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How to write a Research Proposal on Betrayal in Mythology

Updated on March 4, 2015

Research Proposal on Betrayal Draft 1

For my final paper I decided to focus on the theme of betrayal in five to seven different cultures. My preliminary research question is: what types of betrayals do different cultures view in the worst light? For instance in one culture adultery might be seen one of the worst betrayals while in another it might be lying or killing. As of now, I have not decided on all of the myths I will be using, however, I feel that the myth Helen of Troy and the Trojan War, Ulster Cycle, and the myths of Enlil fit well with my theme and they are all from different cultures.

For secondary sources I will use the Shapiro library and Google Scholar to search for information on each of the cultures I choose to use for my final paper. I will utilize this information to support the idea that this type of betrayal is, in fact, one of the worst forms in that culture. I will also use a number of sources that are website based that I will find through the use of search engines to find myths that have a betrayal theme, information about the culture, and the myth itself. For media support of my thesis I will look for documentaries and pieces of art relative to the myth and the time period in which each myth occurs. I plan to use the Myth Encyclopedia to figure out which myths to use for my final paper.

My preliminary results of a database query using the terms: Troy myth, Ulster Cycle, and Myths of Osiris provided some results though not many. This leads me to believe I will need to use sources outside of the Shapiro library to find information about the cultures that correspond to the myths that I will be researching. If I do use the Shapiro library I will need to be selective in my search terms and I will need to validate that the information corresponds to the time period of the myth. I will need to use search terms such as: Greece in 1194–1184 BCE, Irish culture, and Mesopotamia culture.

Research Proposal on Betrayal Draft 2

For my final paper I decided to focus on the theme of betrayal in the Greek, Egypt, Norse, Irish, India, and Roman cultures. My preliminary thesis is: these ancient cultures all have had different views on whether adultery, fratricide, or the breakage of the laws of hospitality was one of the greatest betrayals and each culture tends to have a different view of the type of punishment merited for each type of betrayal. For secondary sources I will use the Shapiro library and Google Scholar to search for information on each of the cultures I choose to use for my final paper. I will utilize this information to support the idea that this type of betrayal is, in fact, one of the worst forms in that culture. For media support of my thesis I will look for documentaries and pieces of art relative to the myth and the time period in which each myth occurs. My preliminary research into the theme of betrayal by use of the Shapiro database query has begun using the search terms: Helen and Paris, betrayal in India, Irish hospitality, adultery in ancient Egypt, ancient Roman culture, and myths of Odin. So far I have found a few secondary resources that I believe will be useful in both the annotated bibliography and in my final paper such as: Private Lives and Public Censure: Adultery in Ancient Egypt and Biblical Israel, The Enemy at Home: Fratricide and Civil Strife in Machiavelli’s Thought, and Mythology In Our Midst: A Guide To Cultural References. As I continue to research my chosen myths and their cultures and historical values I will need to refine my search terms by the historical period of the myth like I did for my search on adultery in ancient Egypt. Information on modern Egypt’s views on adultery and fidelity would prove to be useless in regards to my thesis.

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