Octopus in Culture
Octopus influence in Popular Culture
The Octopus is a creature like no other, and you will find plenty of early stories dating back hundreds of years. Many at sea referred to the Octopus as the eight legged sea monster. They were afraid of it and stories circulated about it tipping over boats and taking humans in its arms.
Of course we now know that those were simply myths, a way of explaining things that went awry at sea. Yet long ago they didn’t have all of the information as we have today. They didn’t realize the tides could upset the boats or cause them to get off course. The materials to build boats weren’t the best either and so many of them failed to hold up to what nature put against it.
The Mediterranean people took a keen interest in the Octopus and had a great deal of respect for it. Many of their early paintings and drawings show this creature. The ancient people of Peru were believed to worship many creatures in the water including the Octopus. It was often included in their ritual ceremonies.
According to the legends of the Hawaiian people, the Octopus is actually a type of alien. They believe that this is the last remaining type of alien that lives on Earth. The people of Hawaii have long considered seeing these animals in the water to be a symbol of good luck.
You will find some books about this creature but not too many. One where it is a man character though is called Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo. It was published in 1866 and you may be able to get a copy of it online if you are interested.
The Kraken is a common character from early stories too. In mythology it is the creature that is commonly called a sea monster. It is believed that this type of creature was responsible for various mishaps to those making a living on the sea. It is believed the Kraken was angry over the fish that were being taken from the sea. This sea monster is derived from the images of large Octopus.
In the Disney production of the Little Mermaid, Ursula is the mean Octopus that lives in the sea. Her body is like that of this creature but she has a human head. She is very manipulative and evil when she doesn’t get her own way. Yet in true fair tale fashion this evil villain is conquered by good.
Even though the Little Mermaid was a huge hit, many parents complained to Disney that their children found Ursula to be too evil and too mean looking. In fact, she scared many children to the point that they didn’t want to finish watching the movie. In many packed theatres parents would walk out with crying children when her scenes came on in the movie.
Another wonderful animated show is Oswald, offered through Nickelodeon. In this story, Oswald is a big blue Octopus. He has many adventures in New York along with his friends. The show features Oswald being helpful, learning new things, and exploring his musical talents.
Most of the elements with the Octopus in popular culture depicts it as a very dangerous creature though for humans to avoid. In reality though they are solitary animals and they tend to live their lives avoiding humans and other creatures in the water. They aren’t looking for people to squeeze to death or to eat as many stories portray about them. Breaking free from these negative images can be difficult though because they are so deeply rooted into various elements of history.