Melpomene was the one of the nine Greek muses, and the Muse of Tragedy. Muses were goddesses of music, song, and dance. She is often portrayed with a tragedy mask and a sword. Melpomene’s name means to celebrate with song. As part of Aristotle’s traditional definition of Tragedy, Aristotle talks about the important of song and music within a tragedy as the the chorus should contribute to the overall play and should link the other factors. So in traditional plays tragedies such as Oedipus Rex, there is a chorus but song and music feature in tragedies since then. In Othello, Desdemona sings a song that reflects and foreshadows her own situation called Willow willow, acting herself like a greek chorus:
Take this for my farewell and latest adieu,
Write this on my tomb, that in love I was true…
Melpomene features in the Disney movie Hercules as part of the chorus.
In Ancient Greek mythology, Lamia is a child-eating daemon. She was the daughter of Poseidon, and a queen loved by Zeus. When Zeus’s wife, Hera grew jealous, and accounts vary, saying that she either killed all of Lamia’s children or stole them away. Lamia is driven mad and is transformed into a monster by devouring other children in revenge.
Lamia was the influence of the poem by John Keats, entitled Lamia. In the poem there is no mention of Lamia being a children-eating monster, rather she is trapped in the form of a snake with a woman’s mouth and human teeth. Lamia desires to have the form of a woman and manages to become human through a deal with Hermes. The only possible link is that it is never explained why Lamia is in the form of snake, so Keats could be implying she is there in punishment for eating children.
Fate is a theme and motif that features throughout a range of literature. Within mythology, there are endless examples of fate and a principle controlling power that has power and control over heroes and villains alike. One example of mythological figures linked to fate are the Three Fates in Greek mythology.
The Three Fates, also known as the Moirae, are part of Ancient Greek Mythology. They were thought to control the destinies of mortals and the duration of life. They were thought to control all parts of life, all the successes and failures within a persons life. The Three Fate sisters are Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. Clotho was the ‘Spinner’ and she would spin the thread of life; she is linked the symbol of a spindle. Lachesis was the ‘Allotter’ and measures the thread of life, with control of life span. And finally Atropos was the ‘Inevitable’ and cuts the thread, deciding the manner and time of death.
The Three Fates are often linked to tragedy as within traditional Greek plays there was an underlying message that one could not escape a foretold fate. Some example also would warn that one should not anger the gods or view themselves as equal to the gods as humans are bound by fate. An example of Greek play involving fate is Oedipus Rex, where as everyone tries to escape the predicated fate, including Oedipus, end up causing events to occur as warned, leading to suicide and bloody events. Further the idea of the three fates could compared to the 3 witches of Macbeth, as fate is a major theme in the play.