The “Act of Fear” in the Face of Ancient/Medieval Monsters

In Michael Chemers’ brief account of the “act of fear” (assigned for class on 3/10), 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 part one of your blogpost, I’d like you to quote something interesting that Chemers says about “the act of fear” as it pertains to literature; more to the point, you should 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?

As we have mentioned in class, 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 comparative 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?

28 thoughts on “The “Act of Fear” in the Face of Ancient/Medieval Monsters

  1. Part 1: Chemer’s “act of fear” offers many interesting insights about fear, and how all people feel and experience it in different ways. He writes, “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 characters, the greater the emotional impact of watching the story unfold.” People like to be able to relate literature or films back to themselves, to help better make sense of the story they saw unfurl. If the audience can relate their fears back to the main character, than they become more engaged in the story. In the Odyssey, Odysseus faces a monstrous cyclops. He fears the death of himself, and the rest of his men, at the hands of this scary, ugly, violent being. Many can relate to Odysseus’ fear of dying, and his inability to help the men around him that he’s close to. This makes the story relatable to the readers, while still having the fun imaginary component of the cyclops being the antagonist. The fear of death has been a reoccurring theme for many cultures in which these types of monsters are born from.

    Part 2: There are many links that can be made from creative monsters, and historical monsters because these two types both stem from the fears and ideas of whatever society they came from. A theme I caught onto was the idea that anything appearing different is inherently bad. Medusa is the misunderstood monster with snakes for hair. Her outrageous hair-do has been a scary story, frightening people for many years. Her story reminded me of the historical “monster”, the bearded woman. Two women, both with a quality unlike what a typical “woman” would have. One with snakes for hair, and one with a beard but both being treated as a monster because of these differences. It seems as though history has a problem with women being anything other than the average males idea of perfect or beautiful.

  2. Part One- “I would observe that the adverse reaction Munteanu describes is engendered specifically by a grotesque stimulus that directly challenges the viewer’s understanding of how the universe works” (Chemer). This quotation explains why Medusa or other “ugly” monsters are feared. Medusa looked different from the other people in her story. Heroes tried to kill Medusa because she looked like a monster without necessarily acting like one. The “normal” humans in Medusas story were afraid of her. They were afraid of the power she possessed, and they feared her because she looked different. The humans wanted to kill her because they feared others that are different from them. Medusa was one of a kind. Unlike other monsters in Greek mythology like cyclopes, she was the only one of her kind. The humans in her story did not know anything about her because she was the only one of her kind. She was rare and this is one of the reasons she was hunted by Heroes. This fear shows that society fears difference and the unknown. Medusa was labeled as a monster because she was different, and little was known about her.
    Part Two: The creative monster the cyclops reminded me of the historical monster the Blemmyae. The Blemmyae appeared in “The Plinian Races” and it is said to be a monster that has their face on its chest. Historians believe that the explorers that discovered the Blemmyae mistook soldiers that were wearing armor, as a monster. The cyclops in the Odyssey was treated as a human killing monster instead, he could have been a young cyclops that was in love. Creative and Historical monsters are both created out of fear. The cyclops and the Blymmyae were labeled as monsters for two reason. They both looked different and the people that they encountered assumed they were monsters based on their looks. The explorers or Odysseus did not bother to ask them questions are gotten to know them better, instead they assumed the worst. This is not only a problem in creative monster stories or history, but it is also a problem in today’s society. Our society likes to assume the worst instead of asking questions to gain a better understanding.

  3. Part 1:
    “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.” I think this quote fits the evolution of Medusa into her monster form, as it fits with the idea that her past fear and experience has made her more weary of what the gods and other men can do.

    Part 2:
    Most creative monsters are based off of historical monsters and their stories are usually molded around real historical events. A prime example of a monster made real by a historical event is Godzilla, his name Gojira means Gorilla Whale. He was based off of the nuclear explosions that occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to send a message about nature and how nuclear weapons effect the ecosystem.

