Ancient/Medieval Monstrosity and the “Act of Fear”

In Michael Chemers’ brief account of the “act of fear” (found on pp. 10-13 of the Introduction to ‘The Monster in Theatre History’), he mentions the scientific view that fear is “a neurobiological response to certain stimuli” and then goes on to note that “not only what we fear but also how we conceive and define what we fear” varies from time to time, place to place, and person to person.  For the first section of your blogpost, I’d like you to quote something interesting that Chemers says about “the act of fear” as it pertains to literature, and apply this quotation to one of the monstrous characters and stories from ancient Greece and medieval Europe assigned for class this week. Elaborating on your thoughts, you might consider:  How does Chemers’ idea about fear connect up to the story in question?  And in this story, which character is afraid, what are they afraid of, and how does it impact their behavior? Furthermore, what does this representation of fear suggest about the writer or society that spawned this particular story?

In recent class discussions we have mentioned several times that Unit Two will simultaneously move us forward into the realm of imaginary monsters, but also backward in that we will make frequent connections between our make-believe creatures and the various historical ideas and “real life” monsters we examined in Unit One.  So, for some early practice using this kind of thinking, in the second section of your blogpost I want you to connect an imaginary monster assigned for this week with a specific “real life” figure or idea from our studies of these periods during Unit One.  In other words, what are some of the links you can identify between the creative and historical monsters of the ancient and medieval worlds, and what larger ideas or issues can we discover through these connections?

305 thoughts on “Ancient/Medieval Monstrosity and the “Act of Fear”

  1. “[The Monster is] an embodiment of a cultural movement- of a time, a place, and a feeling. The Monsters body quiet literally incorporates fear, desire, and fantasy giving them life and a uncanny independence” (Chemmers). I found that this quote was relatable to the idea of the “act of fear” because it incorporates how the monster body can be not just physical but cultural or fears or desires. This act of fear is relatable to any ancient greek story that we studied like Odysseus and his journey home or the story of medusa because they follow a wheel of moments a person must go through in order to become a hero. This person gains knowledge and and sets forth on a journey where he is crossing the unknown and has to face fears or monsters and this is where i believe the act of fear is incorporated with our greek mythological text. Like Odysseus and his journey home where he is faced with a monstrous Cyclops and then dooms his journey home with his cockiness.
    For the second section of the blog post i want to talk about how imaginary monster like the cyclops from the story of Odysseus and his journey home; and how it relates to one of the more real life monsters we studied in unit one. For instance you can relate the fact that all monsters resemble a abnormal physical quality or aspect to them like the people who played in circus shows. Some of these people were either twins that were born attached or others like extremely hair woman or extremely small people. These people were viewed as monstrous to some of its time for these abnormal qualities and it is relatable to how they conceive the cyclops in Odysseus journey. He is large in size and has one eye and he eats people; ergo he is a monster due to this description and can relate to monsters we studied in unit one.

  2. The quote “Fear is a great motivator- perhaps the great motivator-of human behavior” is very interesting to me. It relates to the story “The Odyssey”. In the story, Odysseus and his men get trapped in a Cyclops’s cave. The Cyclops eats some of his men when Odysseus lies to him. Odysseus and his men are terrified of this monster but Odysseus acts heroic when he comes up with a plan to stab the Cyclops in his eye and escape the cave. Fear was a motivator in this story because they rest of the men who were still alive wanted to escape and go back home; they found the courage to face the monster.
    The monster medusa can be related to how society does not treat men and women equally. Medusa was raped, and she was turned into a monster for something a man did because he had no control. It shows how men and women in ancient times were not equal and in our society, it is still the same way. Today, it is not uncommon for a woman to be blamed for a sexual assault. They are told it happened to them because they were drunk or wore the wrong clothes. There is also a double standard between men and women when it comes to sex. If a man has sex with multiple women he is seen as great or masculine but if a women does the same, she is seen as a “ho” or “easy”.

  3. Chemer states “Fear is evolutionarily advantageous- learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival strategies.” While looking at this quote the first person that comes to mind is Odysseus from “The Odyssey”. All throughout his journey home Odysseus and his men face obstacle after obstacle and no matter what, always survive. A specific scene in particular that displays this is the scene with Polyphemus, the Cyclops. When the Cyclops eats some of the men Odysseus and his crew are terrified. However, it’s because of that fear that Odysseus steps up and is able to outsmart the Cyclops and get to safety. Whenever Odysseus (or more importantly his men) are fearing for their lives Odysseus steps up to the plate and proves he came overcome these fears and win the battle.

    For the second part of the blog post, I’m going to talk about Medusa. The story of Medusa is as follows: a beautiful woman was sexually assaulted by a god simply because she was too beautiful. Out of anger, Athena cursed her with snakes for hair. If mankind was to look at her again, they would turn to stone. Looking back at our “monsters” from Unit One, Medusa can be related to a majority of them. Almost all the monsters from Unit One were considered monsters for no reason other than the fact that they were different or unknown. Conjoined twins for example, have no say in what happens to them. They have done nothing wrong to be “deemed a monster”. This is very similar to Medusa. Medusa does nothing evil, nothing bad to end up the monster she is transformed into. Even in Ovid’s retelling of he tale she is sleeping when Perseus kills her. She was not fighting him or trying to kill him. She was simply a beautiful woman that a god took advantage of. And like every monster, she became different, and then was ostracized.

  4. In Chemer’s account of “The act of Fear” he states: “And like all emotions, fear can be overpowering, paralyzing and irrational.” This quote can relate to the story of Medusa in many aspects. Frist, Medusa was cursed and stripped of her beauty. This trait can leave people in shock and cause them to tense up and ‘freeze,’ leaving them paralyzed. Medusa was also cursed with a head full of snakes and when a person looked her directly in the eyes they were turned to stone. This can relate to Chemer’s quote because once encountering Medusa, the overpowering fear rises. It is something that no one has seen before, maybe only heard of as a myth or legend so these people act irrationally and stare in astonishment which would ultimately be their “death stare.” Chemer’s idea of fear as whole matched up with the story of Medusa because when people hear of stories, but do not see for themselves what the story is talking about they come up with crazy and wild perceptions of this monster, trying to prepare themselves for the day they might come upon this monster. But when reality hits and the person is in front of the monster, their fear strikes and all the thinking and preparing that they had done previously flies out the window, leaving the person paralyzed and overpowered with fear.
    For unit 1 we discussed real life monsters and for unit 2 we are discussing imaginary monsters. At the end of the day, they are still monsters. The imaginary monsters have similar traits as real-life monsters probably in the fact that the creators of the imaginary monsters based their ideas upon the real-life monsters. One connection I saw from this week’s readings and the monsters we studied in unit 1 was the relationship between The Grendel and Dracula. Both Dracula and The Grendel kept random, innocent people captive as their prisoners. They have a bloodthirst in killing people, in two very different ways and reasonings but they still hold that common ground. They are both considered monsters and try to stay as far away from their home as possible. There is one person in each story though who holds enough courage to face the monster. Although different plots and story lines and time periods both of these monsters hold similar traits and allow readers of both stories to quiver in fright from the monsters.

