If someone talks to you about Hades, you probably think of a powerful evil Greek mythological God. A tall, stoic, dark haired man who hates his life and wishes to be more powerful than his brother Zeus. If you research Hades and learn more about his personality and all the bad he has done, is he really a monster? People were afraid of Hades because of the types of punishments he would give mortals. Such as Sisyphus who cheated death so many times that Hades decided to punish him by cursing him with an eternal task of carrying a boulder to the top of the hill and anytime that he got close to the top the boulder would roll back down. Pythia who was also punished by being bound to the chair of forgetfulness for trying to kidnap Hades queen Persephone. Lastly, Tentalus who tried to convince mortals that the Gods were easily tricked by sacrificing his own son to prove a point; his punishment was that he was supposed to stand in a deep pool of water underneath a low hanging branch of a fruit tree for eternity with a burning thirst and aching hunger. Every time he tried to get water or fruit it would go further away from him. All these stories make Hades seem like a villain, but a lot of punishments he did was requested from his brother Zeus. To help understand Hades I will show you how he connects to monster theory, how he is represented in pop culture, and my judgement on it.
Hades fits into five out of seven of Jeffery Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Culture (Seven Theses).” Thesis one “The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body” discusses how a monster can represent the fears of that time period. As we know, Hades was in the classical Greece era circa 500 b.c.e and during that era people were afraid of the God’s, especially Hades. Hades was already an intimating guy; he was a rather large muscular man, with a beard, a weapon called a bident, and robe like clothing. What got people really scared of Hades is the type of punishment you would be given if you did something wrong in the God’s eye. Thesis two is that “The Monster Always Escapes” for Hades it is impossible to catch him/kill him. He is a powerful immortal god, so unless you are a god yourself it will be hard to defeat Hades. For thesis three “The Monster is the Harbinger of Category Crisis” how Hades fit into that is quite interesting. Thesis three is about how a monster is created/born/raised a different way and for Hades he was raised in the stomach of his father. Hades father Cronus ate five out of six of his children because of the prophecy that his children will one day overthrow him and take his power. Zeus was the only who was not eaten because his mother hid him away after he was born. Zeus and his mother Rhea come up with a plan to get his five siblings out by giving Cronus a drink to make him regurgitate his five siblings. After they defeated Cronus, Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon divided the universe among themselves. “They kept the earth and Olympus as common property, while Zeus took the heavens as his domain, Poseidon the seas, and Hades the misty darkness of the Underworld” (March, 1).
For thesis four “The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference” states the monsters are different from normal people and that “for the most part monstrous differences tends to be cultural, political, racial, economic, and sexual” (Cohen, 18). Not only does Hades being a God make him different from the mortals, but also the fact that Hades is judged as a monster based off his appearance and title. He has dark features, a dark kingdom, and a scary title. People feared him because he seemed like a dark person, but in fact he was not a dark person. Hades was occasionally loyal, honest, caring, and compassionate. What makes him seem scary is his expressionless face and anti-social personality. “He was aloofness personified, the invisible presence of darkness – and the less he did, the more terrifying he became” (Bloomsbury, 2). Lastly, Hades fits into the monster theses six “Fear of the Monster is really a Kind of Desire”. The monster reflects things that attracts us during that time period. Hades has the power to punish/hurt people who treat him wrong and we wish that we could have that same power at times too. To punish someone for trying to kidnap our spouses or to hurt someone for talking badly about you.
In many movies, books, and stories we watch or read about Greek mythology Hades usually becomes the villain of the story. In the 1997 Disney movie “Hercules” Hades is the main monster who is trying to re-arrange the cosmos and over power his brother Zeus because he is unhappy with his duties in the underworld. There is a prophecy that states if Zeus’ son grows up to be a man, he will defeat Hades. Hades tries to kill Hercules many times in the movie, but fails to do so and ends up losing. Hades is animated as tall, pale/gray skinned guy with blue flame hair, pointy teeth, sharp nails, yellow eyes, and dark clothing. His personality in the movie is manipulative, merciless, and does not care if he causes pain or panic among the mortals. He appears to be calm and collected but can be set off easily. The only good quality that Disney gives Hades is that he is fair and will stay true to his word even if he knows he will lose. In the 2010 movie “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” Hades once again is the main villain of the movie and Percy Jackson is our hero. The plot of the film is that Zeus bolt (the most powerful weapon) has been stolen and every character assumes that Percy Jackson did it, even Hades. Hades kidnaps Percy’s mom and tells him that he has one week to give him the bolt or else he will kill his mother. Hades personality is represented more as a dictator; a person twitter pated with being the most powerful God and will not listen to reason until he gets it. He is cruel, abusive, manipulative, and cold hearted. Hades appearance in the movie is somewhat of a normal person. He is average height, has a well-groomed beard, and a “Mcjagger” style. When he tries to intimate a person to get what he wants, he transforms himself into a devil like character; huge, red eyes, horns, wings, sharp teeth/nails, and covered in flames.