Mythes et héros / Myths and heroes - Definition and comparison - Anglais - Terminale L

Mythes et héros / Myths and heroes - Definition and comparison - Anglais - Terminale L

Voici une fiche de révision d'Anglais de Terminale L sur "Definition and comparison" du thème "Mythes et héros".

Vous verrez dans un premier temps les défintions des mythes et des héros, puis vous découvrirez quelques mythes étrangers. Enfin, le document rappellera les notions à connaitre et les sujets d'examen possibles.

Téléchargez gratuitement ce cours sur "Myths and heroes" pour le Bac de Littérature.

Mythes et héros / Myths and heroes - Definition and comparison - Anglais - Terminale L

Le contenu du document



A myth is a symbolic and fabled story from a community, a social practice generally orally given which proposes an explanation on the foundations of a world, of a society. It is also a cultural identity in which a society recognizes itself. Therefore, it answers questions and allows a society to feel at peace with itself.


It has a universal characterization rooted in a period, a century and it can be reactualized through time in order to create a new myth.

A myth and its use can justify a political choice when times are tough (for instance during a war).


Myths are a means of influence and can embody an ideology. They allow to rewrite History and mythify a period which has reached its climax (for instance Elizabeth 1st golden age in England)


Myths can rally people but can also oppose them as they don’t belong to the same countries or do not share the same cultural backgrounds.


Through times and with the developpement of new technologies it is more and more difficult to believe in Myths as Science tends to deconstruct and destructure them. 


From times to times, people revolt against the Established myths as they face difficulties or crisis. Therefore, they are looking for someone who will fulfill their expectations and who will reassure them in their beliefs.



Firstly, it is more common to find male heroes. 

-They are transmitting the myth through their acts or speeches. 

-They can be real or completely fictional. 

-They are carrying with them tradition, history and the everyday life.

-They are created through a popular culture which is not afraid to offer new heroes with Time, which is not afraid to let heroes down if they do not correspond to their wishes anymore. Fallen heroes are numerous. 


-They are often discovered by people through books or comics and become famous thanks to a large distribution (with various means: cinema, books, commercials on TV. Even in France where people are not raised with comics, everybody admires Superheroes such as Batman, Superman etc…)

-Many of them are children of a Gods and have underwent an unusual birth and share some of the following powers:


→ special powers like Superman or Spiderman.

→ a great strength like Hulk.

→ a difficult journey: Superman has lost his parents and his planet.

→ their death is not conceivable: they will lose the interest people have for them.

→ They are models which can’t fully be copied but people are trying to get as close as possible: for instance they dress like them, work on their bodies to look like them. 

In the eighties, many people would have like to have the same body as Sylvester Stallone and the fitness clubs were full of men trying to develop their muscles, as if he could bring you a special power.

→ They have an everlasting fame as long as they carry the myth, even if sometimes they are borderline.

→ They feel responsible towards their community, renouncing to their personal life in order to be really focused on their targets and to avoid putting others in danger.


We can conclude that a myth cannot survive if it is not carried on by a hero, because this latter one is visible, not to say touchable for people.

A myth is a concept people can have difficulty to materialize because of their culture, their social and economical background.

A myth can be forgotten or replaced but will remain at the basis of the new one, a hero can fall and be completely erased from people’s mind.

Both myths and heroes contribute to unity and stability of a society. 




Every American is deeply attached to the Constitution. Each time they need help they refer to the text which they consider as sacred. Many people for example are referring to the second amendment to defend their rights to carry a gun. The myth of the weapon as the ultimate way to protect your family.


Thanksgiving is also a myth that American people cherish, believe that one day a dinner was served by people to thank Indians. the myth of the good American sharing with others (We all know that nowadays this myth is quite obsolete as the period of thanksgiving is more a period of spending, showing how much money you have to your neighbors, your families etc…)


The rags to riches story is also a myth conveyed by the medias but also by politicians. But in reality many are suffering and remain poor. However, many people are trying to follow the American Dream, a vivid concept in people’s minds and strongly defended by American people as opposed to Europeans who believe in relationships, equality.



-The Mount Rushmore in Kingstone USA.

- Road 66 in the USA : a myth developped through the book of Kerouac.



-Elvis Presley.

-The Beatles.

- Mickael Jackson and his famous moonwalk or videos.

-Marilyn Monroe.



1. to convey

2. to embody

3. to face/to encounter

4. to struggle

5. everlasting

6. to focus on 

7. conceivable

8. everlasting fame

9. to fulfil

10. to go through



1/Do you think people nowadays are forgetting myths to identify themselves with heroes?

(subject: two parts are enough)


2/ “Humans live through their myths and only endure their realities”.  from Robert Anton Wilson.


(Be careful as it is not a philosophical essay try to be concise: remember you are supposed to count your words at the end).


3/ “Myths which are believed in tend to become true”. 

from George Orwell.


(Be careful giving a complete biography or Orwell is absolutely not necessary)


4/ Should parents avoid to tell bedtime stories with heroes?

(two parts: yes and why       no and why   don’t forget examples)


5/ Do you believe in Myths or in heroes?

(In your introduction don’t forget to give a short definition of both)

Fin de l'extrait

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Les avis sur ce document


Thanks a lot for this lesson ! I disagree too on the whole death problem established by PommeCassis. Although there are quite a few repetitions, the whole subject is well-written and even if I disagree on some points (anglo-saxons myths with american references ? Also, I think American can take a "s" if we talk about the people of America (Americans). I intend to complete this chapter a little bit. I wrote down some exemples for the models of societies such as Superman who embodies values like Antispecism. For the harsh journey I wrote Rosa Parks but that works just as well for any anti-discrimination leaders. c: It lacks a bit of exemple and the range of vocabulary is not quite large, but thanks for sharing ! Have a wonderful day. Sincerely me.

par - le 12/10/2017

Thank you for your article, it's helpful :) But, I disagree with this point: "their death is not conceivable: they will lose the interest people have for them." On the contrary, I think that if a hero die, he will become a icon, a symbol of an ideal. Or he can be a martyr. Well, it's my point of view. ^^

par - le 07/05/2017

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