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Brandy Stark, PhD
18th Annual AFGLC/ICHS Conference
Feb. 23, 2013
• Ancient Greek culture is the birthing grounds for many supernatural
stories including ghosts, vampires, and werewolves
•...
Divine Curse
LycaonTurned Into Wolf, Hendrick Goltzius, 1589
Pausanias,Apollodorus, Lycophron
; later: Ovid (Roman)
Lycaon...
Possible story trying to determine the lost root of the lyk- root (Zeus
Lykaios, Lycaon).
Lyk- means “light” and ties to a...
Herodotus: reports the story of the tribe, Neuri
• People transformed into wolves once a year
• Had no law or justice, no ...
Hecuba: transforms into a dog
• As a captive of Odysseus, the
queen’s last shred of sanity
vanishes. She barks like a dog ...
• The psychological power of the queen’s fall finds a natural home on
stage and within the falsified realities of theater....
TrojanWomen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9sAriamSpU
Entire play:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7MF2phw_Oo
Shows a dig...
•The queen spends a great deal of time
pleading for the life of her
daughter, Polyxena from her fate as a
sacrifice to the...
•Dialogue from the play:
Hecuba: I am avenged on thee; have I not cause for joy?
Polymestor:The joy will soon cease, in th...
Euripides can twist his characters into unique forms as a manner of expressing what
happens when societal expectations are...
TrojanWomen: Hecuba remains a passive captive
Hecuba: Hecuba acts upon her dark emotions
As per the demands of vengeance t...
After the Greeks:
•The Romans added elements such as the removal of clothes and
transformation during the full moon.
•Byza...
Universal Studios: wary of copyright issues, created its own
brand of “inferior Wolf Man myth which has been slavishly
fol...
Questions sanity: Father attributes an aspect of the monster to legend but the
actual lycanthropy he asserts is a form of ...
As the werewolf evolved into postmodernism, a distinctive paradox formed. The
aspect of transformation turns from a debili...
Connecting to Lycaon of the ancient Greek myth, he also takes his power too
far.
• Attacks humans and in a scene reminisce...
• “Hunky” Jacob Black of the Twilight (2008)series
• Jacob presents a powerful, sexy, and self-assured werewolf
who absorb...
• Black’s connection to nature through his tribal heritage and the wolf transformation
moves the werewolf away from its fe...
• Unlike Hecuba and Lycaon, theTwilight werewolf is
no longer a predator of humans
• Depending on a vampires, a fellow pre...
• The Greeks have a rich history of mythological stories that describe the
transformations of man into beast.
• A combinat...
Works Cited
“Becoming a Werewolf”.Twilight Lexicon. Jan. 1, 2008. http://www.twilightlexicon.com/2008/01/01/becoming-a-wer...
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Werewolves from Euripides to Today

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Describes a brief evolution of the werewolf in history with a focus on stage presentation (Euripides) to movies (modernity).

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Transcript of "Werewolves from Euripides to Today "

  1. 1. Brandy Stark, PhD 18th Annual AFGLC/ICHS Conference Feb. 23, 2013
  2. 2. • Ancient Greek culture is the birthing grounds for many supernatural stories including ghosts, vampires, and werewolves • Wolves started out as protectors of humankind; similar to us • Hierarchy • pack structure • spouse/raising offspring • Agricultural lifestyle: wolves became competitors • Identified with hostile forces • Dangerous and savage • Untamed and uncivilized • Humans associated with wolves identified in a similar manner; predatory Introduction
  3. 3. Divine Curse LycaonTurned Into Wolf, Hendrick Goltzius, 1589 Pausanias,Apollodorus, Lycophron ; later: Ovid (Roman) Lycaon,Arcadian king Worshipper of Zeus Lykaios Pausanias:Slew a child at the altar of Zeus; transformed into a wolf Apollodorus:Zeus, testing the king, arrived as a traveler. Lycaon killed a child and served it up to Zeus; transformed into a wolf Lycophron: He and his sons slew the child and fed it to Zeus; king killed by lightning bolt, sons became a pack of wolves (Note: Ovid, Metamorphosis)
  4. 4. Possible story trying to determine the lost root of the lyk- root (Zeus Lykaios, Lycaon). Lyk- means “light” and ties to another part of the myth – Lycaon’s city was the first one upon whom the sun’s rays touched each day; it was eastern Myth is where the term lycanthropy originates (λυκάνθρωπος: λύκος, lykos, "wolf" and ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos, "man"). Wolf represents predatory aspects of human nature, exploitation and barbarity toward our own species and others (Lawrence). Divine Curse