  5. “Fear is an evolutionary advantageous – learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival strategies. Fear of (death, mutilation, punishment, loss, isolation, and the unknown) is a great motivator – perhaps the greatest motivator – of human behavior. And like all emotions, fear can be paralyzing, irrational and overpowering.” Michael Chemers explains in his excerpt, “The Act of Fear”, that the study of fear is usually the neurobiological response to certain stimuli according to behavioral psychologist. An example of this is demonstrated in the video clip shown in class from the hit 1980s movie, “Clash of Titans”. The epic battle scene between Medusa and our protagonist Perseus is one that will be told for generations to come. Despite his fear, he was able to use “brain over brawn” and devise a plan to behead the beast. He acted on his fear and cunning to use his shield to reflect the image of Medusa. Perseus was able to perfectly time the right moment to swing his sword and kill Medusa. Her other victims, however, experienced the paralyzing side of fear. When she stared into the eyes of her victims, they would turn to stone. Perseus was able to step up to his call of duty, rescue Andromeda, and emerge victorious.

    The story of Medusa is relatable to a lot of fictional monsters we learned about during our unit one chapter. One monster in particular that stood out to me is Mary Shelley’s popular monstrosity, Frankenstein’s monster. The story of Medusa is tragic within itself. After being sexually assaulted at a Greek goddess’s party, she is condemned to be hideous and ugly to all who look at her. Just as a Frankenstein’s monster, she is misunderstood for her outer appearance, rather than her beauty within. This has left her to hate mankind and all who dare to come in contact with her. She did not ask to be assaulted or cursed. She was simply a beautiful woman who was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and for that, she must live as an abomination to society; such as many monsters, we’ve learned about in our historical unit.

  6. In the “Act of Fear,” Chemer states, “The morally complex tragic protagonist is doomed by virtue of some aspect of character to make a mistake that will cause catastrophe. This causes oppositional emotional reactions; pity and compassion for a character suffering more than she or he deserves, but also the fear of impending doom.” In the story of Medusa, it is believed that she was raped by Poseidon in the house of Athena. When Athena found this out, she cursed Medusa and turned her into something so ugly and horrendous, that if anyone were to look at her, she would turn them to stone. This leads the audience to feel bad for Medusa because it wasn’t her fault for having sexual relations with Poseidon. He raped her, yet Athena cast the spell on Medusa but didn’t do anything to Poseidon even though it was completely his fault. The audience feels sorry for her but also is fearful of her impending doom because for all eternity she will never be able to look someone in the eyes again.

    For the second part of the blogpost, I will compare the cyclops from The Odyssey to people who are born with physical deformities, like the ones we talked about in class. When people were born with three legs, one body and two legs, microcephaly, etc., they were thought of as “monsters” because they were not what “normal” people looked like. The same thing occurs with the cyclops, Polyphemus. He is considered a monster because he doesn’t look normal. He only has one really big eye and he is also giant. Of course other people would consider him a monster, because this is out of the norm.

  7. For my first section of the blog post, I found something interesting that chemers said in the act of fear. That also relates to something we learned about ancient Greece or medieval monsters or stories. It states in the act of fear text that we experience fear with a variety of wildly different emotional responses. This statement relates to the cyclops story in Homer’s the Odyssey. Because when Odysseus and his men went inside the cyclops cave. The cyclops got angry and ended up trapping them and eating some of Odysseus men. I don’t know about you but if I saw I was trapped and a giant cyclops just ate a few of my men. I would be going nuts and scared, trying to get out of the cave so I am not eaten next. But Odysseus kept his cool and was not scared at all, he rathered thought of a way to trick the cyclops so he and his men could escape. So Odysseus had a calm and relaxed response to the fear of not getting out of the cave and possibly getting eaten next. Which eventually helped him and his men escape the cyclops and the cave. Cause if he started freaking out like I would have done, then there was a good chance that nobody was making it out alive.

    For my second section of the blog post, I need to connect an imagery monster from this week to a real-life monster we learned about in unit one. I am going to connect Medusa from the greek monster mythology stories to the freak show circus people. They are connected because society both hated and was scared of the two .For Medusa it was because, in one story, she was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. Athena didn’t like what she did so she turned her into a monster so that nobody would love her. This would eventually lead to people thinking she was ugly and ended up banishing her from civilization. In which this turn into anger for her, which made people around this time scared of her. For the freaks they had birth defects and diseases, that would make them look like a monstrous figure. This would cause people to be scared of them because they don’t look normal, and also banish them from society. So they both were cursed with something whether it be by a birth defect or by a god. But also they were banished and frightened by society just because of their appearance and that they could hurt people.

  8. In Michael Chemer’s account of “The act of fear” he says, “Fear is a great motivator, perhaps the best of human behavior”. We can apply this quote to the story of Medusa. In the story of Medusa, she is killed for turning men to stone. She became this deadly creature for having been raped in Athena’s temple. Medusa was not actively seeking men to turn them and was not attacking anyone. Rather than seeking the gods to turn Medusa back, Perseus goes to kill her while she is sleeping. The fear of her ability is what leads him to kill her. Rather than thinking of how to save her from her fate of being a monster, he is motivated by fear to kill her.
    For the second aspect of my blog post, I would like to compare the cyclops to society’s ostracizing of people with disabilities or physical abnormalities. While the cyclops is featured in the Oddesy, the idea of a cyclops creature is shown in many other stories. People often are perceived as monstrous due to having an appearance that is different than others. The cyclops is a giant and has one eye. In comparison to Odysseus and his men, he is a monster in appearance. People today are looked down upon if they look different just as someone like the cyclops would.

  9. A quote I found particularly interesting in Chemers’ “The Act of Fear” is,
    “Here again is the Aristotelian dichotomy: the power of performance to generate oppositional reactions (repulsion and attraction, aversion and empathy) contains the potential for genuine, powerful, and therapeutic emotional experiences which audiences crave.”
    This quote depicts some of what we talked about in class, and is relatable to the story of Odysseus and Polyphemus the cyclop. When analyzing the fear of Odysseus, it seems as though he is stoic and fears very little. However, that lack of fear may also get him into some of this trouble in the first place. Assuming Homer wrote this Epic poem for entertainment, the horror he creates with the cyclops is used to get a reaction out of the audience. When Polyphemus rips men off their feet and chews them up, that can create the “repulsion and attraction” reactions Chemers stated in the previous quote. I agree with what Chemers was talking about when he says fear has therapeutic emotional experiences. That could be like the feeling you get after watching a scary movie or ride a roller coaster, the adrenalin can give you a powerful boost.

