influences in the centuries of study: roughly 800BC–200BC for the Greeks and 700AD–1300AD for the Germanics.

In order to contextually explore the literature this dissertation uses tools found in the field of Rhetoric. The specific tool used to explore alcohol in myth is the Rhetorical Situation, adjusted for the field of Mythological Studies. The Rhetorical Situation is used to study the interaction between the Audience, the Rhetor, and the Rhetoric. The interaction between the three highlights the choices made by each culture as they deal with the symbol and reality of alcohol.

In order to understand the Audience, Daniel Dubuiosson's idea of the Cosmographic Formation is adjusted. Rather than applying it to the entire culture, it focuses on the main elements which would affect alcohol usage: social structure, belief system, geography, technology, and economic system. These elements affected both the audience and the Rhetor, and would explain the choices made in the rhetoric.

The Rhetoric – the myths themselves – is categorized with the Mythologic Schema. This schema categorizes a myth on a diagram representing three aspects of mythology: Supranormal, History and Ritual. By using the schema, the myths are compared as equally as possible between the cultures. This equality ensures that the conclusions reached through the study are contextually sound for each culture, and can be extrapolated to underline what is necessary to handle alcohol in myth and society.

The context of each culture adjusted the choices made by the Rhetor, and affected the way that alcohol was portrayed in the myths. The results of this study showed that the power of alcohol was mitigated by the consequences suffered by the characters. Alcohol was controlled in both cultures by having a standard narrative which justified the cultural response to drinking.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lansing-Smith, Evans
Commitee:
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Classical studies, Comparative literature, Folklore, Rhetoric
Keywords: Alcohol rhetoric, Ale, Germanic, Greek, Mead, Mythology, Wine
Publication Number: 3417875
ISBN: 9781124146706
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