The Kraken

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British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1982) wrote a poem about the sea monster called "The Kraken." Tennyson was the poet laureate for Queen Victoria from 1850 until 1892. The poem was written in 1830 when Tennyson was in his early twenties. It discusses the Kraken's giant arms and polypi.
The Kraken
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

The Kraken is a legendary sea monster. The ship-sized, squid-like creature was rumored to be large enough to bring down entire ships. The Museum of UnNatural History tracks early Kraken sea monster legends back to the 16th century. They note that early Norwegian sailors referred to it as the kracken octopus.

An article in Mental Floss says the Kraken comes from the Norwegian word krake. The Kraken was most recently referenced in the Clash of the Titans 2010 remake where Liam Neeson as Zeus says the famous line, "Release the Kraken!" It has since become a meme.

Tennyon's powerful poem about the legendary sea beast has received different interpretations. Tennyson was clearly inspired by the legendary Kraken as he describes the fearsome monster in his poem.

One line hints at the creature's massive size: "Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green." He also describes its age with the line: "Huge sponges of millennial growth and height."

Tennyson might also have been using the Kraken as a metaphor for fear of the unknown or fear of breaking away from conventional thought. The Kraken could be a metaphor for a fear of the unknown that becomes less feared once fully understood. The Kraken seems mysterious and other worldly until it is identified (brought to the surface) as just another animal (albeit a very large one) by science.

The Literary Arts Medicine Database at NYU writes, that the poem may be understood as "a contemplation of ideology and blind allegiances to the status quo-which lose their destructive powers only when they are recognized for what they are."