Understanding Mythological Monsters Essay

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Monsters are towering, fierce beings best known for causing nightmares and battling heroes. Tales are told of their devastating power, but also of their agonizing defeats. Monsters are symbols of the inherent evil of human nature and of the dark truths of the natural world. Monsters are also challenges, tasks a hero must complete. Sometimes monsters are the ultimate measure of a hero’s worth, other times just another step in a hero’s journey. In the book Bulfinch’s Mythology, Thomas Bulfinch writes that “Monsters, in the language of mythology, were beings of unnatural proportions or parts, usually regarded with terror, as possessing immense strength and ferocity, which they employed for the injury and annoyance of men.” Although…show more content…
With this system of classification it is easier to look at individual traits and how they came to be. Of course human monsters are just as one should expect, monsters that look and act like humans. Although human monsters look and act like humans, small nuances differentiate them from the human race. These traits can come in the form of difference in height, complexion, number of body parts, and behavior. For example, Humbaba, the giant from the Assyrian myth of Gilgamesh, is described as such, “his face is as fearsome as a lion’s, his dreadful rear resounds through out the forest like a river that is swollen with flood. His teeth are those of a dragon, and flames issue forth from his mouth” (Rosenberg 34). What separates Humbaba from the humans is that he is a terrifying giant. He is larger than humans and has a great anger for anyone who attempts to enter the Cedar Forest. Although Humbaba is a giant he still shows human characteristics when he begs Gilgamesh to spare his life, this shows the even though they are monsters they still can show emotion. Other examples of human monsters are gorgons, which are known for their incredible ugliness. It is rumored that if one would look into a gorgon’s eyes, that they would turn to stone. Cyclopes are also another type of human monster, being giants that only have one eye in the middle of their forehead. The cyclopes were born to Uranus and Gaea along with the hundred-hand giants, which are (as

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