  4. Part one
    “Fear (of death, mutilation, punishment, loss, isolation and the unknown) is a great motivator- perhaps the great motivator” of human behavior” I picked this quote because fear is the only thing that makes people move on from seemingly comfortable situations. I wanted to compare this to the story Bisclavret for this week. This story is about a werewolf and what I took from it was a werewolf exposing what they are and the lines “I’d stay a bisclavret forever;
    Nothing could help me, I’d never Change back till I got them again. That’s why I don’t want it known.’ ‘My lord,” the lady replied, ‘It’s true More than all the world I love you”. This proves the point of when a person is afraid in this case the werewolf doesn’t want people to know of the nature of his being, due to ridicule for wanting to be like this and being different.
    Part two
    For part two I would want to connect the imaginary monster of the werewolf with what we talked about in class freak shows. There are many movies about werewolves and they are sometimes viewed as aggressive but also in some cases like in Harry Potter they are helpful misunderstood creatures. The commonality being misunderstood, people fear them but want to see them and know more about them but not come into close contact because of fear of the unknown.

  5. 1.) “Fear is one of two powerful, necessary emotions triggered by watching a tragic protagonist undergo his or her struggles; the other is pity. Fear in performance, requires a deep emphatic connection to a character on stage.” This quote can be related back to the Bisclavret poem, where a knight was portrayed by his wife making him stuck as a garwolf. The audience understands how this knight is stuck with this curse of becoming a werewolf and how his wife, Brittany, wants to know where he keeps disappearing into. Also he was feared/hesitant at first, he still tells his wife because he loves her, putting himself at danger of being stuck as a werewolf. Brittany betrays her husband by taking his clothes that allow him to transform back to human, and is stuck as a werewolf. Since the audience feels for the knight they are saddened and fearful that this situation could happen to themselves
    2.) A link that I have caught onto while comparing imaginary and historical monsters is that monsters can be made from anything that appears different. For example Medusa is an imaginary monster who has snakes as hair and turns people to stone when they look at her eyes. The bearded lady from P.T. Barnum’s freak show was a historical monster because she was hairy. Both of these situations can represent that these two ladies are not monsters. Medusa was an upstanding citizen who had a curse put on her after being raped, and the bearded lady was an upstanding citizen as well, in fact she would write in three different languages! The term monster came from what people thought were different about others, not an actual monster which I would define as being immoral, inhumane, and a wicked person.

  6. Part One: “When humans perform stories, they do not merely tell them but embody them, and in so doing collapse certain boundaries which are otherwise usually considered inviolate.” Michael Chemers “Act of fear” This quote made me think back on everything we learned about Medusa on Tuesday. She never wanted to become the monster she was made. In the performing arts any kind of monster thats played never really wanted to be a monster. The collapse of boundaries which truly means in an acting stand point all hope is gone and they are in fight mode for the rest of the production (or scene). The fear is within them; but their is no escape.

    Part Two: King Kong has always been a huge blockbuster break out film. I would have to say one creative monster that is based off a historical monster would be King Kong; a monster we haven’t spoke off in class yet. Although, it sounds wrong in our day in age to even consider a very large Ape a monster movies suggest other wise. We can identify right off the bat that there is no large ape climbing the empire state building and terrorizing New York City, but apes in the wild might cause some problems inside the rainforest.

  7. 1) One interesting tidbit about fear is “fear is one of two powerful, necessary emotions triggered by watching a tragic protagonist undergo his or her struggles; the other is pity.” This example can be seen in Beowulf, specifically in the fight with the dragon. Beowulf’s men become afraid and flee the fight, causing Beowulf to struggle and become hopeless at defeating the dragon. It’s not until Wiglaf realizes that he must be brave and helps Beowulf that the beast is finally slain.
    2) Two types of monsters with different origins yet similar messages are Grendel from Beowulf and the various Plinian races. Both creatures are humanoid creatures with monstrous traits, such as unnatural strength, dangerous anatomy, and a taste for human flesh. Additionally, both represent savagery as a force that clashes with civilization.

