Site icon Alexander Hammil

The Minotaur

Think of Blake’s illustration of the Commedia. Think of Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beasts. In short, think of the minotaur as inversion: man above, bull below, human head on taurine body. The poor, near-sighted creature! Think of other questions: such a large babe ne’er grew in woman’s womb. Question Poseidon’s gift: a bull? or cow? If cow, whither the father? Minos, then? or love-struck numinous creator? Whose seed germed in that forbidden garden?

But, so. Let us consider clothing. Or, rather, the lack therof — for if there is one thing constant about poor Asterion it is the lack of cover his several parents have provided for to cover up his shame. (Saving the labyrinth; a cold stone cloak throne upon an impudent figling.) How he swells in his maleness! See now the sad ghosts of past crimes rubbing down to nothing on a convenient cornice! These little deaths whicker in his ears.

What can he do when they have broken under his thwarted love? What other food is there? Outcast, untutored, unfed; without family, without language, without all the needed gentle ties of his human head, what is there for him? What, but turn cannibal? Poor omophage, he turns corner after corner, wears stone to earth with heavy hoofs, but never finds the door his key would fit.

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