I went to see The Hunger Games movie last night. I want to make it clear that I read the entire series over a year ago, long before I knew anything about the movie, or saw anything of their social media campaign (which was pretty impressive). It struck me even more strongly in seeing the movie than in reading the book, that Katniss bears some resemblance to Artemis.
Both are strong, independent female characters, and both are archers. Both Katniss and Artemis were skilled hunters, and not much interested in the opposite sex. Those are the obvious similarities. Are there others?
When Katniss attacks Peeta after their interviews for saying he had a crush on her, it reminds me of the myth of Artemis and Acteon. Acteon was hunting with his dogs, and he happened upon a pool where Artemis and her companions were bathing. Enchanted, he stayed and watched a while. When Artemis saw him spying on her, she cursed him by changing him into a stag and set his own dogs upon him. Katniss wasn’t quite that severe with Peeta; she is human after all.
The Greeks enjoyed athletics and competition. They created the Olympic games. The Hunger Games is less like the Olympics and more like a gladiatorial arena. We associate gladiators with Roman times, though some scholars think that the gladiators may have a Greek origin, though the Greeks would have used them on a much smaller and less grandiose scale than the Romans. So there is a possible link there.
Katniss is very loyal to those that she chooses as her companions – first her little sister, Primrose; then Rue, and finally Peeta. Artemis is loyal to her companions that she chooses – she often made those of her devotees that she loved her immortal companions. Artemis saved Iphegenia from her father’s sacrifice, similar to Katniss saving her sister from becoming a tribute.
In looking back, I am quite amazed at the similarities. I wonder how conscious a choice this was on Suzanne Collins’ part, and how much was the archetype of Artemis seeking a voice in the modern world.
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