King Midas is given a second chance and relinquishes his golden-gift; Orpheus is reunited with his beloved by the gods; Prometheus is freed from bondage and able to re-join his people.
Joseph Campbell tells us that the happy ending of fairy tales and myth should be read as a transcendence of the tragedy of human life. In this, the objective world stays same but there occurs a transformative shift in the subject:
“Where formerly life and death contended, now enduring being is made manifest – as indifferent to the accidents of time as water boiling in a pot is to destiny of a bubble, or as the cosmos to the appearance and disappearance of a galaxy of stars”.
Tragedy is the shattering of forms and our attachment to the forms; Comedy is the wild, careless, joy and affirmation of life. Both are part of a single mythological theme – a down-going and an up-coming which together comprise the totality of revelation of life. A person must know and love both if he is to be purged (Katharsis) of original sin (disobedience to divine will) and death (identifying with the mortal form).
Mythology and fairy tale reveal the way from of the dark interior from tragedy to comedy; incidents are fantastic and unreal because they represent psychological not physical triumphs. Even with a real person, their deeds are dreamlike; the point is not that such a thing or event happened but that before that happened a more primary thing had to come to pass in the inner labyrinth of the psyche.
“The passage of the mythological hero may be over ground, incidentally; fundamentally it is inward -in to the depths where obscure resistances are overcome, and long-lost forgotten powers are revivified, to be made available for the transfiguration of the world”.
Prometheus returns from the heavens with fire; Orpheus journeys into the underworld; Theseus enters the labyrinth of the Minotaur. Through their trials they are transformed and return with thei gifts to the world.