The Cure for Mythology

I’ve made valiant efforts to read and appreciate mythology and found no patience for capricious Greek and Roman gods.
One clear night, my husband and I dined outdoors below the Athenian Acropolis. The Parthenon could’ve been romantic alight within its ruins if it were not for its bloody history. Throughout our world’s art museums and public gardens, you cannot avoid paintings and statues of obscenely muscular gods raping women.
When the Michigan Opera Theatre performed Elektra, I was there with my Art Buddy. This detestable story is strung with infanticide and matricide to its end; speaks of humankind’s hubris and bloodlust. I don’t think modern man needs Greek and Roman lore to see what beasts we can be. We have Hollywood and Media.
Many intellectuals and scholars still cling to the primacy of classical mythology as the foundation of a respectable education. Cass Gilbert, architect of the Detroit Public Library, commissioned the building’s brass doors to give homage to our Greek and Roman literary forefathers.
Truly, I adore the artwork of those doors, the inspiration their beauty evokes. I see Homer in the uppermost panel, the personage of Greek epic poetry. His voice says, “Sing in me, Muse.” When I concluded Homer’s Odyssey, I determined his Muse sang enough myth to last my lifetime.  
Yes, in several of his writings, Wendell Berry draws profound meaning from Homer’s Odysseus and his marriage bed hewn from a tree. The tree is a mighty redemptive symbol throughout civilizations, literature, and our holy scriptures. Alas, the reader must endure the wrath of Odysseus’s gods to reach this worthy image of his home and wife’s fidelity.
Edwin Blashfield included Pindar, the Greek poet, in his Poetry Mural of the Detroit Public Library’s magnificent barreled vault. No matter what mood or angle I approach Pindar’s prose, the fog of graphic horror never lifts to reveal a realistic, fine edge of purpose.
For instance, Pindar wrote the Olympian Ode, a legend of cannibalism; Tantalus serving his son, Pelops, to the gods he invited for dinner. Naturally, his deities weren’t happy about that. What was Pindar’s point?
Dear Reader, why waste time deciphering myth? We have The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow and many other remarkable, eloquent books to read, for Heaven’s sake.
 “We have listened long enough to the courtly muses of Europe,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said. I lean toward his opinion rather than Thomas Bulfinch’s. His Age of Fable (1855) claims the study of myth “could promote virtue and happiness even if it was not useful knowledge.”
I prefer not to gamble on that possibility. The most virtuous and happy people I know haven’t read one word of Greek and Roman mythology, and they’re marvelous storytellers. Speaking true and clear, they’ve encouraged my life-long relationship with literature.
If you need a cure for mythology, I prescribe The Lilac Girl by Ralph Henry Barbour, a gift from a friend when I needed it. The characters, entirely believable and charming, live in a place spared angry Greek gods.