    For the second part of this blogpost, I will relate Polyphemus with the sea monsters commonly found on ancient maps. The first connection to make is that both these monsters are found far away. The cyclops is found on an island far away from normal society, and the sea monsters are found way out in the ocean. Another connection could be their inspiration from real creatures. As we know now, some sea monsters like the giant squid and giant octopus are real animals. Many of the other sea monsters may not be real, but were believed to be real by exaggerated accounts from people who saw “something” in the water. This second case is much more relatable to the cyclops. Although the cyclops is not real, he may have been inspired by real things. For example, a warrior may have seen a man 7 foot tall with a missing eye. If that soldier came back and exaggerated that story and told it over and over, it could lead to the creation of the cyclops.

  10. In Michael Chemers account of the “Act of Fear”, the quote that stood out the most to me was “Fear is an evolutionary advantageous – learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival strategies. Fear of (death, mutilation, punishment, loss, isolation, and the unknown) is a great motivator – perhaps the greatest motivator – of human behavior.” I felt as though this was a powerful statement because it sheds light as to why people act the way they do, or how they come to the decisions they make while in a state of fear. It reminded me of the video clip we saw a few classes ago while talking about ghosts, where the doctor was explain the “fight or flight” response when it comes to fear. Fight or flight response is when the body naturally reacts to the emotion of fear and senses are heightened in preparation for what harm might come. I think that his Act of Fear perception corresponds with the story of both Odysseus and Perseus because in both stories, the men find themselves in precarious scenarios and, though they are full of fear, they use their “fight or flight” responses to over come the beasts. Odysseus finds a way to bring his men to safety from the Cyclops, Polyphemus, and Perseus finds a way to kill medusa without turning to stone.
    I think that Medusa is similar to the Witches during the Salem witch trials because they are condemned for essentially doing nothing. Medusa was originally a beautiful woman who was raped in Athena’s temple, and to make matters worse, Athena cursed her for it, turning her into a monster, for now, whoever lays eyes on her will then turn to stone. Like Medusa, the “witches” were misunderstood, burned, hanged, and drowned for crimes they did not commit. Feared from their own community, they were tortured or imprisoned, and thus treated as monsters.

  11. “The protagonist believes they are acting rightly, and only later will they suddenly recognize how those actions resulted not only in personal pain and loss but injury to others.” (Chemmers). I found this quote very relatable to real life and to “The Odyssey”. Odysseus is the caption of his men and ship and therefore has a responsibility for the lives that he commands. His actions throughout the story end with many of his friends dying or being injured in some way. When confronted with the cyclops some of his men are eaten, and through fear, and partly courage, they escape but only to be cursed by Poseidon to stay at sea for another ten years. If Odysseus hadn’t acted the way he did to the cyclops as they were leaving, him and his men would have been able to get home much quicker and safer.
    For the second part of my blog post I will be connecting the cyclops to something in a freak show. The cyclops is said to eat Odysseus men and is portrayed as a cannibal, which means that the cyclops resembled a human being enough to be considered a cannibal when eating a normal sized person. But because of the cyclops’s one eye, and his larger size, he is considered angry and dangerous. In comparison to the freak shows, the reason why people found them some intriguing was because they were so close to being normal expect for a few differences. Sometimes the biggest ‘freaks’ or ‘monsters’ are those who resemble a ‘normal’ person the most. It is the stark similarities that make them so interesting and makes people ask questions about the unknown and ask “why?”.

  12. As far as fear is concerned most heroes in Greek myth were focused on either dying or being forgotten. Dying is a fear that exists in all cultures, but being forgotten pops up in few as well. The fear of being forgotten sometimes even overwrites the fear of death and makes people face certain death in exchange for glory. An example of this would be Achilles who is told that depending on whether he fights in the Trojan war he will either die young, but attain eternal glory or live long, but be forgotten after his grand-kids dies and he chooses the first one.
    When it comes to what monster’s represent the cyclops could be used to represent people who are powerful, but narrow minded. The cyclops is powerful, but at any point does he consider the name “no one” is a lie. Even when hes being attacked he says “no one is attacking him” instead of saying something like “humans are attacking me”. He would have just been a footnote in history had Odysseus not been prideful and his father being a god.

  13. In Michael Chemers’ “The Act of Fear” Chemers says “Fear is evolutionary advantageous learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival strategies. Fear (of death, mutilation, punishment, loss, isolation, and the unknown) is a great motivator- perhaps the great motivator- of human behavior” (Chemers 10). Chemers is comparing the act of fear to a survival instinct. So in this sense, being fearful sometimes can be beneficial because it makes that person more aware and capable of adapting to the situation. This can be related to Polyphemus the Cyclops from the Odyssey. When Odysseus is on his journey to make it back home, Odysseus and his men come across the land where Polyphemus lives. Letting greed take over the men, they insist on looking for food when they enter the Cyclops cave. It can be thought that Polyphemus posed these men as a threat to him and his home, and he may have felt fear. Cyclops attacks the men and begins to eat the men. Theses attacks could have potentially been out of self defense to defend his home turf.

    For the second part of my blog I would like to compare Medusa, a fictional monster from Greek Mythology, and Adolph Hitler, the leader of the Nazis. Medusa and Hitler were both angry at the world and wanted vengeance. Medusa was punished for being raped by Poseidon and was made ugly with snakes for hair, and whenever a man looked at her they would turn into stone. Originally Medusa was beautiful but that was taken away from her. So she turned evil and attacked others who encountered. Hitler was angry that his country Germany was falling off due to economic failure. He blamed the Jewish people for gaining capital and succeeding in the economy. Hitler then started the Holocaust and did very absurd things to people that he didn’t welcome in society. In a sense they had a similar motive but in the opposite directions. Medusa felt rejected by society and Hitler rejected others in society. But in a general sense, both of their evil acts were done out of anger.

  14. In Michael Chemers’ “The Monster in Theatre History,” he points out that it is only human nature to feel as though monsters are grotesque creatures that appear to be dangerous and harmful towards all humanity. He mentions, “this is a unique kind of fear, one we experience not as a momentary fright or even a deeper terror or panic, but as an ontological threat to a sense of one’s own nature and one’s place n the universe” (Chemers 12). This quote is directly correlated with the storyline of Medusa because she represents this threatening beast that transpires to turn other real beings into stone. In this particular story, it is Perseus who is terrified, yet accepts this quest to eliminate Medusa and save Princess Andromeda from another ominous beast. While Perseus is on his journey to decapitate Medusa, he takes action with no hesitation. He was well aware of what Medusa was capable of and he believed killing her in her sleep was the best way to save the day. Ultimately, this situation suggests that society’s initial reaction to facing a monster is to either make a great escape or to kill the nasty creature. When I imagine a possibly harmful situation, I imagine a poisonous spider in my room; my initial reaction would be to kill it, which connects back to Perseus’ intentions to murder Medusa.
    In all seriousness, Medusa is a possessive creature. Therefore, she is comparable to a demon and this is due to her ability to look at an individual and make them turn into stone. A demon is similar in the sense that they are able to enter into the bodies of individuals or animals and manipulate their actions. Although Medusa only had the power to turn others into stone, she was still able to harm others with her powers even after Perseus beheaded her. Therefore, she can still execute others and cause a type of physical deformity to others as their bodies freeze and their skin slowly cracks and falls apart all at once. As for demons, they are also capable of causing bodily harm towards mortals. They are able to turn a regular human being into a form of distortion and crookedness. One could agree that history not only repeats itself, but stories do as well. Fictional or real, historical monsters of the ancient and medieval worlds have an overlapping connection in ways in which we identify their monstrosity. Naturally, humans classify a monster as a creature with a threatening and scary nature. Whether we find them appealing or daunting, we will almost always associate them with a negative connotation.

