Superman, a well-known superhuman character both in the past and in the present is believed to have originated from Krypton. He was given the name Kal by Jor-El and Lara who were his biological parents. However, Jor-El and Lara received information that Krypton would be destroyed. With an aim of protecting his son from perishing in this destruction, Jor-El constructs a spacecraft for Kal-El, which would later take him to Earth where he would be safe from harm. Moments before Krypton is completely destroyed, Jor-El releases the spacecraft to Earth. Immediately, Krypton is destroyed and the debris of the planet is turned to kryptonite, a toxic substance that is believed to have superpowers when it comes into contact with the heat of the sun’s yellow rays.
Later on, a passing motorist in the United States finds the spacecraft with little Kal-El in it. Kal-El then finds his new parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent who take him up for adoption and give him the name Clark Kent. As he grows up, he is discovered to have superhuman powers and his parents teach him to use these powers for the benefit of others by fighting crime. Clark keeps his superpower ability as a secret but eventually takes up his new name, Superman.
‘Superman’ is a modern myth because it reflects the reliance of humans on super humans for protection and direction. Throughout his life,superman is seen to be a savior. He saves people from difficult and life-threatening conditions. For instance, he is seen to save children from burning buildings and even adults from a volcano that threatens to kill them. Every human being craves for protection and salvation from life-threatening situations. Culturally, death is feared by everyone regardless of their class or status. It is also evident that ‘Superman’s’ actions are driven by love. The society craves for love from all over. He loves people so much that he uses his superhuman powers to protect them from falling buildings, fires, and natural calamities.
One relation of ‘Superman’ to Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ is the idea of supernatural transformation. ‘Superman’, initially referred to as Kal-El is born without any superpowers. He grows up and is sent to earth after the destruction of Krypton but never realizes his ability until he is old enough to handle it. He is transformed from a small, feeble human to a super-powered human with unique abilities. Suddenly, he receives the supernatural ability to fly and move at a high speed. He equally possesses the ability to save multitudes from destruction with his immense strength. In Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’, Gregor suddenly transforms into an insect (Ovid Book the Tenth). He acquires the body of an insect and attains the ability to fly anywhere at any time. Grete, on the other hand also goes through a transformation process from a child to an adult. She begins to take up the adult duties despite the fact that she is still a girl. She steadily matures after taking the position of an adult and takes the position of a breadwinner in her family. Gregor becomes wholly dependent on her.
One major aspect that qualifies ‘Superman’ as a myth is his resemblance to characters in the Bible. For instance, Superman can be compared to Moses in the Old Testament. His mother made a fine basket for him and placed him in the water. He is then saved by Pharaoh’s daughter and gets new parents in the land of Egypt. He gets a new name and status and begins to live like the Egyptians. In the end, God uses Moses to save the Israelites out of the cruel hand of Pharaoh. Israelites are saved out of a life of slavery and taken to the land of Canaan. Superman can be compared to a savior in his days. His adoption by the American couple became the beginning of salvation in the lives of Americans. He begins his mission of saving lives and protecting thousands against harm.
Orpheus and Superman have a number of similarities. Firstly, both of them have superhuman abilities. Orpheus is known for his uniqueness in musical skills and poetry while Superman is known for his strength. Both of these characters use their superpowers to attract people to them. For instance, Superman’s ability to save lives gives him popularity not only among Americans but all over the world. Orpheus, on the other hand, uses his music as a charm to an extent that he tries to call his wife back from the underworld with the same music.
Video Lecture: Ovid & Love
Ovid. Metamorphoses.London: J. Walker & Other Proprietors, 1818