Study Guide

Minotaur - Monster-Human Alliance

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Monster-Human Alliance

The purpose of this club is to promote peace and understanding between monsters and humans: these kids spend their time passing out flyers that say "Make Love Not War." But it's little hard for people to take them seriously. After all, the Minotaur has a quick temper—to say the least—and he still hasn't broken that nasty habit of eating people.


Who would you say is the most famous Greek monster? Medusa or the Minotaur? Hmmm, we'll call it a tie. Everybody knows this snake-haired Gorgon who's so ugly she turns people to stone. Just like Theseus gained fame by killing the Minotaur, a Greek hero made himself famous by slaying this crazy lady. In Medusa's case, it was Perseus who did the deed by lopping off her head.

Grendel and Grendel's Mom

In the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, Grendel is a man-eating demon that lives in the land of the Spear-Danes and attacks King Hrothgar's mead-hall on a daily basis. Every night, Grendel slaughters more Danes and feeds on their corpses after tearing them limb from limb. Sound familiar? Well this guy, too, gets offed by a hero. Although he can't be harmed by the blade of any edged weapon, Grendel finally meets his match when the Geatish warrior Beowulf takes him on in a wrestling match.


Polyphemus is the Cyclops to know. (P.S. a Cyclops is a giant monster with one huge eyeball in the middle of his head.) He lives with his fellow Cyclopes on an island in Sicily where they feast on raw flesh. Mmm. Polyphemus is best known for capturing Odysseus and his men in Homer's Odyssey. Here's what goes down: once the Greeks blind the Cyclops and make their escape, Polyphemus calls in a favor from daddy Poseidon. Uh oh. This means years and years of torture for Odysseus (and his men, until they die).


In the Odyssey, Homer (not Simpson, the other one) describes Circe, a beautiful sorceress with a tendency to turn men into animals when they venture onto her island. She is an immortal woman with magical powers who—after turning his men into pigs—convinces Odysseus to stay with her on her island for one year. It might sound like she's got it made, but she's pretty lonely. In fact, Circe vanishes into thin air when Odysseus announces that he's going to leave her and continue his journey homeward. Wah wah.

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