Archive for the ‘greek mythology’ Tag

Greek Myths and their Symbolism

I’ve been doing a course the last few weeks at City Lit round the corner from Red Bull Media House HQ in Covent Garden. It’s about ‘Greek Myths and their Symbolism’ and I’ve been really enjoying the story patterns and archetypes that have been emerging from the lectures themselves plus my spin-off thoughts as I listened. Here’s one for example…

People Locked In Towers

Daedalus and Icarus were locked in a tower by King Minos

Daedalus and Icarus were locked in a tower by King Minos

The first myth we looked at was that of Daedalus, the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. The co-star of my favourite book, Ulysses by James Joyce, was named after Daedalus.

J. W. Waterhouse - I Am Half-Sick of Shadows Said The Lady of Shalott (1915) painting

J. W. Waterhouse – I Am Half-Sick of Shadows Said The Lady of Shalott (1915) who was locked in a tower by Morgana Le Fay

Based on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1832 Arthurian poem The Lady of Shalott. The enchantress Morgana Le Fay was jealous of the Lady’s beauty and locked her in the tower with the curse not to be able to look out of the window or she would die. Compare Pandora who could not look inside the box and Psyche who could not look at her secret lover (Eros), invisible in the dark.

The Attic that inspired Jane Eyre's 'madwoman in the attic' Bertha

Mrs Rochester, Bertha Mason, was locked in the attic by her husband

This is the attic that inspired Jane Eyre’s ‘mad woman in the attic’ scenario. It’s in the stately home of Norton Conyers in North Yorkshire, which Charlotte Brontë visited in 1839. Brontë’s character, the mentally ill Bertha Mason, is locked in the attic for ten years by her husband Edward Rochester.

rapunzel Illustration for Household stories Brothers Grimm Jacob and Wilhelm Illustrated by Walter Crane 1920

Illustration for Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm drawn by Walter Crane (London: Macmillan, 1920)

Rapunzel was locked in a tower to keep away randy princes – in the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, first published in 1812 in Children’s and Household Tales. Their version is an adaptation of a story by Friedrich Schulz.

Here’s another pattern spotted…

People Falling Out of the Sky

Icarus flew too near the sun and melted the wax of his wings :: Jacob Peter Gowy's The Flight of Icarus (1635–37)

Icarus flew too near the sun and melted the wax of his wings :: Jacob Peter Gowy’s The Flight of Icarus (1635–37)

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Phaethon couldn't control the horses of the sun god, his father Helios :: The Fall of Phaethon by Sebastiano Ricci [b. 1659, Belluno - d. 1734, Venice] (1703-04) [Oil on canvas - Museo Civico, Belluno]

Phaethon couldn’t control the horses of the sun god, his father Helios :: The Fall of Phaethon by Sebastiano Ricci [b. 1659, Belluno – d. 1734, Venice] (1703-04) [Oil on canvas – Museo Civico, Belluno]

Like Icarus, Phaethon is an archetypical stroppy teenager. In Jane Austen’s England a Phaeton was a sporty sort of horse-drawn carriage. Trying to drive Helios’ powerful sun-horses before he was ready is a bit like nicking dad’s sports car – see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Gustave Dore Paradise_Lost John Milton satan falling

Satan was cast out of the sky by God :: Gustave Doré’s illustration for Milton’s Paradise Lost

 

Free Falling The Amazing Spider-Man #8 Artist: Humberto Ramos (Aug 2019)

Free Falling The Amazing Spider-Man #8 Artist: Humberto Ramos (Aug 2019)

Spider-man regularly falls from the sky mid battle. Falling from the sky is often connected to humans overreaching, striving for the divine or angelic side of our nature.

 

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