Mrs. A Robinson
November 22, 2017
Echidna in Percy Jackson in Comparison to the Mythological Echidna
In Rick Riordan’s novel, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Riordan changes what both Echidna and Chimera’s appearances are in Greek Mythology. Both creatures are somewhat comparable to their real descriptions, but they both have significant differences. Both Echidna and Chimera in the novel and in Mythology have two very different characteristics, which makes them seem a lot less terrifying than they actually are. In Chapter 13, where this scene takes place in the novel, Echidna mentions that Zeus usually doesn’t let her fight heroes like Percy, which connects to Mythology when her, her husband and her children attack the Olympians.
In Greek Mythology, Echidna is described as a half-woman, half-snake, also known as the “Mother of All Monsters”, who is said to have spawned in a cave and given birth to the majority of all the Greek mythical creatures. Echidna has the face and torso of a beautiful woman, but the body of a serpent. In some myths, depending on which one you read, she has two or more serpents as her bottom half. Echidna is the wife of Typhon, who is the “Father of All Monsters”, he is known to be the most dangerous and fearsome of all the monsters in Greek Mythology. Both Echidna and Typhon are the children of Gaia and Tartarus. The couple attacked the Olympians, yet Zeus managed to fight them off and burying Typhon under Mount Etna; Echidna and children, the Nemean Lion, Cerberus, Ladon, Chimera, Sphinx, and Hydra, were spared to challenge future upcoming heroes.
The Chimera, child of Echidna and Typhon, is a female hybrid creature. She has the head and body of a huge lion, as well as the head of a fire-breathing goat that is attached to her back, and a tail that ends in the poisonous head of a snake. In the myth, The Slaying of the Chimera, the Chimera is slain by Bellerophon, who is the biological son of Poseidon and Eurynome. Bellerophon kills the Chimera by riding in on the back of Pegasus, a white-winged horse. Bellerophon then throws a lance, with the tip covered in lead, into the Chimera’s flaming throat, causing her to melt the lance into molten-metal, blocking her airway and killing the Chimera once and for all.
After Zeus manages to repel the couple (Echidna and Typhon) and their children from attacking Olympus, he buries Typhon under Mount Etna, yet keeps Echidna and her children alive to fight future heroes and test their bravery, strength and battle strategy. As we can see from the Chimera’s story, keeping them alive did pay off, as it really did challenge heroes to use their knowledge and agility in order to defeat these beasts, not to mention having to use bravery.
Echidna and Chimera both have similar features and characteristics in the book, The...