Super Fighting Robot vs. Mighty Minotaur Masher|
Wednesday, January 11th, 2006
When you think of Greek heroes of mythology, you probably do not see a connection to Mega Man, a little blue robot from video games. However, if you are informed enough on both subjects you can see a few similarities. You may think that Theseus and Mega Mans connection would be very flimsy, but there are a few surprising correlations between both heroes. Nonetheless, there are also a few differences between the ancient Greek hero, Theseus, and the super-fighting robot, Mega Man. It is still very fascinating that there is a connection between a robot from a video game series and a warrior from ancient mythology.
The story of Theseus starts with his father. His father Aegeus, King of Athens, was visiting Troizen, and there he met Aethra. Aegeus left instructions to Aethra that if the child was male, then the boy should try and get the special sandals and sword that Aegeus would leave trapped under a boulder. After the boy obtained those objects, Aegeus instructed that then the boy should embark to Athens to meet him. Aegus then left, and Theseus was born some months later. Theseus eventually acquired the sword and sandals left Troezen and then set off for Athens. On his trek, Theseus came upon six different outlaws and crooks. Theseus dispatched each of them.
Once he arrived at Athens, Aegeus new wife Medea realized Theseus identity. To insure that her son would be king she tried to poison Theseus, but Aegeus stopped Theseus from drinking the poison once he recognized the special sword that had been placed under the boulder. Theseus then went to finally sacrifice the bull of Marathon, which was terrorizing the countryside. Thesues next undertaking would be with the Minotaur at the Labyrinth in Crete.
In an effort to advert war between Athens and Crete, a treaty was made with the stipulation that every nine years seven noble males and seven noble females would be sacrificed to the Minotaur. Theseus volunteered to go even though he did not have to. Once they had arrived at Crete, King Minos daughter, Ariadne, saw and immediately fell in love with Theseus. So to help him, she gave him some magical thread to help him find his way back out of the Labyrinth, once he had defeated the Minotaur. Theseus then went into the Labyrinth and killed the Minotaur. Using the string he found his way out of the dangerous maze and sailed away with his fellow Athenians and Ariadne. It didnt end very happily for Theseus and Ariadne though because Theseus would soon desert her on an island. While sailing back home, Theseus had forgotten to change the black sail to a white sail. The changing in color would signify that Theseus was triumphant and alive. As a result of the mistake, Aegeus commited suicide thinking his son was dead. Then before long, Theseus became King of Athens. Theseus was a popular king, but became disliked and was sent off to island Scyros, where he would die by King Lycomedes.
The story of the Mega Man games all started with two men in the years of 20XX. Dr. Wily and Dr. Light were those two men. Together, they constructed two lab assistants and housekeepers. The first was named Rock and the second Roll. The reason behind such names was Dr. Lights affection for music, like the genre of music Rock and Roll. After Rock and Roll were completed both men started work on other robots that would have more practical applications to the world at large. For instance, a robot that would help cut large amounts of lumber. This robot would be Cut Man. Dr. Light and Dr. Wily created six robots in all: Cut Man, Guts Man, Bomb Man, Fire Man, Elec Man, and Ice Man. However, once these robots were completed Dr. Wily showed his true colors and abducted and reprogrammed them all to obey him. With the powerful robots, Wily was going to attempt world domination. An unexpected obstacle awaited him though, and that obstacle would be Rock, or rather Mega Man. Rock had refused to accept Wilys reprogramming, and then took up arms and went of to battle with Dr. Wily and his aspirations for world domination. So Mega Man went and fought each of the six robot masters, and this was where you controlled him in Mega Man the video game. Once you defeated Dr. Wily, he was sent to jail and thought to be defeated. Many thought that the whole ordeal was done and over with. This notion would prove false though. As the years went on, more robots would attack the world, and then Mega Man would go and defeat them. It would also always become apparent that Dr. Wily would be behind the terrorizing robots, and Mega Man would also defeat him.