  5. 5. Herodotus: reports the story of the tribe, Neuri • People transformed into wolves once a year • Had no law or justice, no customs, and no sense of civilization • Travelled as nomads through the lands, dressed in black and eating meals consisting only of human flesh (Poulakou- Rebelakou, et al 471). • Though skeptical of the story, Herodotus does record it, perhaps as a reminder of what happens to humanity without the solid Greek concepts of culture. • Both stories do maintain a strong link between cannibalism and metamorphosis Tribal History
  6. 6. Hecuba: transforms into a dog • As a captive of Odysseus, the queen’s last shred of sanity vanishes. She barks like a dog and the gods match her physical form to that of the mind – she becomes a fire-eyed bitch who leaps from the ship and drowns • In the second century AD, the Roman doctor, Galen, and his contemporaries recognized lycanthropy (identity of a wolf) and cynanthropy (identity of a dog) as forms of mental illness manifest from melancholy and deep depression (Poulakou-Rebelakou, et al 471). • Euripides shows the descent into madness with TheTrojan Women and Hecuba Insanity
  7. 7. • The psychological power of the queen’s fall finds a natural home on stage and within the falsified realities of theater. • Euripides presents Hecuba in a powerfully moving manner through his plays adds a greater depth to the queen on stage • Permitted her to go well beyond the bounds of either a regent or a woman • In the nature of the Greek duality, Euripides reminds his audience of the “intangible forces which govern human life: natural cause and effect, moral impulse both good and bad, and unpredictable chance” (Vellacott 18). • In both plays her presence is a reminder of the chaos that ensued before: the fall of Troy, the destruction of the army, a sense of lost security, betrayal, and the state of pathos that accompanies their uncertain future. Euripides/Hecuba
  8. 8. TrojanWomen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9sAriamSpU Entire play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7MF2phw_Oo Shows a dignified queen slowly descending into rage Hecuba is no longer a queen controlling fate -- victim of a fate. O little child, son of my dear lost son, your life is ravished from us by murderers. What will become of us? What can I do for you? Only to beat the head and bruise the breast – this we can give; no more. Lost city, lost child: What climax of suffering lacks now? Have we not reached in a headlong plunge the abyss of pain? Fury at Helen emerges. The play ends with Helen returning to her husband as theTrojan women are dragged away into slavery.
  9. 9. •The queen spends a great deal of time pleading for the life of her daughter, Polyxena from her fate as a sacrifice to the ghost of Achilles. • Odysseus, saved by Hecuba, still drags her away •Youngest and last living son, Polydorus, was murdered at the hands of a trusted ally, King Polymestor. • Tricks Polymestor with promise for more treasure • Mob of women meet king and his two sons; sons are killed • Hecuba claws out Polymestor’s eyes Hecuba Hecuba Blinding Polymestor, Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1665–1747)Oil on canvas, 173 x 184 cm Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
  10. 10. •Dialogue from the play: Hecuba: I am avenged on thee; have I not cause for joy? Polymestor:The joy will soon cease, in the day when ocean’s [sic] flood – “ Hecuba: Shall convey me to the shores of Hellas? Polymestor: Nay but close o’er thee when thou fallest from the masthead….of thy own accord wilt thou climb the ship’s mast…thou wilt become a dog with bloodshot eyes. Dionysus, our Thracian prophet, told me so. … Thou hapless hound’s grave, ‘a mark for mariners’” (Hecuba). Hecuba
  11. 11. Euripides can twist his characters into unique forms as a manner of expressing what happens when societal expectations are violated. In this way, story productions may also be stretched to legitimize countercultural ideals that come with the breaking of social or religious taboo. Hecuba lives in the unnatural state of a mother whose children precede her in death, which she acknowledges in the plays Ah! What wilt thou say? Art thou not come, as I had thought, to fetch me to my doom, but to announce ill news? Lost, lost, my child! Snatched from thy mother’s arms! And I am childless now, at least as touches thee; ah, woe is me” (Hecuba). The audience is privy to her change of mental states (cultivated queen to avenging woman) Though painted in a sympathetic light, her irrational mind is as unnatural as her state of being. Theater
