ver time, humans have always created stories and conjured up personifications of evil to explain the unknown - whether it was the myth of the vampire, spurred on by Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the receding of skin that causes a corpse’s nails to appear longer, or the myth of Wendigos, a create of evil in Native American culture. Many cultures and civilizations, new and old, have their fairytales and monsters in the dark, to explain the unknown. We see this in Beowulf, where Grendel is a representation of Satanic evil in the Bible due to the heavy influence of faith in Germanic warrior society, as opposed to monsters in modern society such as the zombie, which is a reflection of evolving political fears. In Beowulf, the first antagonist the reader
As children grow older they are taught to be wary of new threats and they begin to view monsters in a different light. It is no longer a monster in a closest that keeps people on edge at night, but rather stories of serial killers, malicious rapists, and savage terrorists. At some point in their lives, people come to the reality that monsters do not
L. Andrew Cooper and Brandy Ball Blake are analytical when explaining the origins of monsters and how every monster ever told in a tall tale or written in a novel, represents good or bad omens. All of the monsters described were analyzed in depth but left the door open to questions about how monsters have changed over the past hundred years. For example, monsters told in stories by the elderly hundreds of years ago were warnings about the dangers that could occur when tampering with nature or with gods. In Greek mythology, almost all stories that talked about mortals, demigods, and monsters, sent a message to the empire of Greece to respect and obey the gods in order for the god to have mercy on them. For example, the story of Arachne the weaver and Athena explained how challenging a god could end in a fatal decision.
Friedrich Nietzsche, a prominent leader in the existentialist and postmodern movement, once stated, “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.” Stereotypically, monsters are viewed as the foil to humanity, devoid of reason, compassion, and the gentle nature of humans. Contrary, humans are often portrayed as valiant and reasonable beings, who protect kin and society from evils. Nevertheless, there is only a small difference between the two sides, and they are brought into continued interaction with each other. In these interactions, by challenging the physical and psychological processes of human nature, “monsters” are able to test conventional understandings of humans, forcing them to choose between keeping
The body cavities of Scythian’s were described as “extremely moist.” (AWP 164) Europeans who lived in warm lowlands had “bilious, rather than phlegmatic” constitutions. (AWP 168) The author goes as far as to state, “…the Scythian race is as far removed from the rest of mankind as can be imagined….” (AWP 163) These descriptions in the text were meant to help educate the physician in how to best treat different races of people, as well to establish their physiological differences.
Cohen suggests that every monster, villain, antagonist, or scary thing in a piece of writing, represents some major cultural issue that the world is facing at that time. Monsters are used to present the cultural problem as something that can be solved. Each of Cohen’s seven theses
Comparing society in Beowulf and society in Frankenstein is like comparing a simple farm to the processing plant; futuristic and totally dissimilar. Although, the core ‘monsters’ are unchanged; grotesque, horrifyingly pagan-esque beings of the dark that strike terror in to the hearts of even the stoutest of fighters and the sanest of men. In the Christian and Medieval world, monsters were human beings with an unnatural birth or a birth deformity (Stitt, 2003). The term ‘monster’ derives from the Latin term ‘monere’ which means ‘To warn’ or ‘to advise’ and ‘monstrum’ which is ‘a sign or portent that disrupts the natural order as evidence of divine displeasure’. The aspect of ‘Divine Displeasure’ is attributed almost perfectly to Grendel, the monster of Beowulf and the terror of Hrothgar.
In Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s Monster Culture (Seven Thesis), Cohen analyzes the psychology behind monsters and how, rather than being a monstrous beast for the protagonist of the story to play against, “the monster signifies something other than itself”. Cohen makes the claim that by analyzing monsters in mythology and stories, you can learn much about the culture that gave rise to them. In Thesis 1 of Monster Culture, Cohen proposes that “the monster’s body literally incorporates fear, desire, anxiety, and fantasy”, specifically the fear, desire and anxiety of the cultures that gave rise to it;; fFor example, vVampires, undead, represent a fear of death. Monsters are born of an intense fear, desire, or internal conflict, “at this metaphorical
Monsters are born in literature through their words, origins, thoughts, and actions. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, as well as Burton Raffel’s Beowulf, contain such monsters that are large impediments to the hero’s quest. Also the expeditions or quests are affected in terms of intimidation by the monsters who are always overwhelming at first to the pessimistic eye such as how the Israelites viewed Goliath, the Philistine, when David went to fight him. A monster’s thoughts, origins, and words are often used to construct the description of monstrosity in literature and are very critical.
The monster archetype has been one of the most riveting archetypes that surrounds the concept of ‘evil’. It has been portrayed as a supernatural creature with grotesque features that normally brings disruption to the city and needs to be tamed or controlled to bring once again peace to the story. Due to this, it is most commonly depicted with a negative connotation, and with the idea of horror and fear. The monster has been present since the bible, which was written approximately 3,400 years ago, with the anecdote of Goliath. It has remained with its primary role of converting the protagonist into a hero and providing fear to the storyline.
These creatures can have their origin in the supernatural realm or come about through ominous scientific experiments, often times the two are very hard to differentiate(cf. Hurley 192). A popular reading of this trope is the notion of repressed anxieties and desires manifesting themselves in the form of monsters (cf. Dryden 20, cf. Halberstam 9).
To answer the question of “Who is the monster?” when talking about “War of the worlds” and “Monsters”, one must understand what a monster is. A monster is not simply a creature so ugly or monstrous it frightens people, it can also be defined as a person or thing who excites horror by wickedness or cruelty. This second definition establishes that we, humans, can be classed as a monster even if we do not fit the stereotypical description of what a monster looks like. This question is an important
Julius Caesar: The Influence of The Common Person Former editor-in-chief of the international magazine, The Economist, Walter Bagehot once said, “Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to drink other men’s thoughts; to speak other men’s words, to follow other men’s habits.” The plebeians throughout the play of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare were easily influenced by not only the main characters of the play but also by each other. We can see them play off of the emotions and reactions of one another. The plebeians, much like people today, were heavily persuaded by those around them.