  15. For the first section of my blogpost I would like to talk about the quote, “the fear reaction derives as much from the anticipation of the potential injury done to others as to oneself as a result of this mistake.” This quote really connects to Medusa. Medusa was a young beautiful women who got raped and then was punished for it. She had done nothing wrong to deserve the title of monster other then her appearance. All she wanted was to be left alone but people kept on pursuing to kill her. Fear took over the people in this town. It was the main motivator for the killing of Medusa.
    In unit one we covered “real life” monsters. For instance twins that were conjoined, or someone that was born with no arms or legs. These people were feared by others since they did not fit the social norm. You can compare these “real life” monsters to a historical monster like the cyclops from the Odyssey. Since the cyclops only has one eye, it immediately separates him. People label him as a monster just based on looks. That’s what society does when people are born with certain birth effects.

  16. “Not only do we experience fear differently according to how we understand it; we can also experience fear with a variety of wildly different emotional responses.” (Chemer p. 11) This is a relatable quote to monsters from ancient Greece, especially for the story “The Odyssey”. When the cyclops kills some of the men in Odysseus’ crew, they are faced with a variety of fears and emotions and are scared of the cyclops that killed the men. Odysseus and his men are afraid of being killed by the cyclops. To overcome their fear of the cyclops, Odysseus and his men plan to hurt the monster and escape from him. They stab the cyclops in the eye and hurt him which allows them to be free of the monster. The fear in the story of Odysseus and his men represent them having courage, which makes them overcome the cyclops.

    Imaginary monsters and “real life” monsters can be connected to each other since they have similar characteristics. The one eyed giant, also known as “cyclops” from Odysseus is a monster that can be connected to the real-life monster of a serial killer. Just like the cyclops, people in the real world take other people’s lives and do not feel bad at all. The cyclops in the Odyssey killed some of Odysseus’ men and did not even know who they were or what they were like. Both the cyclops and serial killers put a tremendous amount of fear into people.

  17. On page twelve of Chemers’ The Act of Fear he states that “Horror does not dissipate but persist […] it latches on to our imagination and grows there, manifesting in our nightmares and an amorphous of creeping doom that might last a very long time.” This quote stuck with me because it creates a distinction between fear and horror; words that, today, have become interchangeable. This is a thought that accrued to me when reading Beowulf. Particularly when looking at Grendel who, to the humans, is one of the main monsters. However, when examining Grendel’s motivations, it would seem that the human are the real villains. In the epic poem, Grendel has an extremely sensitive hearing and thus lives in constant fear of the humans throwing a party or making a lot of noise. It is a fear that never leaves him thus he is living in a constant state of horror. Unlike the humans who are living in fear that could be ended if they stopped partying so often.

    The monster Medusa is a fictional monster that has many similarities to historical monsters of the past. While there were no specific historical monsters that turned people to stone any women with power was often portrayed as a monster. Medusa was known as a beautiful woman who men would fawn over thus giving her more power than other women of her time. It is because of this beauty and the fact that fact that she has some power. Which is ironic when you think about the fact that being turned into a monster is what gave Medusa more power than she ever would have had originally. Historical female monsters are all creatures who are overly sexualized and more powerful than the men around them. Thus showing that many ancient civilizations feared and unsettled by women in power.

  18. In Michael Chemer’s Act of Fear, he elaborates on Aristotle’s take on fear. He says, “Fear in performance, he observes, requires a deep empathetic connection to a character on stage; the better the audience can see reflections of their own struggles in the struggles of the character, the greater the emotional impact of watching the story unfold.” In the stories of ancient Greek mythology, Medusa was raped by a Grecian God because of her beauty. She was then cursed by Athena and turned into a monster with snakes for hair and no one would be able to look at her again or else they would be turned to stone. Sexual assault is a very prevalent fear around the world which allows us to be empathetic towards Medusa and her fate. This quote can also be related to the Odyssey. The audience tends to be more empathetic towards Odysseus and his men. Although being trapped in a cave with a Cyclops is not likely to ever happen, having to face a monster, whether that be a literal representation or a personal problem someone might be facing, is something that does happen. And having to face that fear or monster can be quite scary, which draws in the audience’s connection to the story of Odysseus.
    Medusa can also be related back to the Salem witch trials from Unit One. The fear of the witch trial time period was the fear of the unknown. The citizens began to accuse women and men for anything that was happening in the city. The citizens of Salem began accusing random citizens for the unexplained and unfortunate mishaps that took place in Salem. These “witches” were then punished and treated as monsters for the things that were unknown and things they did not do. These trials are much like the story of Medusa. A woman who was punished for something she did not do or had any control over. She was turned into a monster that humans were no longer allowed to look at unless they would be turned to stone. The link between creative and real life monsters are that the tellers of the story all have similar fears. In this case it is the fear of the unknown or not having control.

  19. In Michael Chemers’ brief account of the “act of fear” he writes “The morally complex tragic protagonist is doomed by virtue of some aspect of character to to make a mistake that will cause catastrophe.” This quote can be applied to many of the stories but particularly stands out in relation to Book 9 of The Odyssey. Odysseus arrives on the island of the Cyclopes and although his men want to leave he decided they will stay. His curiosity is his aspect of character that will cause a catastrophe. Odysseus and his crew are greeted hospitably by Polyphemus, a cyclops that lives on the island. Polyphemus eats two of the crew and traps the rest, including Odysseus inside his cave. Of course, Odysseus is afraid of Polyphemus and afraid for his life but does not let this get the best of him. He devises and executes a plan to blind Polyphemus and ride out of his cave on the bellies of his sheep. This representation of fear is what would be expected of a Greek hero. This story is told from the perspective of Odysseus so he would not have included any information about him being fearful as that would detract from his heroic persona. He does not voice his fear, as expected of him and instead channels it into a productive use that ultimately leads to his salvation.
    In both “real life” and make believe one monster stands out, the werewolf. These modern creatures differ immensely from the make believe stories. Referred to in “real life” as a cryptid, a modern day werewolf is a man-like creature, however it is more of a mix between a man and a wolf with more distinguishing canine features. The werewolves of fairy tales however are different from our modern day equivalent. Idealized werewolves are shape-shifting humans triggered by a full moon. You can be infected if you are bitten and this will eventually turn you into a werewolf and can repel them by wearing wolfsbane, a very poisonous flower. The details for both versions of a werewolf go on and on, some crossing over but some remain outliers. When both monsters are considered and their similarities inspected it is safe to assume that humans are attracted to the ideas of werewolves.

