top of page

Sisyphus and Jason Voorhees - Embracing Monotony -- How to Live Relentlessly

Updated: Mar 17


A man operating a computer

Ms Tamara Moskal's Synopsis:


What has Sisyphus and Jason Voorhees in common? Both are immortal and can't find peace until they accomplish their futile, impossible-to-complete tasks. While Sisyphus' assignment is a perpetual punishment, Jason's eternal revenge on his tormentors and killers is his mission. We can view our earthly existence as either punishment or as a calling. Finding a vocation helps us accept our fate, endure modern life's emptiness, and give us a reason to stay alive.

When we think of the myth of Sisyphus, a former king who was punished for his death-cheating ways, by being forced to eternally roll a boulder up a hill, we think of pointless suffering. This suffering's origin comes from what Albert Camus claimed to be our lack of willingness to joyfully accept the absurdity of existence.



Even today, Sisyphus name birthed an adjective that's used to describe an activity that is terribly monotonous, endless and futile. A Sisyphean task, however, can also be one that is very long, to the point that it seems never-ending.


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. Both are driven by a relentless and ultimately futile quest: A quest that is doomed to never succeed, regardless of the attempts being made.


Instead of pushing a rock to the top of a hill, Jason is forced by resurrection to destroy humanity for abandoning him as a teen, and for killing his mother who tried to avange him. Like Sisyphus, Jason will never achieve his goal of overcoming humanity, despite his deadly powers, and have his undead spirit rest in peace. His bloodthirsty motive has killed 157 people in his movies, but that wasn't enough to prevent humanity from imprisoning him in a research facility made specifically to contain him. There are simply too many people for one undead killer to overcome.


One of the core horror components behind the character of Jason Voorhees is that he cannot die. No matter how much damage he takes, he always comes back for more. This makes him a truly terrifying villain, as there is no way to defeat him permanently. Like Sysphus, he is immortal, and will never be able to have his soul rest in peace like his mother wanted.


An enemy of humanity, Jason's immortality can be seen as a form of punishment, similar to the realm Sisyphus was casted to: the prison of Tartarus. In Greek mythology it was a realm so isolated that, according to the Greek poet, Homer, "A brazen anvil falling from earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth". The most common trait between the two iconic characters is that they can't escape from a fate they are cannot accomplish, but must accomplish nevertheless.



Sisyphus must complete his task to please the Gods. Jason must clear Crystal lake from people so he would finally be at peace. Both cannot exist in peace until their tasks will be finished.


Sisyphus was condemned to roll a boulder up a hill for all eternity, only to have it roll back down again each time. Jason is similarly condemned to a life of vengeful violence, never able let go of what humanity did to him and to his mother. Both beings are undead, or between life and death. They cannot forsake life, despite not being within the realm of the living. But to finally reach death, they must complete their tasks.


But since they can never accomplish them, they are stuck in a workhaolic-like purgatory state. They've forsaken life in their own ways. Sisyphus did so by disobeying the gods by cheating death, while Jason became an undead revenant by lightning in one of his many encounters with his enemies.


However, there is one key difference between Jason and Sisyphus. Sisyphus was punished for his attempt to outsmart divine fate, while Jason became a special kind of undead: a Revenant. The term "revenant" comes from old French, meaning "to come back". While Sisyphus' immortality is a punishment, Jason's eternal life is a higher calling, to haunt the living forever.


Also, Sisyphus' tale is about the importance of not cheating fate. Jason's tale about the importance of caring for those whom you're responsible for. For abusing and forsaking the mentally-disabled child, the teenage employees at the summer camp created a horrible monster who is destined to haunt humanity with no hope for his redemption. The only theoratical way for humanity to be redeemed is to return from its abusive ways. Until then, Jason might as well keep returning to life infinitely.


As a result, Jason can be seen as a tragic figure, as he is driven by forces beyond his control. But for his murder of innocent lives he is beyond redemption.


Relentless and unstoppable, Jason Voorhees can be regarded as a being who embraced his Sisyphean fate. While I won't tell you that we should be like Jason Voorhees, I would tell you that we could learn from him how we can, too, accept our existence, and live it through relentlessly, embracing the roles we were either assinged by others, or choose to assign to ourselves.


From the comparison of these two characters, we can relate the comparison's wisdom to our own lives. We can either see this monotonous, seemingly-absurd existence as either a punishment or as a calling. We can learn that with the right attitude, we can increase our ability to endure the monotony and emptiness of modern life. That can be done by either finding our calling, or by creating one ourselves.


And both the search for our calling or its creation lie in the ability and the practice of knowing ourselves more.


Hence, Jason is more than a villain. He is one who, shaped by his interactions with humanity, became a broken man, and later on, a vengeful undead monster. He has loyally embraced what Sisyphus will never be able to accept -- that he (Jason) will never fully satisfy his revenge, but would keep at it regardless.


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, we can see it as a source of empowerment -- a motivator to keep on existing. This comparison teaches us the importance of avoiding counter-productive mindsets that make life harder for us than it already is.



And to become as relentless as this revenant, we must understand that ruthlessness is a virtue. One capable of keeping your mentality afloat, and yourself, remaining alive, functioning, and increase the chances of accomplishing your goals.


Studying these two characters, I now know I can lift this article empire to much greatness, as long as I survive and remain relentless in my work.


87 views0 comments

Comments


Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

צילום מסך 2023-11-02 202752.png
bottom of page