One of the best ways to show a parallel between Mega Man and Theseus is to examine Theseus six labors along with the first Mega Man game. In the game, Mega Man faces the six robot masters Cut Man, Guts Man, Bomb Man, Ice Man, Fire Man, and Elec Man. Theseus confronts six different bandits terrorizing the countryside Periphetes, Sinis, the dangerous sow, Sciron, Cercyon, and Procrustes. Not only is the number that each man faced the same, but there are even more coincidences. One such coincidence is that Periphetes was commonly known as Corynetes, which translates to Club Man. Club Man is the exact same type of name format used for all the robot masters from the Mega Man games. Club Man sounds like an idea that could even become a possible future robot master. In addition to the name similarity, once Theseus had defeated Periphetes he took his club. Even though he never really uses the club after he takes it, the action of taking the fallen enemies power is very similar to Mega Mans copy weapon ability. Mega Mans weapon copy ability works in that once he defeats a robot master; he takes their special weapon. An example of this action would be after Mega Man had defeated Cut Man; Mega Man gained the ability known as Rolling Cutter, which is a weapon that looks very similar to the weapon used by Cut Man. An aspect where Mega Man and Theseus differ slightly is how they defeat the six enemies though. Theseus tortures and attacks the six people in the way that they tortured and attacked travelers. Mega Man conversely used his new-copied weapon to fight the other robot masters. In the games, the new weapons you gain make it easier to fight one other robot master that is weak against that particular weapon. Another interesting detail is that Sciron and Cercyon were once considered to be good men, even local heroes, but then they became evil. This is somewhat similar to how the original six robot masters were once considered good, but then became evil as a result of Dr. Wilys reprogramming.
Another similarity between the two heroes is that both needed to have special items before they could start their endeavors. For Theseus, the special items are the sandals and sword left under a boulder by his father. For Mega Man, the special item is a modification to his arm Mega Buster made by his father. It is a remarkable result that both heroes receive weapons from their fathers before they go out on their journeys and become legends.
Both fathers also care for their sons well being, and did not want their sons to go and risk their lives. When Theseus volunteered to be one of those that would go and be sacrificed to the Minotaur, Theseus father, Aegeus, pleaded for him not to go. Mega Man also somewhat volunteered to go and stop Dr. Wily. Dr Light did not want him to go and fight either. Both fathers care for their sons and did not want them to go into such dangerous situations.
I also believe that what Theseus is most famous for, is similar to what Mega Man faces in every game with every robot master. This would be a Labyrinth of course. It may not be as confusing as the maze that Theseus had to navigate through, but the stages that Mega Man runs, jumps, and sometimes slides through are full of traps and complicated designs. With spikes, pits and booby traps rigged in each stage Mega Man has a difficult mission to accomplish. He also even has to fight the robot master at the end of the stage, much like Theseus had to fight the Minotaur in the Labyrinth. There may be only a few differences in these past comparisons, but there are a few bigger differences between the two hereoes.
One difference between Mega Man and Theseus is that Theseus deals with the extra complications politics. Mega Man generally just goes out and destroys all the robot masters threatening people, takes out Dr. Wily and the day is saved. That is pretty much the recurring formula for the series. With Theseus however, a lot of the problems stem from his ranking as king, like Medea trying to poison him. Also, the reason he was eligible to volunteer to go and fight the Minotaur was his noble ranking.
Theseus and Mega Man also seem to have different personalities when it comes to fighting and other aspects of their lives. Mega Man is a pacifist and does not like to fight. He fights because he has to. No one else can or will stop Wily except him. Theseus on the other hand seemed to do his six labors on a whim. He also seems to treat women rather badly. He abandons Ariadne after she helps him, he kidnaps Helen, tries to kidnap Persephone, and received the Amazon Antiope as prize. Now since Mega man is a robot he really has no need for women, but I would bet that he would treat them better than that, snce he was taught to respect everybody as equals.
In the end, Mega Man and Theseus dont seem as different as many may have first thought. One may be a hero based in ancient time that fought bandits and bulls, and the other a robot of the near future that fought a man bent on world domination. Both have many labors that they were able to complete. They may come from different times, but thy are both heroes.