  20. I think the quote from Chemmers that stood out to me the most was the quote “fear is one of two powerful, necessary emotions triggered by watching a tragic protagonist undergo his or her struggles”. This quote stood out to me because in both “The Odyssey” and the story of Perseus, their fear is what drives them to fight their struggles in the story. In “The Odyssey”, Odysseus’s fear of the cyclops after he ate some of Odysseus’s men drove him to fight the cyclops, so they could get off the island. In the story of Perseus, his fear of Andromeda being held hostage by the sea monster drove him to kill Medusa for her head. It seems that in the stories, fear is the motivator to get the hero to undergo their struggles.
    Some connections I can make with some of the monsters from previous sections to the ones in these sections are that the both of the monsters are humans with monstrous qualities. We can compare Dracula to Medusa. They are both humans, but something happened to them that made them turn into monsters. They were both innocent but were turned into a monster for someone else’s wrong doings. Dracula was born a vampire due to his family’s wrong doings whereas Medusa was turned into a monster because she was raped in Athena’s temple by Poseidon.

  21. The line from Chemer’s brief account of the “act of fear” that stood out the most to me was, “not only do we experience fear differently according to how we understand it; we also experience fear with a variety of wildly different emotional responses.” The character that comes to mind is Odysseus from “The Odyssey” because he may have seemed fearless, but we all know that deep inside we have our fears. I believe that Odysseus was afraid of the monsters that he faced, but his emotional response was different than what most people’s response would be. He took his fears head on while some of us try to hide from them. Odysseus’s men were probably more afraid than he was when they came across each obstacle on their journey, but when Odysseus stepped up to the challenge they followed along. For example, when they got stuck with the Cyclops they had to put their fears aside, especially when some of the men got eaten. Odysseus and his men had to come up with a plan to get out and beat their fear of this one-eyed creature. Where most would respond with giving up, Odysseus refused to let the Cyclops beat him.
    To continue with the second part of the blog post I am going to take the above monster I mentioned, the Cyclops, and compare him to what we learned in unit one. In unit one we discussed babies born with deformities, like conjoined twins or babies missing limbs. The Cyclops could just have a dna mutation, which causes him to have one-eye and be huge. That would make us feel bad for calling him a monster, but then we look at how he eats humans. There is another “real life” monstrous act we discussed in unit one. For our unit one project some students did it on murders and I believe that if you have the capability of killing another human in such a manner then you are in fact a monster. If we viewed the Cyclops as a human who had deformities then we would have to look at him as a human killing a human making him a monster.

  22. The quote that stuck out to me the most was that the monster is “an embodiment of a cultural movement- of a time, a place, and a feeling. The Monsters body quiet literally incorporates fear, desire, and fantasy giving them life and a uncanny independence” (Chemmers). I can relate this back to the Marie de France’s “Bisclavret”. These two relate because the werewolf in the short lay is a metaphor for sexual ness, and how each and everyone of us has a beastly, sexual side. For example, the werewolf’s wife is disgusted by him upon finding out he transforms into a werewolf, but she too, metaphorically, does the same by leaving her husband for another man and having her new man steal her husband’s clothes so he cannot turn into a human again. Basically, the moral of this story is that everyone has a “beast” in them and those who choose to accept it will learn how to live with it in the end, and those who do not, will struggle with it the rest of their lives (the wife).
    In this second part, I would like to compare Polyphemus to all of the deformed people who were deemed as “freaks” we learned about in Unit 1. The relation between these two is quite obvious since we all know Polyphemus is a cyclops, and only has one eye, which even back then was considered a deformity and cyclops were made fun of in those stories for it, just like all of the “freaks” for their deformities.

  23. In Michael Chemer’s account of “The act of fear” he says, “It is this “direct representation of action” that concerns the playwright; in this case, the representation of “being afraid” or “experiencing fear.” You can easily apply this quote to the story of Medusa. In the story, she had been raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. Although Medusa did nothing wrong, she was still somehow the one in the wrong. In turn, Athena struck back by giving Medusa hideous appearances and loathsome snakes for hair. Medusa did no wrong but still got punished. Perseus went to kill Medusa in her sleep while again she was doing nothing wrong. The reason as to why he wants to kill her? Her ugly look was what made everyone so fearful of her. Instead of Percy trying to save Medusa, he wants to end her life because of her looks.
    For the second section, I am going to relate the Cyclops from the story of Odysseus and to the people with disabilities or abnormal facial features. The cyclops are big scary looking beings with one eye and will occasionally eat people who come onto their land. People will look at the cyclops weird because he is not a “normal looking” human. People in today’s society look at people with disabilities differently just as they would look at cyclops’. Cyclops’ are out of the norm so naturally people will look differently at them.

  24. I chose the quote, “Fear is a great motivator- perhaps the great motivator-of human behavior” because it holds a lot of truth in stories and in real life. In “The Odyssey”, fear is what motivates Odysseus to outwit the cyclops which allows him and his men to escape from the cave.
    For the second part of my blog I would like to compare the cyclops to people who are born with deformities and birth defects. Odysseus and his men immediately assumed the cyclops was a monster based on his deformity and believed that this meant that stealing from him and physically assaulting his eye was alright. In real life we tend to look down on people with deformities and birth defects and think of them as less than, even though they may still act and think like everyone else.

  25. “Unlike other flavors of fear, horror does not dissipate but persists, […] it latches on to our imagination and grows there, manifesting as nightmares and an amorphous sense of creeping doom…” This quote from Michael Chemers’ “The Monster in Theatre History” speaks as to why certain ideas or experiences can instill such a strong sense of fear that it completely readjusts a person’s personality. For example, in Grettis Saga, Grettir’s fight with the undead Glam leaves him scarred as he has become more hot-tempered and become afraid of the dark and the night. Despite being a seasoned warrior, this one encounter caused him to lose his courage and unhinged him as a person. The moment this happens is when Grettir throws himself on top of Glam causing them to fall outside into the moonlight. The light causes Grettir to get a better look of Glam which gives him a view that “was the only one which ever made him tremble,” causing him to hesitate on the killing blow. This pause is what allows Glam to curse Grettir, sapping the warrior of most of his strength as well as burning the memory of his undead eyes into his head. The end result is that Grettir loses his virtues of courage and patience that made him a great warrior. This, in a way, is reminiscent of PTSD where extremes of horror that Grettir experienced fighting for his life against a zombie shook him to the core and traumatized him, changing his personality forever. The curse that Glam places on Grettir acts as a cultural contextualizer as medieval societies would not have known about PTSD. Medieval Scandinavian culture, having its roots in old Germanic culture would have placed an importance on warfare and on a man’s ability to fight. A culture like this would have an underlying sense of anxiety over anything that would cause a man to lose his courage and strength, two things that a traumatic experience could hinder.
    The story of Medusa and how she became a monster is a prime example of what we would call victim blaming today. She was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple and was punished as a result of desecrating the temple. This touches on the idea that historical monsters can reveal a culture’s viewpoints on certain subjects. Medusa’s punishment is telling of two things. One, the ancient world did not value women to the same degree as men. Two, the power dynamic between Medusa, a priestess, and Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, meant that Poseidon had free reign to do what he wanted to Medusa in the eyes of the Greeks; the ancient world valued power over the rights of others.

