Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mazes in Literature

File:Classical 7-Circuit Labyrinth.svg

You can probably guess that The Maze Runner involves a maze in some way. There have been many examples of mazes in literature throughout the ages... here are some more famous choices.

The ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the minotaur took place in a labyrinth. King Minos was upset because his son, Androgeus, did so extraordinarily well at the Pan-Athenian games, he was assassinated. He sent his fleet to Athens, and demanded the assassins be turned over, but nobody knew who did it, so the whole town was surrendered. Every 7 (or 9, depending on the version you read) years, King Minos demanded that 7 girls and 7 boys from Athens be sent into his labyrinth to be hunted and devoured by the minotaur. After this happened a few times, Theseus had enough and went in to kill the beast himself. The king's daughter (Ariadne) fell in love with Theseus and gave him a clue to the labyrinth so that he would succeed, which of course he did.

Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining (1980) features a hedge maze at the end (which is foreshadowed by a scale model in the lobby of the Overlook Hotel). It serves to increase the panic of the characters and the suspense for the audience.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the culmination of the Triwizard Tournament is in a giant, magical hedge maze, concealing the Triwizard Cup. It's scary, it's difficult to manage, and it leads up to one of the most important scenes of the entire series.

Labyrinths cover.jpg

Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges has a collection of short stories and essays titled Labyrinths. Not all of the stories/essays are literally about labyrinths, but there is one titled "The Garden of Forking Paths."

What mazes and labyrinths from literature can you add to the list?

No comments:

Post a Comment