Smooth sailing ahead, you think, glancing at the calm sea in front of you through squinted eyes. All of a sudden, massive tentacles erupt from the surface, and an ear-splitting screech fills the air. Before you can even comprehend what's happening, smooth arms wrap neatly around your waist, carrying up into the air to catch one last glimpse of the sun, before plunging back into the ocean, down, down...
At least, that's how I always imagined it.
In "The Kraken", Lord Alfred Tennyson depicts the Kraken in a similar manner, as a raging beast who slumbers under the depths of the ocean, only to be woken on the Day of Judgement, rise to the surface, and be slaughtered by man. However, I think there is an important metaphor hidden in his words.
The monster Tennyson describes may actually symbolize the beast within humans that is unleashed either through considerable rage or fear. As noted in the line, "From many a wondrous grot and secret cell" (Tennyson 8), humans let anger fester and bubble inside themselves, similar to how the Kraken sleeps in a prison-like cage. It is restrained until we choose to release it, or an event occurs.
However, the moment the Kraken is released in the poem, it is immediately killed once it reaches the surface, as shown in this line, "In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die" (Tennyson 15). Its death can be interpreted in one of two ways: it was either slaughtered by man, or it was so unaccustomed to the low pressure on the surface of the ocean, that it eventually exploded.
In terms of humans, we can try to soothe and relieve ourselves of our rage, or we will explode and begin shouting at others when it becomes too much to handle. Tennyson used anger as the theme of "The Kraken" in order to demonstrate the similarity between monsters and humans when we let our emotions get the best of us.
Essential Question #3: What can monsters teach us about humanity?
Monsters allow their fears and emotions to determine their actions. We, on the other hand, have a couple of choices:
A) We can choose to keep our anger locked within ourselves, just as the Kraken slumbered under the ocean.
B) We can release our anger by recognizing it and having it rise to the surface to silence it.
C) Let it run amok and destroy everything in its path.
For the love of humanity, let's not choose C.
When humans do choose C, it's a rather terrifying sight, one where we are turning into monsters. We tend to differentiate ourselves from monsters, as shown in books and movies, always depicting ourselves as the heroes who defeat the beasts. However, when we let out our fury, we become just like them. In this way, we may not be so different from them after all.