    “Unlike other flavors of fear, horror does not dissipate but persists, […] it latches on to our imagination and grows there, manifesting as nightmares and an amorphous sense of creeping doom…” This quote from Michael Chemers’ “The Monster in Theatre History” speaks as to why certain ideas or experiences can instill such a strong sense of fear that it completely readjusts a person’s personality. For example, in Grettis Saga, Grettir’s fight with the undead Glam leaves him scarred as he has become more hot-tempered and become afraid of the dark and the night. Despite being a seasoned warrior, this one encounter caused him to lose his courage and unhinged him as a person. The moment this happens is when Grettir throws himself on top of Glam causing them to fall outside into the moonlight. The light causes Grettir to get a better look of Glam which gives him a view that “was the only one which ever made him tremble,” causing him to hesitate on the killing blow. This pause is what allows Glam to curse Grettir, sapping the warrior of most of his strength as well as burning the memory of his undead eyes into his head. The end result is that Grettir loses his virtues of courage and patience that made him a great warrior. This, in a way, is reminiscent of PTSD where extremes of horror that Grettir experienced fighting for his life against a zombie shook him to the core and traumatized him, changing his personality forever. The curse that Glam places on Grettir acts as a cultural contextualizer as medieval societies would not have known about PTSD. Medieval Scandinavian culture, having its roots in old Germanic culture would have placed an importance on warfare and on a man’s ability to fight. A culture like this would have an underlying sense of anxiety over anything that would cause a man to lose his courage and strength, two things that a traumatic experience could hinder.
    The story of Medusa and how she became a monster is a prime example of what we would call victim blaming today. She was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple and was punished as a result of desecrating the temple. This touches on the idea that historical monsters can reveal a culture’s viewpoints on certain subjects. Medusa’s punishment is telling of two things. One, the ancient world did not value women to the same degree as men. Two, the power dynamic between Medusa, a priestess, and Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, meant that Poseidon had free reign to do what he wanted to Medusa in the eyes of the Greeks; the ancient world valued power over the rights of others.

  26. “Fear in performance, he observes, requires a deep empathic connection to a character on stage; the better the audience can see reflections of their own struggles of the character, the greater the emotional impact of watching the story unfold.” This quote from Chemmers I found to be interesting for the fact that it seems to apply to not only heroes but our monsters as well. In BISCLAVRET, a baron in Brittany who is well loved by the king, vanishes every week for three full days because he is secretly a werewolf. Although he had tried hard to keep his double life private from his wife, her incessant begging eventually draws the truth out of him. The baron’s wife is so shocked by this news that she tries to think of ways she can escape her husband. Despite her telling him that she loves him more than all the world, his Lady goes behind his back and steals his clothes that allow him to transform, leaving him unable to return. Through this story arc, readers are able to project their fears of rejection and betrayal onto the character of Bisclavret. Instead of feeling fear for what the bisclavret might do, we feel fear for what might happen to him. In turn, we also fear what might happen to us if we reveal sides of ourselves that others might not like, scared that we’ll be treated with a similar fate.

    The Bisclavret can also be related to the freakshow “monsters”, specifically the characters from the film Freaks. Much like the baron, the characters in Freaks has aspects of their physical persons that were socially condemned. Even though Hans had thought Cleopatra loved him, she was really just using him to get to his fortune. In the end, Cleopatra wanted to betray Hans’ trust, much like the lady had betrayed the baron’s trust. However, on a brighter side, both characters are able to extract their revenge. While the baron attacks his former lady, biting her nose off completely and deforming her, the characters in Freaks get revenge on Cleopatra by transforming her into a half bird half woman hybrid. Both protagonists are able to give their oppressors a taste of what it’s like to be the “monster” that they had once rejected.

  27. One of the many great ideas to come from Chemer’s brief account of the “act of fear” is that, “Fear (of death, mutilation, punishment, loss, isolation, and the unknown) is a great motivator – perhaps the great motivator – of human behavior.” Fear is often what pushes human beings beyond their limits and the conquering of one’s fears is sometimes the only way to succeed. This is seen with how Odysseus leads his men to escape from the Cyclops. After seeing a few of his men devoured by the cyclops Polyphemus, a fear of death and letting his crew down motivates Odysseus to devise a plan to lead his men to safety. Had his life not been in the balance, it is a possibility that Odysseus never would have thought of the crafty plan he used to escape the cave. The fear of meeting his demise likely pushed Odysseus to think outside of the box and come up with the elaborate plan of blinding the cyclops, saying his name was Nobody, and escaping under the guise of livestock. The motivation fear provides us can be seen as a type of survival instinct in the case of Odysseus.

    Gender can play a serious role in the characterization of various monsters. As a result, one can easily see the connection between the fictional monster Medusa and the historical tales of witches, specifically the witches hanged during the Salem Witch Trials. Both of these monsters are women who are essentially condemned for absolutely nothing. Women were accused of witchcraft based upon social status and physical appearance while Medusa was cursed with her ugly appearance because she was raped in Athena’s temple. People feared Medusa because her looks could kill. Witches were also fear for the potential damage they could do. I think that these two monsters say a lot about the sexist attitude society has had for so many centuries. Despite the hundreds, even thousands of years between the legend of Medusa and the Salem Witch Trials, women are still disregarded and treated/represented poorly.

