Monster Story: Cyclops And Dracula Essay Samples
Dracula and the Cyclops represent two of the most famous monsters in history. They both terrorized man at two distinctly periods of history, Victorian England and Ancient Greece, respectively. Both monsters evolved to represent the worst of human characteristics: greed; lust; and violence. By feeding on humans and taking their lives, both monsters connect and draw out deep rooted fears in humans which make them such excellent examples of monsters.
Bram Stoker released his novel, Dracula in 1897. It was not the first story to deal with vampires. The legend of vampires originated in Eastern Europe. The original vampires were thought to haunt the area where they once lived and fed off the life of their victims, generally by drinking their blood.
Bram Stoker reintroduced the concept of vampires as a predator and a monster during the Victorian era in England. At the time, science was beginning to dispel myths and explain how things worked in the natural world. The introduction of Dracula, a monster that could not be explained by science was appealing and mysterious to the general public. Dracula is representative of a true monster because he seduces men and women through the power of the mind. Victims are drawn to him, not repulsed. Once they are in his grip, he empties the life from
them by drinking their blood. He may also choose not to kill them and instead infect them to become a vampire like himself. This makes the concept of Dracula truly terrifying, death or life eternal as a vampire. The protagonist, Dr. Abraham van Hesling is a man of science who discovers the only way to kill the vampire is with a wooden stake through the heart. This is a truly unscientific and irrational way to destroy a monster. The existence, lifestyle and the manner in which Dracula must be destroyed all contradict the values of Victorian Society and science of that time.
The concept of Dracula drinking blood for not only survival but to maintain his immortality went against popular religious convictions at the time. One attained immortality in death by living a good Christian lifestyle through adherence of the teaching of the Bible. The character of Dracula contradicted these beliefs.
The Cyclops of Ancient Greek mythology was large, manlike being who possessed one eye in the center of his forehead. The Cyclops is known to eat mainly meat and men. The Cyclops is not very smart, but very strong. The most famous Cyclops is Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon, god of the sea and a Nereid (water nymph), Thoosa. Polyphemus was featured in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. The hero of the story, Odysseus encounters Polyphemus on his island where he lives a simple, quiet life. Odysseus and his men happen upon the island and find refuge in Polyphemus’ cave. When Polyphemus discovers them he eats two of Odysseus’ men. He traps them in the cave and later eats two more of his men. Odysseus stages an escape by getting Polyphemus drunk on undiluted wine. The plan works. During their escape, Odysseus blind the Cyclops with a wooden stake.
The Cyclops represents the perfect monster for the Ancient Greeks. Cyclops are extremely large and strong, these are attributes that the Greeks esteemed. The Cyclops were also the sons of gods and goddesses and know to be excellent craftsman of the forge. Because of sheer physical presence and an insatiable appetite, men are in grave danger when in the company of the
Cyclops. There is a good chance they will end up lunch. The notion of being eaten a live is a truly terrifying thought. The Ancient Greeks had great respect for intellect, because the Cyclops was not smart, he represented the worst of characteristics for the Ancient Greeks. The one eye also suggests a birth defect which for Ancient Greeks were fearful of. The Ancient Greeks were also moving towards enlightened knowledge of the world around them, education and the advancement of civilization. The valued science, learning and the arts. Cyclops represent the opposite of these ideals: brutality and stupidity.
It is interesting to note that Cyclops were favored by the gods of Greek mythology. The gods appreciated their talents for blacksmithing. According to mythology, they are responsible for creating Poseidon’s trident and Zeus’ thunderbolts. The assisted the Greek gods in overthrowing the Titans. The Greeks must have created these stories to demonstrate the strength of their gods and their lack of fear of the Cyclops. However, an encounter between a human and a Cyclops would result in the human becoming the Cyclops’ next meal.
Both Dracula and the Cyclops represent true monsters at the times they were created. Encounters with either resulted in death for a human. Both preyed on humans as a source of nourishment. Humans create monsters that affect the deepest fears in their minds and hearts. These monsters represent the traits that were abhorred and feared during their respective time periods.