A monster is a hideously grotesque animal or human being, or a hybrid of both, whose appearance frightens and whose powers of destruction threaten the human world's social or moral order.
Animal monsters are outside the moral order, but sometimes have their origin in some human violation of the moral law (e.g. in the Greek myth, Minos does not sacrifice the white bull Poseidon sent him to the god, so as punishment Poseidon makes Minos' wife, Pasiphaë, fall in love with the bull, and she copulates with the beast, and gives birth to the man with a bull's head, the Minotaur). Human monsters are those who by birth were never fully human (Medusa and her sisters) or who through some supernatural or unnatural act lost their humanity (werewolves, Frankenstein's monster), and so who can no longer, or who never could, follow the moral law of human society.
Monsters pre-date written history, and the academic study of the particular cultural notions expressed in a society's ideas of monsters is known as monstrophy.Monsters have appeared in literature and in feature-length films. Well-known monsters in fiction include Count Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, werewolves, mummies, and zombies.
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