  28. The act of fear acknowledges that fear is evolutionarily advantageous. Michael Chemers describes it as “the great motivator of human behavior, and that it is a “key element in developing good survival skills”. Fear is a very important and overpowering emotion. In literature like The Odyssey there are many characters that exude this type of emotion. Odysseus is a great example of using his fear as a survival skill. When he enters the one eyed giant’s cave he is faced with a Cyclops. When the Cyclops heard them trespass he began to yell “strangers who are you!” Odysseus became fearful saying him and his crew were “terrified by the rumbling voice”. The Cyclops then started to eat the crew members and this is when Odysseus’s survival skills kicked in. He realized eat or be eaten so he used that fear emotion and fought the Cyclops. Odysseus was afraid of the Cyclops and fearful of being eaten, so instead of using the fear and cowering it empowered him to defeat the monster. Greek and Medieval Europe enjoyed having some kind of a hero or a higher power in their stories. Many people enjoy the fantasy and feel the need to cheer the protagonist on. Having that emotion of fear before success gives stories that extra “umph” to catch the reader’s attention.
    Fantasy Literature tells stories of Gods and Goddesses, werewolves and characters like Grendel. In the story of Beowulf there is Grendel and his mother who Beowulf famously fights. These two become the monster of the tale, which reminds me of unit one’s readings the topography of wales. This showed many viewings of human “monsters” that were misunderstood and did not look or speak as the “normal” humans did during the time that the literature was written. When looking at Grendel and his mother’s side. Grendel did not understand the humans, because he was not like them. He saw the world differently then they did, and was mistreated by them for a very long time. When his mother became the monster of the story she was angry because the humans attacked her son, and did terrible things to him. When something happens to one of your own, you usually take action. Grendel is like the deformed people in the topography of wales. Looking differently than others do can cause isolation, and lots of problems. He was misunderstood by the others, and was angered by their actions and acted back in a heinous way. Looking at Grendel and the way one’s actually acted towards people with differences, it is clear to see even now that people racism and mistreatment still happens. People judge others based on their culture and the color of their skin. Grendel and his mother are the outcast which is very real worldwide today.

  29. When Chemer said, “Fear in performance, he observes, requires a deep empathic connection to a character on stage; the better the audience can see reflections of their own struggles in the struggles of the character, the greater the emotional impact of watching the story unfold,” in the “act of fear” when describing Aristotle’s view on fear I found myself thinking of the poem “Bisclavret” (Chemer). In “Bisclavret,” the major theme is betrayal. The werewolf in the poem’s wife betrays him when she finds out what he is. Everyone has been betrayed, whether it be a big or small betrayal, so it is quite easy for the reader to feel empathetic toward the werewolf. It is especially easy for the betrayal in this poem to cause an emotional impact on the readers because the werewolf has done nothing wrong; he trusted his wife with his secret and she told someone and stole his clothes so he couldn’t shift back into his human form. In “Bisclavret,” the werewolf’s wife is filled with fear when she learns the truth about her husband and doesn’t even want to share the same bed with him anymore. Well, the wife’s fear comes from her not truly listening to her husband and not really caring to hear from him. As soon as she finds out what he is she secretly turns against. It says that society is quick to turn against someone who is different.
    For the second part of this blog post, I want to talk about Medusa and how her story is in a way similar to many of the monsters that we have looked at in this course. Medusa was human before she became the monster everyone knows her as. She was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. Athena was not mad at the fact that someone was raped, but because it happened in her temple, so she turned Medusa into a monster. She replaced Medusa’s beautiful hair with snakes and any man that looked into Medusa’s eyes would be turned to stone. Medusa didn’t ask to be a monster. The title was forced on her just like many of the monsters we have studied this unit. In the beginning of the course we saw a “monster,” that was actually just woman, with hair that grew done her spine and facial hair; she had more societally deemed masculine traits. She was seen as a monster, but she did not ask for that title. Much like Medusa, she was given that title by another.

  30. Kyra Huttinger
    The Meaning of Monsters
    Dr. Gust
    March 6, 2018

    In Book 9 of the Odyssey, Odysseus and his men find themselves trapped in the cave of Polyphemus. They understand that they cannot get themselves out of immediate danger by killing the cyclops because they will be trapped in the cave if they do. With a healthy dose of fear and understanding of what they need to do to escape they plot to get Polyphemus drunk and then Odysseus and his men plow a burning steak into his eye and escape. Chemers says, “Fear is evolutionarily advantageous — learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival strategies. Fear (of death, mutilation, punishment, loss, isolation, and the unknown) is a great motivator — perhaps the great motivator — of human behavior. And like all emotions, fear can be overpowering, paralyzing, and irrational.” Odysseus and his men feared the cyclops and chose their next moves very carefully to escape.

  31. “Some fear involves extreme physiological responses; we call it terror hen it threatens to paralyze our ability to react, or panic when it overwhelms us and forces us to act irrationally” (Chemers, 12). I chose this quote because at some time or another we have all been terrified to the point where we have frozen in fear. Your bodies fight or flight did not kick in yet so you are just kind of stuck. I can directly relate this back to the ancient Greek monster medusa. In class we learned that the story of medusa came to be because she was extremely beautiful and was subsequently raped by Poseidon. She was frozen in fear and could not fight back. This horrible act that happened to her caused her to receive and unjust punishment. She was turned into a hideous monster that had snakes for hair and one look at her would turn you to stone. In relation to the quote we can say that Athena overacted and then act irrationally in this situation because she punished the victim and not the person that had committed the crime.
    For the second I am going to talk about cyclopes. In unit one we talked about how real-life monsters were sometimes people with deformities. This did not make them a monster, it just made them different. Society is always looking for a way to “other” people and that it what happened to cyclopes. At the Mutter museum in Philly there are several fetuses on display that we are forming developmental issues that caused only one eye to form. If they had survived to term then they would have become real life monsters. They cyclopes in the Odyssey was large and ate people. So, he was monstrous for his size, this deformity and his participation in cannibalism (if we can even call them human). We talked about how actions and just the appearance of someone can make them a monster and the cyclopes represents that every well.

  32. In one of Chemer’s sections “The act of fear” he says “Fear is a great motivator, perhaps the best of human behavior”. One article mentions the story of how Odysseus ran into giants. It states “when Odysseus meets the Laestrygonians, one of his traveling party is eaten. Yes, eaten. Of course the Phaeacians are horrified: you do not eat your guests. Odysseus relays that the Cyclops are brutish, uncivilized beasts. They lack laws, live in caverns…”. The quote from Chemer’s readings relate to the story because once one of the party is eaten, although it is a barbarous act to the travelers, they need to realize it is a monster and has different needs as well as the fact that they were patrolling on its Island. The men wanted to leave but fear caused Odysseus to attack and assume the worst about the monster rather than try to make sense of it and just leave.

    For the second part I would like to compare Medusa to the freakshow people. What the two “monsters” have in common is that to the general population they are both ugly beings and are shamed for it. Only difference is the fact that freakshows were put on display for people to make fun of and see how ugly they were while Medusa couldn’t see anyone or they turned into stone. Im sure that if Medusa couldn’t turn people to stone but still had the snakes on her head she would have been with the freakshow because society would have cast her out.