  8. 1. Chemer asks a question as his last line of “The Act of Fear”: “Why do audiences crave to see their monsters resurrected and made to repeat their horrific plots?”. I think the answer to this question is simple; we like to see these monsterous creatures get defeated by humanity. Beowulf, perhaps one of the oldest stories ever told in English, is essentially about a man who defeats 3 monsters throughout his life. Audiences love to see him encounter horrific monster like Grendel, who could kill a normal man in a flash, and watch as Beowulf gets justice by ripping the creatures arm off and taking it as a trophy. We, as a species, just love to hear stories about humanity defeating evil and in most cases a monster is used to represent evil.

    2. The Cyclops in the Odyssey story we read has some interesting connections to the other Greek monsters we discussed earlier in the semester. He acts human enough; he has a house, herds animals, makes cheese. He basically lives like a farmer, except for his size and appetite for human flesh. He, like the other Greek monsters we discussed earlier, has human qualities, but is not fully human and is therefore monstrous. He also lives on an island, far away from Greece, an unknown land. This Cyclops and perhaps many of the monsters in the Odyssey embody the fear of the unknown that we discussed in the first half of out class. These monsters represent a fear of what may live outside of Greece. The unknown lands contain unknown dangers.

  9. 1. In the story of Beowulf fear is represented heavily. Fear is even represented in the background information of the story. The people of the different tribes were afraid of each other and their differences, leading to the unrest of the time. The actually story of Beowulf includes characters such as Grendel, a powerful monster that no doubt inflicts fear on those who come in contact.
    2. The Grettis saga reminded me of the hero cycle we talked about in class on Tuesday. Reading through the story there is the element of a normal life, then going on the adventure and having to go through multiple different tasks to reach the final goal.

  10. Chemers writes “there is a general agreement that wherever a boundary is drawn, a monster can be a powerful cultural tool for the expression of social tension”. Monsters represent what we fear and why we fear them. Medusa upset a the God Athena and was cursed to be hideous. This could be an reference to how women were treated and expected to act, as well as the fear of upsetting the Gods. The story was used as a warning to what could happen to anyone. It also represented a fear of non-conformity, or being different than everyone around you. People are afraid of isolation, so Medusa served as a tale of what can happen to those who do not fit in.

    Medusa reminded me of the Shining Eyed Men Pliny talked about. Both were shunned and ostracized due to appearances. Medusa was envied because of her beauty, and Athena cursed her to be hideous. The Shining-Eyed men are said that there was nothing exceptional about them, except their eyes gleamed unusually. Both represent how appearance contributes to how we see others and deem them as monsters. Both lived a mostly normal life, and were considered almost normal. Before Medusa was cursed she was beautiful, very normal. Yet she became a monster when Athena made her hideous, even though Medusa had not changed any values or who she was as a person (in fact, she was loyal to Athena and tried to deny Poseidon so she could continue as Priestess in Athena’s temple). Both monsters had nothing extraordinary about them until others took a look at their appearance.

  11. 1. The quote that found interesting that Chemers says about in “the act of fear” is “Not only do we experiences fear differently according to how we understand it; we can also experience fear with variety of wildly different emotional response.” The story that this quote mostly apples to is what happened to Medusa. Poseidon raped Medusa because of her beauty, and she keeps saying no to him, but he did not like that answer. She did not want to be with him because she was the high-priestess for Athena, and she is to be a virgin. She feared that he would take her virginity, and she would be on longer the high-priestess, which was what happened. Athena did not feel sorry for her, so she cured her to have snakes’ heads as hair, and if anyone looks at her will turn to stone. Medusa’s emotional response was her fare turned her evil, taking all the hate, and running the men into stone that were sent to kill her.

    2. A link I can identify between the creative and historical monsters would be that they are connected in some way. Creative monsters are new versions of the old monsters. For example, vampires have been around for a long time, and every story about them has changed. Many things have changed about vampires over the year, but one thing that has not changed is that they drink blood. Creative monsters are the old monsters but are changed to fit what people like at that particular time.

