The world is an amalgamation of all that is good along with the so good elements too. Since literature is in a way reflection of life in a creative canvas, evil is often depicted in the form of monsters. Creatures with features that could cause terror in humans have long walked the halls of the literary world in the form of legends or anecdotes. Let’s find out about some with the capacity to make you even lose control of your bladder if told in the right manner!
Polyphemus, a Cyclops, is the son of Poseidon in Greek Mythology. He is a colossal giant with a single eye in the middle of his forehead described in Homer’s Odyssey where he traps Odysseus’ men in a cave and eats them, few at a time. In the tale he was inebriated and blinded with a flaming stake. A cannibalistic monster, he is perhaps one of the most read about as well as menacing ones in literature.
9. The Jabberwock:
Lewis Carroll’s nonsensical poem ‘Jabberwocky’ using playful, whimsical language contained the description of The Jabberwack. He described Jabberwock as having jaws that bite, claws that catch and eyes of flame. In creating or writing about Jabberwock, Lewis Carroll is believed to have been inspired by the Sunderland area legend of the giant Lambton Worm. Tenniel’s illustration of the book provides a vivid imagery of the monster as having ‘the leathery wings of a pterodactyl and the long scaly neck and tail of a sauropod.
Leviathan is the name that has become synonymous with sea monsters through religious literature, predominantly Jewish and Christian. It has been referenced in the Tanakh and in the Christian Old Testament. Some Jewish sources describe it as a dragon which eats one whale each day! In an eleventh century religious poem, piyyut, it is described as having mighty fins too.
7. The Dragon:
The Dragon is the third monster that appears in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. Beowulf is perhaps one of the first accounts of a Dragon Slayer in English literature. The Dragon is described as a fire breathing dragon and as a worm or a serpent having a venomous bite. Infact such powerful is the impression of the dragon from Beowulf that J.R.R. Tolkien used it as a template for Smaug of The Hobbit.
6. Frankenstein’s Monster:
Frankenstein’s Monster first appeared in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. It is described as 8-foot-tall, dreadfully obnoxious, with translucent yellowish skin such that the vessels and muscles looked same. It has black lips and prominent white teeth with glowing eyes. There have been several renditions of Frankenstein’s monster and all equally capable of intimidation.
5. Poulpe or The Giant Squid:
The Giant Squid from Jules Verne’s classic science fiction novel 20,000 Leagues under the Sea is another daunting monster in literature. He mentions in the book that this animal or the giant squid could be only six feet long having twenty-seven feet long tentacles. The plot is about an expedition arranged by the United States government to track down and kill a mysterious sea monster which later turns out to be a submarine, the Nautilus. The Giant squid is mentioned as one that attacks the Nautilus.
It is the mysterious entity that appears an eponymous being in American author Stephen King’s horror novel ‘It’. It is described being of extraterrestrial origin which hibernates for some 25-30 years waking up during catastrophes. Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the most common form it assumes. It can change its form at will and is hell bent on scaring children. It’s true from is that of a giant spider looking directly at which either kills a person or drive them insane.
One legend in Greek Mythology states that Scylla was the daughter of the river god Crataeis who was loved by Glaucus. But Glaucus was also loved by a sorceress Circe. Circe out of jealousy poured a potion into the sea in which Scylla was bathing that turned her into a monster with four eyes, six long necks, each with grisly heads, and each of these heads with three rows of sharp teeth. She had twelve tentacle-like legs and a cat’s tail while four to six dog-heads ringed her waist. It was in this form that she attacked sailors.
Basilisk is a legendary reptile that finds its roots in European legends. It is said to be the king of serpents and has the power to cause death by a single glance. It is believed to have a crown-shaped crest on its head. The Basilisk appears in the Bible, William Shakespeare’s Richard III, Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, in a poem by Jonathan Swift, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ode to Naples” and most recently in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
Medusa was a Gorgon having the head of a hideous female with living poisonous snakes in place of hair. In Greek Mythology, it was said that anyone who gazed upon her directly would turn into stone. It is said that she was beheaded by Perseus, who thereafter used her head as a weapon. Nevertheless, throughout literature Medusa has been a daunting figure capable to run a chill down your spine. The thought of an unsightly face with snakes as hair and the power to turn you into stone certainly is repulsive and scary!