Theseus & the Minotaur

Theseus and the Minotaur is just a product of Greek mythical, oral tradition which contains no substance of truth. Evaluate this statement using evidence drawn from sources to justify your perspective.

The story of Theseus and the Minotaur is one of the most argued Ancient Greek tales. It is a story carefully woven with deceit, violence, horror, sacrifice and bestiality. Although the story possesses ludicrous and impossible components, much truth and evidence can be found to support a rational history. Whether the legend is a fictional bedtime story told to ancient Athenian children or a horrible truth behind the pretence of myth, it holds key elements to understanding the ancient Greek society of both Cretans and Athenians.

The legend is an exaggerated version of what is a less exciting truth, the legend being “The ancient Greek myth told of a ferocious beast- half man and half bull –that inhabited a labyrinth built by the architect Daedalus under the palace of King Minos. Each year (or in some versions, every nine years) the people of Athens were forced to send seven boys and seven maidens to be devoured by the beast, until one year the hero Theseus came and slew the creature with a magic sword, escaping the labyrinth by retracing a thread given to him by Minos’s daughter Ariadne.”

It is naïve and juvenile to assume that the Ancient Greek tale of Theseus and the Minotaur is just a myth. There are many factors to consider before overlooking the tale to be just a product of Greek mythical, oral tradition that contains no substance. This includes the location of the story, the characters and both written and archaeological sources. Although the tale was generally passed down through history by verbal telling, there are written sources that suggest the story be true as well.

In the South of Crete, there is an ancient underground quarry, ‘The Labyrinth of Messara,’ located north of the Messara Mountains. The cave stretches on for two miles and consists of...