Study Guide

Artemis and Actaeon

  • Introduction

    Long before Katniss Everdeen darted through the forests outside District 12, the huntress goddess Artemis roamed the forests of Greece. Artemis was the original awesome lady with a bow and arrow, and boy did she kick some butt. Not only did she have stunning outdoor survival skills and a fierce posse of nymphs, but she never took any sass from anyone, especially the dudes who tried to hit on her.

    Unfortunately, this independent goddess also had a temper, which occasionally got the better of her and led to some cringe-worthy misunderstandings. And that's where we find ourselves in the myth of Artemis and Actaeon. When a young hunter named Actaeon accidentally sees Artemis taking a bath in her secret outdoor grotto (what, you don't take baths in your secret outdoor grotto?), she's so angry that she turns him into a stag. He's then quickly devoured by his own hunting dogs. Oh dear.

    But we've all been there. Haven't you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time? You know, stumbling into a private meeting or accidentally opening the bathroom door when someone's in there? Awkward.

    • Best of the Web

      Artemis and Actaeon Resources

      Websites

      Edith Wharton: Myth Master
      The author of Ethan Frome penned a poem called "Artemis and Actaeon." It's packed to the brim with unrequited love!

      In Color
      The National Gallery has all the deets on Titian's famous rendering of the Artemis and Actaeon story.

      Videos

      Caught In the Act
      We're digging this hyper-dramatic modern retelling of the myth. A very cool stop-motion technique for your enjoyment.

      A Dash of Sass
      Conquest! A rockin' song and sepia tones give this funny, tongue-in-cheek adaptation a bit of edge.

      Your Own Private Art Tour
      David Brenneman, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the High Museum, gives a delightful video analysis of Titan's famous Diana and Actaeon painting.