Edith Hamilton

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Cannibalism Symbol Analysis

Cannibalism Symbol Icon
Though the ancient Greeks were as horrified by cannibalism as modern people are, there are a surprising number of stories in Mythology involving human flesh being served as a meal. Cannibalism in Mythology is almost always used as a method of revenge or punishment – usually it is a father being served his children. The Greek poets often stretched tragic ideas to their limits (like Oedipus committing the worst possible crime – killing his father and marrying his mother), and this notion of cannibalism was used as the most atrocious and potent method of vengeance.
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Cannibalism Symbol Timeline in Mythology

The timeline below shows where the symbol Cannibalism appears in Mythology. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 4, Chapter 3
Pride and Hubris Theme Icon
Justice and Vengeance Theme Icon
...and unleashes a storm that blows them to the land of the Laestrygons. These are cannibals of gigantic size, and they destroy all of Odysseus’s ships except one. (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 1
Pride and Hubris Theme Icon
Justice and Vengeance Theme Icon
...Tantalus hated the gods so much that he wanted to punish them by making them cannibals. Hamilton suggests that in his arrogance he wanted to show that he could trick the... (full context)
Fate Theme Icon
Justice and Vengeance Theme Icon
...part of the story, and rejected that the “blessed gods” could ever take part in cannibalism. Pelops has a relatively successful life (for a descendant of Tantalus) and wins the hand... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 3
Justice and Vengeance Theme Icon
...him to Tereus. After he has eaten, Procne tells him that he is now a cannibal, and while he is frozen with horror the two sisters flee. (full context)