  33. In “The Act of Fear,” Michael Chemers states “Fear is evolutionary advantageous-learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival strategies.” This quote most closely relates to Homer’s “The Odyssey.” In this book, Odysseus and his men come to encounter the giant cyclops, Polyphemus. The cyclops eats many of Odysseus’s men leading him to be fearful on this monster. From being so fearful of him, Odysseus is able to come up with a plan to outsmart Polyphemus and escape. His fear played into part of this plan due to Chemer’s idea that fear is necessary for developing survival skills/strategies. If Odysseus was not fearful of Polyphemus, he would not have been as compelled to stab him in the eye and have his men hide under the sheep to get away.
    In unit two we are studying imaginary monsters rather than real life monsters. There are many ways in which all of these monsters connect. Most of them connect due to their appearances rather than behavior. Such as, Medusa, the Cyclops and the Plinian races we examined in unit one. They all have some type of deformity that sets them off from the rest. Whether it be Medusa’s head, the Cyclops’s one eye, the Himantopodes with strap-like feet, or Sciritae with no noses flat faces. All of these monsters are feared due to the way they appear. They are not like us, we do not have snakes on our heads or strap feet. To us humans, they are different and that’s why we fear them.

  34. “The morally complex tragic protagonist is doomed by virtue of some aspect of character to make a mistake that will cause catastrophe. This causes oppositional emotional reactions: pity and compassion for a character suffering more than she or he deserves, but also fear of the impending doom.”

    This quote can be applied to the two Greek readings, with Odysseus and Perseus. The aspect about the audience can be applied to Odysseus, wherein he is the hero that the audience is rooting for; however, it has been shown throughout the Odyssey that his tragic flaw is his pride and arrogance. Therefore, right at the end of the reading wherein he faces off against Polyphemus, there is almost anticipatory dread that dawns on the audience as Odysseus escapes. The audience is aware that this is where he will make a “mistake,” and as Chemers wrote, dread is a form of fear. The audience wants Odysseus to be able to go home to Ithaca; however, that dread that he’s going to slip up and extend his odyssey is just waiting to happen.

    For Perseus, the fear is from his point of view as he faces off against Medusa. Given, the version that was read for class had Medusa asleep, but the fear is still there. The anxiety that the monster could awaken, and following that the impending doom. Here, the quote applies in that if Perseus were to make a mistake, he could possibly awaken Medusa and face the same fate as those who have attempted slaying her before him, or he fails and he is unable to save Andromeda. Given, however, Perseus is also one of the few heroes whose story does not end in tragedy somehow; therefore, he does not show the characteristics of a tragic hero. That said, however, there is still the element of fear instilled upon facing off against the monsters within his myth.

    An obvious choice would be Medusa, especially since there was an excerpt about her after Perseus’s story. There are several aspects about her that can be connected to the society issues of the times, and that was the fact that she was a woman who performed a sexual act in (and therefore desecrated) a temple dedicated to a god. Forget the part wherein she was sexually assaulted by another god, but this shows the implications of how little women were thought of during this time, especially after taking into consideration that supposedly, her only crime was being beautiful. This myth about Medusa reflected a time where women were treated as possessions, not humans, and how little say they had in what was done to them as well as the supposed punishments they received if they were “guilty” of something.

  35. In Michael Chemers The act of fear he states “learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival strategies’. Fear (of death, mutilation, punishment, loss, isolation and the unknown) is a great motivator- of human behavior.” The first person that comes to mind when seeing this quote is Odysseus. This quote relates to him the best I believe because him and his men when encountering the cyclopes were scared and fearful of the monster but in the end the ideas of punishment, and maybe death if they didn’t escape the cyclopes’ cave struck Odysseus and he prevailed to stab the eye of the monster and get away. Odysseus was struck by fear and motivated to escape due to his fear.
    For the second part of the blog post I am going to talk about the cyclopes. the cyclopes was the son of Poseidon and Odysseus ended up stabbing the eye out and in the end Poseidon cursed and made Odysseus life harder. The cyclopes was a monster because he looked different as well as most of the monsters in unit one. I’m going to compare the cyclopes to count Dracula, he was a real guy who in the end was just different. The count wasn’t the same because of his cultural and physical differences along with the cyclopes who was considered a monster because of only having one eye. Many of the ways we consider someone a monster is because of difference or physical appearances which was a recurring theme in unit one.

  36. Something I found interesting was when he said, “Not only do we experience fear differently according to how we understand it; we can also experience fear with a variety of wildly different emotional responses.” I found this interesting because this means that people can react to fear differently. Say one person is terrified of something and they pee their pants, while another person who is terrified as well becomes frozen and can’t move. This quote compares with the story of Grendel because one could say that Grendel was in fear of what the human beings were doing to animals and the land. So Grendel attacks the humans, making them afraid. The main people to focus on for being afraid are the humans. The humans are afraid of Grendel and cower in fear. Instead of continuing to party in the mead hall like they usually do, they hide in fear that Grendel will come attack them again if they party in the mead hall. This representation of fear suggests that the society back when this was written was fragile and weak. It showed that they could easily be turned from great warriors to cowardly children.

    The Jersey Devil and Grendel. Both monsters that were most likely created out of fear of the unknown. The Jersey devil was about a woman who supposedly gave birth to the devil himself. There are many different stories about the Jersey devil, but there is one i find interesting. On story says that the devil ate the woman and then went on to eating the on looking people who were there to help deliver the baby. You could say these people were doing wrong because the woman did not want the baby, but her husband made her get pregnant and none of these people helped stop it. That story relates to Grendel because he ate the people in the mead hall because he saw them as doing wrong to the world. So in a sense i guess you can say that these monsters could be considered heroes in a sense because they are making those pay that have done unjust things. I think through this connection we can see if these creatures are truly “monsters” or if we perceive them as monsters due to the fear of not knowing what they are.

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  39. For the first part of my blog post I will talk about the quote that stuck the most with me while reading this, and that would be when Chemer’s said “Fear is a great motivator perhaps the best of human behavior”. This to me is related to the Odyssey and Cyclops. When Cyclops comes and eats Odysseus’s men they are immediately full with fear. With this given fear they have the courage to fight. Also, with Medusa and Perseus, Perseus was given the courage to slay Medusa out of hear for himself and his people because of her ability to turn people into stone by simply making eye contact.

    For the second part of my blog post I am going to talk about Medusa. Medusa, a beautiful woman, raped by Poseidon. Athena then put a curse on Medusa giving her her now ugly appearance and snake hair. Rape is something that happens every single day and it is absolutely disgusting. To relate it to Medusa, in a real life situation, it would take a monstrous person to go and rape someone. Also, after being raped you can turn into a different person like the curse, but instead of having monster features you can simply just turn cold hearted and be forever mad at the world. Rape is a monstrous, evil thing and Medusa did not deserve to be placed under that curse because of the actions of a selfish male.

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  53. In the ” Act of Fear” this could also be a ” leaning fear.” This fear is a tool in which we can over come and find out how strong we actually are. In the story of Madusa, the fear in which death can become us if looked into the eyes of the beast, but destroying the monster can make us into a hero. This would have great impact on society at that time and give a higher status to the warrior, or so called hero.

    In the Odyssey, fear is accomplished by overcoming a very powerful and ruthless entity that enslaves and kills anyone that he comes into contact with. by thinking and making a plan, the monster is eventually overcome by “thinking through” a plan instead of all men for themselves. This way they came together and beat the monster as a group and they all became heroes.

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