The Red Room
by H.G. Wells
The Statue of Ganymede and the Eagle
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
In case you’re wondering, Ganymede was a character in Greek mythology, a boy who was more beautiful than any other mortal. That’s why one day he was snatched up by Zeus (the king of the gods). Zeus turned himself into an eagle and plucked unsuspecting Ganymede off the ground to fly him back to Mount Olympus (home of the gods). Zeus made Ganymede the gods’ cupbearer, and granted him immortality.
Anyway, you might figure that since Wells mentions this specific myth in the story with the statue it must mean something. We would too, but we can’t come up with anything that’s not overly vague or slightly fishy. There is something threatening or ominous about the myth, in that Ganymede is taken without any warning by a force outside of his control (a big eagle would be scary enough in itself). Maybe you could see Ganymede’s powerlessness before a higher, threatening power as mirroring the narrator’s powerlessness before fear and the unknown? Maybe H.G. Wells just thought a big eagle would cast a particularly creepy statue in the dark? Do you have any ideas about the significance of this statue?