  12. 12. TrojanWomen: Hecuba remains a passive captive Hecuba: Hecuba acts upon her dark emotions As per the demands of vengeance the queen doubles the pain done to her: • Polymestor robs Hecuba of one child so she and her women rob him of two • Hecuba lives, but Polymestor lives blinded. • Like Hecuba, Polymestor lives in a fallen state, not only to that which he witnessed but with the added burden of a warrior’s shame that it was done by the hand of women. Animal mind (revenge) over human mind (rational) Theater
  13. 13. After the Greeks: •The Romans added elements such as the removal of clothes and transformation during the full moon. •Byzantine doctors expanded the concept of lycanthropy as a mental condition. •The Anglo-Saxons renamed the creature from the words wer- (man) and wulf (wolf) • During the Middle Ages, the werewolf was linked to devil’s curses and witches’ broods, with several accounts of accused werewolves tortured to death. •Modernity: the werewolf does not emerge on the stage until the modern adaption of the silver screen (Lawrence). Two Eons Condensed
  14. 14. Universal Studios: wary of copyright issues, created its own brand of “inferior Wolf Man myth which has been slavishly followed ever since” (Lloyd 140). The Wolf Man (1941): the werewolf becomes a tragic hero who is “forced to behave like an animal against his conscious will” (Bourgault du Coudray 60). • Unique monster movie • No Zeus; werewolfism spreads like a disease transmitted from the bite of the infected upon an innocent bystander • The movie’s main character, Larry Tolbot, is an everyman, not royalty. • Not guilty of blood sins; a good man • The only warning he has of any impending doom is the pentagram that magically appears on his hand; in modernity the werewolf became an aspect of random [bad] luck (Ruehl xi). • Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnGhskFaOf0 Modernity: TheWolf Man
  15. 15. Questions sanity: Father attributes an aspect of the monster to legend but the actual lycanthropy he asserts is a form of schizophrenia. • Seeks medical aid; fails. Instead of studying the spiritual nature of humanity, The Wolf Man explored the animalistic side to the human persona. • New, as prior movies were likened to theories of Darwinism • Transformation scenes were censored after the Scopes Monkey Trial Humanity needed a way to overcome the animal, to literally and figuratively put it to sleep. • Hollywood again responded by adding a lupine weakness to silver • The animal spirit exorcised, the postmortemTalbot resumed his human form(In Search of). It was proof that animal and human could not co-exist within the same individual. TheWolf Man
  16. 16. As the werewolf evolved into postmodernism, a distinctive paradox formed. The aspect of transformation turns from a debilitating curse to an empowering blessing. Wolf (1994): Jack Nicholson plays timid Will Randall; impotent, wife having affair, rival trying to take his job Bitten by the wolf: An Indian shaman tells him that he has been given the gift of a wolf’s spirit which reinvigorates him. • Regains his sexual vigor, gets wife back; leaves to start his own business; eats meat • Randall is better suited to survival in the modern world of the concrete jungle as a werewolf than he was as a man (Lawrence). Postmodern: Wolf http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=_MTjr6L8jPI
  17. 17. Connecting to Lycaon of the ancient Greek myth, he also takes his power too far. • Attacks humans and in a scene reminiscent of the former king’s sacrifice, he spits out the fingers of a child he attacked; kills wife; bites arch-enemy and turns him into a werewolf (empowers him) • In the end he ultimately loses himself entirely to his wolfish side and flees into the forest, no longer able to interact with or engage in his humanity. Wolf
  18. 18. • “Hunky” Jacob Black of the Twilight (2008)series • Jacob presents a powerful, sexy, and self-assured werewolf who absorbs the animal nature and lives with it in relative comfort. Though there are some issues with the wolf nature, for the most part Black’s animal nature became appealing to the audience for its “unbelievable strength…power and freedom” (Horror ofWerewolves). • Born to a Native AmericaTribe • Inherited condition from a mythical ancestor: Taha Aki • Spiritual connection: Taha Aki was so in tune with the wolf spirit that he did not age, led the tribe for many years, and was able to pass on the wolf lineage via his descendants. • Modern werewolf: “competent, self-assured, [and] organized” (Bourgault du Coudray 58) • Able to find satisfaction, love, and personal growth Today: Twilight
  19. 19. • Black’s connection to nature through his tribal heritage and the wolf transformation moves the werewolf away from its fearsome savagery and into modern romanticism. • Nature offers a key insight into spiritual experience; nature is not separate from man but connected to him. • Jacob does not reject his wolf, fight its influence, or see it as a separate part of himself • Maintains control of himself through a reasoning human mind • Anger blocks transformations Twilight
  20. 20. • Unlike Hecuba and Lycaon, theTwilight werewolf is no longer a predator of humans • Depending on a vampires, a fellow predator, to be present • No vampires, no werewolves; more vampires, more werewolves • The larger pack of TheTwilight Saga: New Moon(2009)corresponds to the large number of vampires in the area (Becoming a Werewolf) Twilight/New Moon • Thus, the rational wolf defends a weaker humanity • The manifestation of Jacob and his pack allows for the ferocity of a fighter but counterbalances it with the domesticity of a dog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VS9GUJTQjU
  21. 21. • The Greeks have a rich history of mythological stories that describe the transformations of man into beast. • A combination of symbolism and divine retribution, the werewolf was a predatory creature that prayed on its own kind (Lycaon and the Neuri) • It was also a warning against falling to the overwhelming power of the dark emotions leading to animalistic vengeance (Hecuba). • Through its evolutionary journey, the werewolf of modernity shared the angst of an individual lost to animalistic impulses (The Wolf Man and Wolf) • Today: At one with nature, a fierce protector, a powerful ally for humanity, and a mortal danger to other predatory threats (Jacob Black, Twilight Saga). Which werewolf prototype will win out? With luck, the protective Jacob Black will dominate the pack. He shows a renewed realization that we are both empowered and protective, able to control the predator in order to maintain order for the greater good. Conclusion
  22. 22. Works Cited “Becoming a Werewolf”.Twilight Lexicon. Jan. 1, 2008. http://www.twilightlexicon.com/2008/01/01/becoming-a-werewolf/. Web. 13 Feb. 2013. Bell, Robert. Women of Classical Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. Bourgault du Coudray, Chantal. "The Cycle Of The Werewolf: Romantic Ecologies Of Selfhood In Popular Fantasy." Australian Feminist Studies 18.40 (2003): 57-72. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. Epstein, Stephen J. “Longus’ Werewolves”. Classical Philology, Vol. 90. No. 1 (Jan., 1995), 58 – 73. Print. “Hecuba.” http://public.wsu.edu/~hughesc/hecuba.htm.Web. 6 Feb., 2013. "The Horror Of Werewolves." Scholastic Scope 60.4 (2011): 17-19. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. In Search of History: Legends of the Werewolves. A&E Television Networks, 2002.DVD. Lawrence, Elizabeth A. "Werewolves In Psyche And Cinema: Man-Beast Transformation And Paradox." Journal Of American Culture (01911813) 19.(1996): 103-112. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson).Web. 11 Feb. 2013. Lloyd, Ann (ed). 70 Years at the Movies: From Silent Films to Today’s Screen Hits. New York: Crescent Books, 1982. Print. Oettinger, N. ‘Entstehung von Mythos ausRituas. Das Beispiel des hethitischen texts CTH 390A’.M.Hutter and S., Hutter-Braunsar (eds), Offizielle Religion, locale Kulte and individuelleReligiositat. (Munster, 2004).347-56.(Translated by author into English). Print. Poulakou-Rebelakou, E, C. Tsiamis, G. Panteleakos, and D. Ploumpidis. “Lycantrhopy in Byzantine Times (AD 330-1453). History of Psychiatry, Vol. 20, 2009.468-479. Print. Ruehl, Franklin, PhD. Foreword. The Werewolf Book.BySteiger. Michigan: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Ix – xiv. Print. Steiger, Brad. “Introduction: We have met the werewolves and they are us!”The Werewolf Book. BySteiger. Michigan: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Xvii - xxi. Print. Works Cited (Paper)
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