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Information about GreekMythology

Published on January 9, 2008

Author: Rachele


Greek Mythology, Monsters and Exotic Worlds, Part I :  Greek Mythology, Monsters and Exotic Worlds, Part I HOMER AND STANLEY KUBRICK’S 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY You can’t have an Odyssey without an Iliad:  You can’t have an Odyssey without an Iliad The Iliad is the story of the Trojan War – a long, bloody conflict lasting ten years. How did Troy finally fall? The Trojan Horse:  The Trojan Horse Odysseus gets all the credit for the Trojan Horse, which finally allows the Greeks to capture Troy, thus setting off the epic cycle of myths surrounding the return (or dispersal) of the heroes of the war (eg. Menelaus, Diomedes, Aeneas) Vergil’s famous line: quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes The horse appears as a gift to the Trojans, but a gift fraught with dangers (keep this theme in mind when we get to Kubrick) The Odyssey in 1500 Words Or Less:  The Odyssey in 1500 Words Or Less 1. Odysseus visits the Lotus-Eaters. Where were they going again? Our hero visits the land of Polyphemus. In a fit of pique, he decides to tell the Cyclopes his real name, thereby bringing down the wrath of Poseidon upon him and his men. Aeolus, king of the winds, gives Odysseus enough wind to get him where he’s going. His companions open the bag at the wrong time and get blown off course. Odysseus visits the Laistrygones, thereby making his men lunch. I mean, they REALLY became lunch. Our Hero Soldiers On:  Our Hero Soldiers On Odysseus ends up on Circe’s island. With a little help from moly, he saves his men from a life of swine. 6. The Sirens’ Song. The Greek version of “between a rock and a hard place” – Scylla and Charydis. Odysseus’s men slaughter the Sun’s cattle. Zeus then proceedes to sink their boat when they leave the harbor. Just One More Adventure!:  Just One More Adventure! After getting blown back to Charydis, Odysseus paddles about for nine days, winding up with Calypso. John van Sickle sums this adventure up thusly: “From there he gets carried for another nine days to another island, where the nymph Calypso receives him in her vine-girt cave by the sea. For seven years, then, he remained there, required to make love to the goddess by night, but sitting by day on the shore and longing for his distant home.” Odysseus finally gets home, bloodily reclaims his palace, and…. the story ends. What happened then? “Something Wonderful.”:  “Something Wonderful.” What is an odyssey? “The first MYTHEME in our odyssey plot involves getting there (getting started, then getting through or over any hurdles, obstacles, perils, or getting out of baited traps along the way), the second MYTHEME involves getting what you went to get once you get there; while the third MYTHEME involves getting away with it in spite of the guards; and the fourth MYTHEME involves getting back where you came from, again, as on the way out, getting past dangers, which may be harder now because the prize you're bringing back makes you more likely to get ripped off.” (van Sickle) “Something Wonderful.”:  “Something Wonderful.” “In such a story, we can notice, the traveler keeps coming up against the unexpected; in other words, dangers and distractions keep overtaking one. Now "over" plus "take" add up to what in the languages derived from Latin gets called SURPRISE; while coming upon or up against gets called ADVENTURE. So the odyssey we have been defining turns out to be a classic plot of adventure and surprise.” Now we can turn our attentions to Kubrick’s freaky future mindtrip: 2001: A Space Odyssey:  2001: A Space Odyssey 2001: A Space Analogy:  2001: A Space Analogy The movie is fraught with analogies to classical stories and themes When you are watching the movie, see if you agree or disagree with the following four parallels: 1. “The Dawn of Man” – the first scene in the movie. The monkeys meet the monolith, and humanity is changed forever – is it for good or ill? The Monolith as Pandora’s Box? 2001: A Space Analogy:  2001: A Space Analogy 2. The Monolith as a futuristic Trojan Horse. The scene on the moon when Dr. Floyd visits the Monolith on the moon. Leonard Wheat has drawn the following analogies to this scene and the Horse: a) The moon monolith scene takes place at the moon crater Tycho. Kubrick evidently scoured the list of moon crater names Tycho is a real crater name - and chose Tycho, the name that most nearly resembled Troy. Both names are short, both begin with T, and both contain the additional letters o and y. Tycho symbolizes Troy. 2001: A Space Analogy:  2001: A Space Analogy b. The moon monolith is inside the walls of a pit. The pit's walls are the walls of Troy. c. The astronauts in the pit, symbolizing the Trojans, curiously inspect the object that stands within the walls. d. Something comes out of the monolith - a powerful signal beamed at Jupiter e. The symbolized Trojans reel in pain. The surface story has no need for them to reel in pain, no need for the signal to be painful or even audible. Kubrick had the astronauts fall back in pain because he wanted to symbolize the pain of the dying Trojan warriors. 2001: A Space Analogy:  2001: A Space Analogy The adventures/misadventures of Dave are to read as those of Odysseus. Dave’s last name is Bowman  Odysseus was the original “Bow-man” b) When HAL locks Dave out of the Discovery, the mytho- logical roles are reveresed from the Polyphemus story: the human relies on brute strength while the monster relies on genius. c) When Dave enters the Monolith, he forgets himself and his mission; the Monolith serving as a the lotus-plant. 2001: A Space Analogy:  2001: A Space Analogy 4. The Prometheus myth and the Creation of Man. the Monolith brings man a gift, a gift that soon proves to be beyond his control (as does Prometheus) men are created perfectly in a Golden Age, then quickly degenerate into the Iron Age (HAL?) The movie is about creation by design – computers and their part in them - computers that can misfunction and cause destruction - or was that all part of the plan? 2001: Different Analogies:  2001: Different Analogies As you watch, keep these in mind, but also see what your mind tells you  the movie came out in 1968, and people STILL don’t know what it means. When you watch 2010: The Year We Make Contact, see how long they puzzle over one line from Dave Bowman:

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