Sisyphus and Jason Voorhees - Embracing Monotony

Sisyphus and Jason Voorhees - Embracing Monotony

When we think of the famous myth of Sisyphus, a former king that was punished for his divine-surpassing ego to bring an ultimately-sliding stone upon a hill for eternity, we think of a state of eternal suffering, and even today his name is used to describe an activity that is terribly monotonous and/or too boring to be sufferable.

However, if we are to look at one of the most iconic horror-slasher villains, the hockey-masked Jason Voorhees, we can detect a similarity between Jason's personality and mission with that of Sisyphus, but instead of pushing a rock to the top of the hill, Jason is forced by resurrection to destroy humanity, a goal of which, like that of Sisyphus, will never come to full fruition, as Jason's bloodthirsty motive that killed hundreds if not thousands of people, will technically never suffice in his quest to fully eradicate humanity, as hundreds/thousands of victims will never come into a full equation with the billions of humans whose large portion he may never be able to touch, due to them being so many for one undead killer.

One of the core horror components behind the character of Jason is that no matter what will be done to him, he cannot die and will come back eventually for blood. Like loneliness, you can only delay him if you are to win a fight against him, but because he cannot be killed, he will always have to kill others. This exact element, that he is capable of enduring every act of pain that is bestowed, is what can make him not only and necessarily scary, but admirable as well; an individual so determined, so apathetic, nothing can stop his mission, even he himself. If he had the desire to commit suicide, he wouldn't be able to do so because he cannot be killed, even by himself.

Jason's immortality-giving resurrection can be related, therefore, to the verdict of Sisyphus. Instead of being punished by supernatural entities, Jason is the eternal lackey of his mother whom he worships. However, his mission is the same with that of the former king – a monotonous one, and a one that will never be technically fulfilled. Jason therefore can be regarded, from this perspective, as an anti-villain, even though he is regarded to be one of the classic icons of villainy, along with characters such as Darth Vader and Freddy Kruger.

But unlike the rest of the evil-oriented icons, it is technically unclear whether Jason wants to kill for the sake of senseless killing or thinks of himself as the hero and his victims as the evil ones. Let us not forget that Jason did not choose to be an immortal killer, but was resurrected in the name of vengeance against those who did not saved him when he was drowning, and surely, he did not choose to be bullied by others, nor be drowned while ignored by those who could help them.

Therefore, at the same time we see him as a spawn of hell, it could be possible that shares the same perception, but towards others, hence his motive to slaughter humanity for eternity. However, since he is silent, this is but a theory that isn't necessarily confirmed. Perhaps he does not have this perception, but is, as written before, a tool for his mother's voice to use and command, like a golem to a warlock.

But regardless of his possible system of beliefs and motives, Jason always stands up after being taken down, and even though he cannot realistically destroy humanity entirely (at least in the methods he does in the movies – killing like a serial killer would, one-by-one, and not as someone with nuclear weaponry), he still chooses to kill in the name of an everlasting thirst for blood that cannot be ever completely fulfilled.

In that case, Jason can be regarded as a variant of Sisyphus – one that is bound for the same activity for an eternity, but also as one that has embraced to follow the same activity over and over again, without any possibility whatsoever to give up.

Jason can be therefore seen as a Sisyphus that loyally accepts his verdict-by-resurrection, whereas Sisyphus is bound to his punishment by force, not by motive. If Sisyphus had the ability, he would surely give up on the dumb idea to bring a stone to a hill which will always roll afar. Jason, however, accepts his mission without rebellion, and nothing can ever break his determination to do the same thing over and over again.

This is what therefore distinguishes Jason Voorhees and Sisyphus; the same distinguishing that can be admired and even inspirational, minus, of course, the specific activity Jason does.

And from the comparison of these two characters, we can relate the comparison's wisdom to our own lives – that with the right attitude we can increase our ability to endure the monotony of modern life, even if we won't be able to perfect it like Jason did. Hence why Jason is more than a villain, but as an archetype of inspiration that has loyally embraced what Sisyphus will never be able to accept, and this acceptance is something that we should regard when we are to find ourselves contemplating the boredom and repetitiveness of the average modern life.

This also raises the question as to what is more preferable – is it truly a better option to suffer monotony like Sisyphus, or to embrace it like Jason, instead of seeing it as a form of punishment, but a source of emissary? This comparison teaches us the importance of avoiding counter-productive mindsets that make life harder for us than it could be.


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© 2019 Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosopher