Oh so many months ago I promised to get back to the topic of monsters and then I was derailed by an alphabet and gynecomastia. Now I am back to monsters and more accurately, the opposite of the monstrous: the hero.
In a previous blog post I posited the monstrous reveals the fears, the demonized and the outsider in a culture. A hero works the opposite way. A hero will be the embodiment of those virtues we prize most. Thus if you know the heroes of a culture, you know quite a bit about the culture, its values, morals and its ideals.
There are two examples I can think of that reveal different aspects of different cultures: Odysseus and the Winchester brothers from the TV show Supernatural. Odysseus, kept from home for 10 years, persists in his return to his home and his wife, Penelope. He overcomes the different monsters through his cleverness and his trickery. Although Odysseus loves his wife and longs to return to her, he also spends some time in the beds of the Circe and Calypso. When he does return home to his faithful wife, he kills all her suitors. From this we can extrapolate how the ancient Greek culture valued cleverness, trickery, and sexual experience in men while women like Penelope were to be faithful, pure, and clever.
The Winchester brothers roam from town to town throughout the US, killing supernatural creatures that threaten humans. They defeat the creatures with a combination of strength, firepower, wit, knowledge, and cleverness. There are often women they bed along the way, to be disposed of as they move on to another town. This work requires them to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the humans they are trying to protect and each other. These different aspects reveal a culture that values sexual experience, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and physical ability, not to mention classic rock and cars.
These are just some observations in my ongoing look at monsters and mythology. Hope all the Barazers out there have a great week!