  12. Part One: A quote I found interesting from Michael Chremer’s “Act of Fear” was: “Unlike other flavors of fear, horror does not dissipate but persists, as if once we allow the image of the unfeasible, impossible alternate reality into our minds, the possibility of it latches on to our imagination and grows there, manifesting as nightmares and an amorphous sense of creeping doom that might last a very long time indeed” (Chremer). It reminded me of chapter 35 of the Grettis Saga during the very last scene between Grettir and Glam. Glam warned Grettis of his future before his head was decapitated. His warning was: “your deeds shall turn to evil and your guardian-spirit shall forsake you. And his I lay upon you, that these eyes of mine shall be ever before your vision. You will find it hard to live alone, and at last, shall drag you to death.” Glam’s warning rang true after his head was cut off as Grettir started to fear the dark and could not go anywhere alone at night; he began seeing apparitions of Glam everywhere–otherwise known as “Glam vision.” His patience ran thin, and it kept him from being the hero he was in this story for ridding Vatnsdal of Glam’s evil spirit. “Glam vision” shows us that our deepest fears can delude how we perceive things and influence or behavior.
    Part Two: Glam from the “Grettis Saga” reminded me of the werewolf because both monsters terrorize people during the nighttime. There was a specific scene in Chapter 35 when Grettis and Glam fell out of the house as they were fighting while the moon was shining. The presence of the moon gave Glam “more malignant power” to fight Grettis. Although werewolves only transform during a full moon, they still become more powerful to attack their prey. From a literal perspective, Glam and the werewolves show us that we all have something that triggers our own monster to surface.

  13. Part 1: The quote I found is: “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 want to apply this quotation to the story of Medusa. This specific Chemers quote on fear connects to the story of Medusa because of the fear that sat with Medusa as Poseidon raped her and took away her judged credibility of being Athena’s priestess. Medusa’s experience with fear in this situation was much different from what Poseidon experienced. The fear that struck through Medusa was displayed through power. She was able to turn men into stone with just one glance. This representation of fear suggests that the writer or society of this particular story could have had a fear of societal rejection, judgment, or even damaged reputation embedded in their thought process.

    Part 2: I want to connect the imaginary monster of the vampire with the reality of “monstrous” illnesses. There have been countless illnesses deemed as monstrous, such as plagues, throughout history. We discussed in class once that vampires were dramatic examples of a blood disorder known as “porphyria”. This is one way that creative monsters and historical monsters are found to be similar.

  14. 1) In Michael Chemers passage titled “The act of fear”, he explains to us that fear is more than just a reaction to something scary. Fear is a natural reaction that stems from our own relatability to the character in danger. He states that “Fear … requires a deep empathic connection to a character”, because in order for us to be afraid for the characters in a story, we need to be able to see ourselves in the character. By connecting to the protagonist on a more human level, it allows us to see ourselves in them, and in turn causes us to fear for ourselves when they are in danger. This is why in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” we are able to feel fear for our protagonist. He is portrayed as just an everyday common man (no different than the reader), so that when he faces hardship, so do we. We are able to fear for Goodman Brown as if we are fearing for ourselves, because in a way, we are.
    2) When reading Homer’s “Odyssey”, we see Odysseus’ reaction to his discovery of the Cyclops’ island. He refers to them as having “no meeting place for council, no laws either … each a law to himself”. To Greeks, this sort of lawless lifestyle was strange and foreign, and is similarly shown among the various Plinian races. People living among another culture with societal norms different from that of the Greeks was seen as strange, and even monstrous. The Speechless Men, for example, were thought to be some strange race of men found in Ethiopia that was unable to speak, and so communicated using hand gestures. We can now presume that they simply used some sort of primitive sign language, but at the time, this sort of nonverbal communication was entirely foreign to the Greeks, and so it was labeled as a monstrous trait. These simple changes in culture were enough to distinguish the race of Greeks from the “others”.

