Some Fascinating Creatures in Greek Mythology: Their Symbolic Significance and Depiction in Art and Literature


  • Madhu Bala
  • Amit Kumar


Since earliest times monsters have awed, terrified and enthralled us, and they have figured in the myths, stories, poetry and prose of numerous cultures down the ages.  There are thousands of poems and passages about them in Classical (i.e. ancient Greek and Latin) literature, ranging all the way from the horrific to the humorous. Finding stories about these creatures which are highly entertaining in themselves, we acquire a basic grounding in literary criticism which will enable us to read narratives about monsters with more perception and more enjoyment. The depiction of monsters and fascinating creatures in literature reveals a lot about the cultures that produce them. The fact that there were so many Classical monsters makes it clear that they filled a need for the Greeks and Romans, for example by providing a safe thrill and scare. They show us what the ancients feared and also found fascinating, what worried them, and what was felt to be good and normal. They give us insights into a view of the human situation-the trials and horrors of life, and how they overcome the terrifying powers of wild nature.

Keywords: Literature, classical, monsters, insight, Greeks