For a while now, I have wanted to tell you some of the stories from Greek mythology. Anyone who knows anything about Greek mythology, however, will have no trouble understanding why it's taken me this long. The original Greek myths were not fairy tales to entertain and amuse the masses or to lull children to sleep: They were warnings! They were horror stories! They were psycho-dramas designed to explain the inexplicable, predict the unimaginable and prepare for the unthinkable. The Greeks did not love and admire their gods; they feared them. And the myths are, for the most part, pretty horrific reads. People criticized Disney for what they did to the Greek myths in their movie, Hercules, but can you blame them?!?
I. THE STORY OF PERSEPHONE
II. KING MIDAS
III. ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE
IV. PANDORA'S BOX
If You Liked My Stories, You Might Enjoy:
- The Goddess of Spring (1934) A Disney Silly Symphony which turned the story of Persephone into sort of a melodrama operetta. An important early experiment for the studio in animating human beings convincingly, which they would shortly do on a grander scale in Snow White.
- The Golden Touch (1935) Another Silly Symphony, this time about King Midas, though all the Greek elements have been removed. The only Silly Symphony directed by Walt Disney, and the last time he ever directed a cartoon.
- Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Greek Myths (TV) This sort of "spin-off" of the show I've touted time and time again starred Michael Gambon as a new storyteller who tells about Icarus, Theseus and Orpheus, among other famous figures.
- Muppet Classic Theatre (Video) In this version of the Midas story, Kermit is the king whose wife (Miss Piggy, of course) forces the Golden Touch on him, only to recant when he turns himself into gold!
- Hercules (1997) This movie, as well as the subsequent TV show, took the good bits of Greek mythology, the basic plots of the myths, and rewrote them in a more palatable, family friendly way. In my opinion, this movie is better than the myths, if for no other reason than James Woods makes a great Hades. Contains brief references to Pandora and Orpheus. Also worth checking out, if you get the chance, is the TV series which expands the universe with characters like Icarus, Helen of Troy, Adonis and Cassandra and boasts some truly impressive guest stars.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Books, movies) This popular series of books by Rick Riordan tells of a modern day teen demigod and his adventures with the Greek gods of old. The film version of the first book features Steve Coogan as Hades and Rosario Dawson as Persephone.
- "Doctor Who" (TV) The final episode of Season Five contains several references to Pandora's Box. I mention it here partly to show the impact Greek mythology has had on popular culture, but also because my mother loves Doctor Who and she's a regular reader. So, I guess...hi Mom!