  15. For part one, I decided to discuss the passage in which Michael Chemers writes about how fear is passed down through oral stories. This is important because even before literature, monsters were still being known about and told throughout different cultures. And from this, we are able to see that across multiple cultures, there are specific characteristics that appear and that multiple groups of people consider characteristics of a frightening monster.

    For the second part, I wanted to explore the idea that the historical and fictional monsters relate to one another because the ideas for the fictional came from the historical. In other words, the fictional monsters are just reincarnated versions of the historical monsters. Characteristics of different types are taken from multiple different monsters and then combined with one another to create something that is different. For example, I believe that the idea for the fictional monster of the Slenderman came from many previous historical monster stories that told of how the monsters would specifically go after kids, much like the witch did in Hansel and Gretel.

  16. 1) In Michael Chemers’ “act of fear,” he discusses fear from many perspectives. Chemer states, “We call it terror when it threatens to paralyze our ability to react, or panic when it overwhelms us and forces us to act irrationally.” I feel that this quote connects to the story of Medusa because she was rapped by Poseidon and many people know it can be hard for the victim after something like that happens. She wasn’t able to do anything about it and in the end, she even got punished for it. Her punishment was a curse that when people looked into her eyes, they became terrified and turned to stone. This relates because terror is when someone is threatened it paralyzes their ability to react and when people look into Medusa’s eyes, they feel terror and become paralyzed by turning into stone.

    2) To continue with Medusa, I want to compare her to real life monster like the ones in the freak shows. She was a very typical and beautiful woman that was cursed causing her to have venomous snakes as hair. At the time of freak shows people were afraid of difference and didn’t like the people that weren’t “normal.” Like the lady that was an adult baby or the bearded lady, people thought of them as monsters because they didn’t fit the image of a normal woman. Medusa didn’t fit that image either after she was cursed causing people to hunt her for her head because she was different, and they wanted to show her head off and be known as a hero for taking her off the streets. The lady’s in the freak shows were being shown off for being different like they did with Medusa’s head.

  17. Part 1: In Michael Chemers “The act of fear”, he explains to us that fear helps us develop survival skills. “Fear is evolutionary advantageous- learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival skills”. This is shown in Beowulf. Although Beowulf was scared to fight the monster Grendel. He fought the ferocious beast and his mother and killed them both, making him eventually the leader of the Geates. If Beowulf did not defeat Grendel and his mother, The beasts may have killed the whole kingdom. Sometimes overcoming your fear has great advantages, and may be needed for survival.
    Part 2: The werewolf monster can be compared to a historical monster. Although it may look different and is thought to be scary, werewolves can be like an average human. For example, werewolves in the movie Twilight have basic needs like humans do. They are just considered a monster because like historical monsters, they may look and act “unusual”.

  18. “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,” (Chemers). This quote tells us that fear can be expressed through different emotions. This quote can be related to the story of Medusa. She was a beautiful woman before she was raped and pushed for it. Medusa showed her fears by denying other men.

    A connection that I would make between a real-life monster and an ancient monster would be a siren and Medusa. These two monsters are females and represent the idea that most monsters are females. They are both portrayed as beautiful at a point. Sirens were known to kill men and Medusa turned people into stone.

  19. Part 1: One quote from Chemer’s account of “the act of fear” comes from when he introduces a quote from Aristotle that “describes the incitement of fear as indispensable to the purpose of tragedy…one of two powerful, necessary emotions triggered by watching a tragic protagonist undergo [their] struggles; the other is pity.” I actually see this quote not for the protagonist Perseus, but by the monster Medusa. If one were to look at Medusa as the protagonist of the story, it actually plays much like that of a fallen hero. The audience fears what is going to happen to Medusa when Poseidon gets to her, as she herself might fear betraying the goddess Athena. This follows with the feeling of pity as Medusa, at least in our culture, did nothing wrong but was turned into a monster anyway. When she is turned into a monster, this fear turns into anger as she lashes out at those who try to hunt her. Ancient Greek society may have seen Medusa in the fear of betraying the gods and being a symbol of feminist power (as the culture favored masculinity). To modern society, Medusa represents the fear of victimization, rape, and possible even feminist power taken to the extreme (i.e. women are superior to men).

