Some of the most fearsome monsters in myths have the heads of humans and deadly beasts, most notably lions, so they are very wily and bloodthirsty – just like Donald Trump, whom I have compared to other beasts.
Among them are the dragon St. George fights, a Chimera, a Cyclops, Medusa, the Kelpie horse monster of Scotland, and the Kraken and Chrybdis, who are monsters of the sea. And most recently, I wrote about Trump being like the many headed monsters, the Hydra and Cerberus. Now all of these myths have been collected into a book: 2016 Election Monster Myths.
Three of the most feared human beasts are the Minotaur, which has the head of a bull and the body of a man; the Manticore, which has the body of a lion, the head of a man, and the stinging tail of a scorpion; and the Sphinx, which also has the body of a lion, but has the head of a woman and the wings of an eagle.
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The Minotaur was the ferocious offspring of a woman and beast, after Minos’ queen slept with a bull, and he devoured humans for his sustenance. Embarrassed by the creature, King Minos hid him in the Labyrinth at the Minoan Palace of Knossos. There the Minotaur lived on regular sacrificial offerings of youths and young maidens, and since the labyrinth was such a complicated construction, no one could find their way out alive. However, after King Minos decided to kill the Minotaur, Theseus volunteered to do so to end the human sacrifices. But could he find his way out? He learned how after the king’s daughter, Princess Ariadne, fell madly in love with him and gave him a thread to unravel. So Theseus followed the thread into the Labyrinth and used it to get out after he killed the monster. In this case, the labyrinth might be compared to the maze of Trump’s many real estate holdings and companies that are run by many different managers and involve so many complicated financial arrangements that the IRS has been doing a series of audits to figure everything out. And all the people the Minotaur has eaten could be comparable to all of the property and company owners Trump trampled to obtain his land and companies, as well as to the candidates he gobbled up along the way to become the candidate with the most votes.
Though the Manticore got its start in India, it became part of Greek mythology due to the writings of Ctesias, a Greek physician who stayed at the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes II Menemon from 404 to 398/397 B.C. and wrote a book about India. As the legend goes, the Manticore had three rows of teeth like a shark, a bellow like a trumpet, and the ability to shoot spines from its tail. But most terrifying of all, it loved to eat human flesh. It would run quickly to chase down its prey, slash them with its claws, sting with its spiny tail, and finally eat them, devouring even their bones, clothes, and all of their possessions, leaving nothing for anyone to find. Additionally, Ctesia claimed, the Manticore could even paralyze or kill its victims from a distance by firing stingers from its tail, like a hunter with a bow. Now that description might sound a little like Trump at one of his rallies, which are becoming more and more violent, as he bellows out his comments and yells “Get ‘em out of here” to his security people that rough up and eject anyone who appears to be a foe. Also, Trump’s love of ripping enemies apart verbally, such as his diatribes against Megan Kelly and Ted Cruz, is like the way the Manticore tears apart and eats up a victim.
As for the Sphinx, it is best known from the legend of Oedipus. As the story goes, Oedipus was traveling along the road to Thebes, when a sphinx appeared and blocked his path, asking him a riddle. Although the exact riddle isn’t stated in the original legend, it is most commonly described as this: “What is that which goes on four feet in the morning, on two feet in the afternoon, and on three in the evening?” If Oedipus couldn’t answer correctly, the sphinx would have strangled and eaten him, just as ate many other travelers. But Oedipus correctly answers, explaining that it’s man, who crawls on all fours as a child; on two feet as an adult, and finally, with the help of a cane, on three feet at the end of his life. So since Oedipus has answered correctly, he has bested the Sphinx at her own game, so she throws herself from a high cliff, or in some versions, she devours herself in anger and frustration.
Again, some comparisons with Trump seem apt. He certainly expects certain kinds of responses from people, or otherwise he calls out: “You’re fired!” or “Get out of here.” He has also been eating up much of the competition, as candidate after candidate has disappeared from the race, until there were two plus the Trump Sphinx. However, so far, those two candidates – Ted Cruz and John Kasich have been giving enough right answers to the media and to many voters, so they have remained in the race, and a brokered convention is likely. Should that happen, Trump has likely been bested at his own game, and like the Sphinx he could end up being thrown from the modern day high cliff. And what’s that? Well, it could be having his own brand tarnished from his appeals to racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and hatred, which have turned millions of people against him and have led to growing protests at his events.
But while Theseus managed to kill the Minotaur and find his way out of the labyrinth, can a modern-day Theseus, such as Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders, do the same? And what will happen to the Trump Manticore or Trump Sphinx? In the myths, the fate of the humans against the Manticore is less certain, but Oedipus correctly knows how to defeat the Sphinx at her own game. And perhaps a modern-day Oedipus like Kasich or Cruz may do the same.