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Essay on The Popol Vuh: The Guatemala Myths

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The Popol Vuh is a collection of historical mythos of the K’iche’ Maya, a group that still lives in the Guatemalan highlands. Popol Vuh translates as either, “Book of Council” or in proper K’iche’ “Book of Events” or “Book of the People”, and tells the creation mythos of the K’iche’ peoples, an epic tale of Hero Twins Hunahpú and Xbalanqué, along with a series of genealogies. Popol Vuh takes on a large number of subjects, including creation, history, destiny and cosmology. Popular editions of Popol Vuh all use basically the same method of breaking the text up into related pieces, but for clarity’s sake the edition that will be described here takes the organizational structure put forth by Brasseur de Bourbourg (Introduction, Pts 1-4).…show more content…
The second part of Popol Vuh deals primarily with the lineage of those portrayed within it. Xpiyacoc and Xmucané fathered Hun Hunahpú and Vucab Hunahpú. Hun Hunahpú and Xbaquiyalo fathered Hunbatz and Hunchouén. Later on, the Hero Twins are reintroduced. Hunter and Jaguar deer, or Hunahpú and Xblanqué are the classic “Heroic Twins”, and follow the template for such stories. Hunahpú and Xblanqué, like their father and uncle, Hun Hunahpu, and Vucab Hunapu, are ball players. Hun Hunahpu and Vucab Hunapu are summoned to Xibalba, by the rulers of the underworld, whereupon, they are beaten and sacrificed. The mother of the twins survives this ordeal, and flees Xibalba. The twins grow up; eventually go to Xibalba to avenge the death of their father and uncle. After many trials and a journey of self-discovery, they defeat the rulers of the underworld in the ballgame. The ballgame motif is brought up again later in the second part, when Hunter and Jaguar deer are summoned down to the underworld for the same offense their father and uncle were summoned for (playing the ballgame too loudly). Unlike their father and uncle, Hunter and Jaguar deer are able to win against the rulers of the underworld, and instead of being slain, they ascend to the heavens and become constellations
The creation myth comes to fruition in the third part of Popol Vuh. Animals, which were created with the “wood people”,
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