    Part 2:
    Cyclops reminds me of “The Plinian Races” and how they were humans who were depicted, as monsters for looking or doing things that were considered “inhuman”, and there for beings that one shouldn’t associate. This is with how humanistic he is depicted by Theocritus is his poems with his love life and how he lives a fairly human life despite being large, having one eye, and eating people. Polyphemus is even located on an island solely for Cyclopes and not with humans. I believe this further displays how detached Greek society was to the rest of the world and how everything to them that was unknown was monstrous. The Cyclopes are also a message to those not to interact with “the other” in any way was the sea nymph Galatea never loved Polyphemus, and Odysseus was not only trapped on his island, but had to feel Poseidon’s wrath.

  20. Chemers states that “Fear is evolutionary advantageous- learning to fear is a key element in developing good survival skills,” and this concept can be applied to real life and can be seen on many occasions in literature. Pertaining to our reading, it can be seen in the character of Grendel’s mother, one of the monsters mentioned in Beowulf. She is a character that has stayed alive so long because she’s only taken what she needed to survive, and then runs for the hills. Her fear of being caught and killed for her monstrosity is what keeps her alive, until Beowulf actively seeks her out.
    I think the werewolf from the readings could loosely be compared to the people in some of the freak shows we studied. The woman who could grow a beard and the boy who could grow hair all over his body were considered unnatural, perhaps even animalistic by some viewers, though they were certainly no more dangerous that any other person. In some versions of the story, the werewolf is a terrifying and violent creature, whereas other versions portray it as a misunderstood, non-violent creature.

  21. A particular quote from Chemer’s excerpt that stood out to me was, “Fear in performance…requires a deep empathetic connection to the 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…” I found this quote interesting because it explains why the Odyssey is such a popular, transcendent story as it relates to the main character, Odysseus. As far as Greek epics go, Odysseus exhibited much more “human-ness” than many other literary heroes of the time. This is evident in his hubris, evidenced by him announcing his identity to the Cyclops in triumph. It is also shown through his unfaithfulness and stubbornness. When people can see themselves in the hero’s position, it makes their trials and battles seem all the more terrifying. In this situation, the audience would be the ones experiencing fear and their reaction to this self-visualizing phenomenon would be an increase in emotion. This may suggest that the author embraces heroic figures that are more humanistic than divine, as he may find that they prove more enthralling to the reader.
    One main aspect that links both the creative and historical monsters of ancient and medieval worlds is the fact that these monsters maintain a sort of warped similarity to humans. For instance, while learning about medieval monsters we discussed the mermaid, which was half-woman, half-fish. We also discussed the centaur, a human-horse hybrid, as well as many other creatures with human features. These types of monsters are comparable to monsters like the cyclops, who appear mostly human, however, they are described as being extremely large and only having one eye. There is also the siren, a creature resembling a beautiful young woman, but possessing the power to lure sailors to their death by singing a magical song. This all ties back to my first point; the more we as humans can see ourselves in the character, the more heightened our emotions become, which explains why this genus of monster continues to remain relevant over time.

  22. Part One:
    In Michael Chemers’ section on the “act of fear”, there was one quote that stood out to me the most. Towards the end of his section he says “Unlike other flavors of fear, horror does not dissipate but persists, as if our minds, the possibility of it latches on to our imagination and grows there, manifesting as nightmares and an amorphous sense of creeping doom that might last a very long time indeed.” I really enjoyed this quote because he explains in a deeper and more explained meaning of how our imaginations form fears that aren’t real but we force ourselves to believe in them. The quote I chose could be compared to the article written on werewolves because it explains why people believe in mythical creatures and why they’re so afraid even though they aren’t real. People could experience an event that could be logically explained but they would rather believe it was something out of the ordinary and imaginary because their subconscious takes over. Chermer explains how our imaginations grasp onto an idea and form it into something even crazier than it seems that instills fear within their minds.

    Part Two:
    There are a few links that could be made between the make-believe and historical creatures we’ve discussed in class. These monsters were created by the cultures they originated from and the fears that those people had during their specific time period. For example, witches in Salem became relevant in history because two girls accused one woman of witchcraft and caused a widespread hysteria. In reality, those who were accused were actually witches or practicing witchcraft were innocent. Another example to consider would be Medusa, a beautiful woman who became a monster by force. She denied Poseidon and because of this he raped her in Athena’s temple and she cursed her to have snakes for hair and if anyone looked into her eyes they would turn to stone. A large part of the monsters we’ve learned about are sexist towards women and have been a commonly discussed issue. Mainly women were accused for being witches and Medusa was innocent but was turned into a monster for denying a God. Women have been taken advantage of throughout history, turned into monsters and continue to be used.

  23. From Michael Chemers’ brief account of the “act of fear,” he mentions something that I found to be interesting and noticeably relatable to one of the monstrous characters from ancient Greece, “Like all emotions, fear can be overpowering, paralyzing, and irrational”(Chemers). The quote can easily be associated with the story of Medusa. Chemers’ idea about fear connects up to the story of Medusa because the character is known for her ability to scare people into stone. This concept of onlookers just simply seeing Medusa’s face causing them to be immediately stricken with fear and then turning into stone, is an exact example for what the quote is stating. The characters afraid in this story are the people who encounter Medusa and the ones who know of her. These characters are afraid of being turned into stone and it impacts their behavior by casing them to be anxious when having to face her or fight her. This representation of fear suggests that the society that spawned this particular story created a character trying to show the real effects of fear and what better way than to create a character who strikes fear into its onlookers and causes them to freeze into stone.
    An imaginary monster that I can connect to a “real life” figure is the Cyclops to Donald Trump. People feel that Donald Trump is very one sided on the debate on whether illegal immigrants should be deported or not. He is very headstrong on that topic and Cyclops are known to only be able to see one side of things with their one eye. The idea behind Cyclops is that with their one eye they can only see one viewpoint and no other. Cyclops were created in order represent people who are close-minded and are not open to viewing other people’s ideas. For example, Donald Trump does not consider that the children of illegal immigrants suffer due to the removal of their parents and family members. He is closed-minded to other peoples ideas on how to handle the situation.

  24. For the first question, I would like to state that with all the chaos being sorted out currently I couldn’t get to all the readings and will take the appropriate penalties for anything not answered in this post as I still want to post something.

    For the second half, I will like to compare Warewolfs to politicians for the fact of the ruthlessness of politicians. Instead of a full moon, most politicians transform during times they benefit, such as during times of crisis where they can pretend they are trying to help, or during debates where they attempt to show “true” colors which always come out as fake.

  25. 1) One of the quotes I found to be most profound in Michael Chemer’s “Act of Fear” was: “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 believe this quote lends itself well to explaining the aspects of fear in the story of Medusa. This can be explained by Medusa’s reaction to being raped by Poseidon, who had done so despite her rejection; She was frozen with fear. Conversely, what Medusa was to be feared for would elicit an entirely different type of fear in people; They feared her like a god due to hear ability to turn people to stone with her gaze.
    2) I believe Medusa also presents a strong case for this section. A woman admired for her beauty and chastity is turned into a hideous “imaginary” snake-monster. This is not unlike the kind of deformity that would be exploited in exhibitions of freaks and circus acts – deformities which none involved could help having – just like medusa after she was cursed.

  26. From Michael Chemers’ brief account of the “act of fear,” there is a quote that stood out to me that I could relate to one of the monstrous characters we learned about which is, “I would observe that the adverse reaction Munteanu describes is engendered specifically by a grotesque stimulus that directly challenges the viewer’s understanding of how the universe works” (Chemers). Chemers’ idea about fear connects up to the story of the Cyclops because the Cyclops is something that everyone fears when they first see it because it is a creature of such off stature. It is very large with only one eye that eats people as a food source. The characters afraid are the people who encounter the Cyclops. They are afraid of being eaten by the Cyclops and this impacts their behavior because they are in shock when they see it and they are scared for their lives. This representation of fear suggests that the society that spawned this story was most likely afraid of someone for looking different. The society that created this story probably came across a different looking ethnicity of people and this is the fictitious story they made up about them.
    The Cyclops is easily connectable to the idea of closed-minded people. Cyclops have one eye and their one eye represents the one-sided mind of most people today. The creative and historical monsters of the ancient and medieval were created to represent people of that time. There definitely were not any actual monsters during those time periods, instead they were just stories created to tell a life lesson or to explain how some people are in humanity. The larger ideas or issues that we can discover through these connections are that people can be monsters. Monsters were only created due to the actions of humanity and without humanity being the way it is, then the idea of monsters would never have existed in the first place. If we lived in a perfect world where everyone was nice and no one ever did anything wrong or evil, then the term monster wouldn’t exist.

  27. Michael Chemers in his article The Dramaturgy of Empathy “The Act of fear” he states that “The study of fear, and how it may be represented, is primal to the story of performance” (11), this is very interesting to me because he’s essentially stating that fear and performance cannot be separated from one another because performance relies on the concepts of fear. In the Odyssey Odysseus fights the Cyclops, but would the Cyclops make a good monster or villain if he wasn’t huge, abnormal, and unnatural? No, he wouldn’t, no one fears a random guy living in a cave and herding sheep because that’s comfortable but If you change this person to a twenty-foot-tall, one-eyed, human eating being then you suddenly have a reason to be afraid. You can be afraid of the Monster but also about the fate of the Hero. In the Odyssey the main fear isn’t the Monsters that Odysseus encounter but rather the fact that you should fear the wraith of the Gods and shouldn’t tempt them to act against you.
    The Cyclops is an interesting Monster because it draws so much from actual aspects of Human life. The main attractiveness of the Cyclops is the fact that he has one eye, is very large, and that he eats Humans. First, Cyclopia is an actual birth defect where children are born with only one eye. Secondly, Gigantism is also a disorder where the body produces more Growth Hormone and causes them to grow much large than most people. Finally, cannibalism is an actual thing and although it seems unnatural it has been used by multiple groups throughout history. What’s interesting is that if you only have one of these aspects it creates an abnormal Human but it still allows it to be identified as Human, but when you combine all three of these characteristics you have a Monster that strikes fear into the hearts of the most brave Heroes.

  28. Part 1: Chemers said fear is “a neurological response to certain stimuli” A ancient Greece tale that give an example of this neurological response is the incident between Medusa and Poseidon. Even though Poseidon is a god and not a monster, what he did to Medusa is considered monstrous. Poseidon, who was tired being rejected by Medusa, decides to rape Medusa. Medusa, fear of being raped by Poseidon, fear of her angering Athena because those who worship Athena can’t have sexual intercourse. Medusa plead Athena to protect her, but Athena did not respond. Poseidon raped Medusa and Athena punished Medusa by turning into a gorgon, monstrous snake that turn people into stone by looking at them. Medusa was slain by Perseus and he uses her head as a weapon afterwards. This representation of fear suggest about the Greek society is that women don’t have the same amount of protection or right like the men of Greek have.

    Part 2: “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?” Going back to Medusa, who was raped by Poseidon and turned into a gorgon to be slain by Perseus, Medusa is used as a feminist icon of female fury. Another interpretation of Medusa’s story is the case of rape-victim blaming by Athena and was a popular symbol for the #metoo movement, a moment to expose sexual assault or harassment.

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