Shoggoth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Shoggoths)
Jump to: navigation, search
Shoggoth
Cthulhu Mythos character
Shoggoth by Nottsuo.jpg
An artist's rendition of a shoggoth.
First appearance At the Mountains of Madness
Created by H.P. Lovecraft
Information
Aliases Shaggoth

A shoggoth (occasionally shaggoth[1]) is a monster in the Cthulhu Mythos. The beings were mentioned in passing in H. P. Lovecraft's sonnet cycle Fungi from Yuggoth (1929–30) and later described in detail in his novella At the Mountains of Madness (1931).

Description[edit]

It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train — a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.

— H. P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness

The definitive descriptions of shoggoths come from the above-quoted story. In it, Lovecraft describes them as massive amoeba-like creatures made out of iridescent black slime, with multiple eyes "floating" on the surface. They are "protoplasmic", lacking any default body shape and instead being able to form limbs and organs at will. A typical shoggoth measures fifteen feet across when a sphere, though the story mentions the existence of others of much greater size. Being amorphous, shoggoths can take on any shape needed, making them very versatile within aquatic environments.

Cthulhu Mythos media most commonly portray shoggoths as intelligent to some degree, but as dealing with problems using their great size and strength[citation needed]. The shoggoth that appears in At the Mountains of Madness simply rolls over and crushes numerous giant penguins that are in its way as it pursues human characters.

The character Abdul Alhazred is terrified by the mere idea of shoggoths' existence on Earth.

Fictional history[edit]

At The Mountains Of Madness includes a detailed account of the circumstances of the shoggoths' creation by the extraterrestrial Elder Things. Shoggoths were initially used to build the cities of their masters. Though able to "understand" the Elder Things' language, shoggoths had no real consciousness and were controlled through hypnotic suggestion. Over millions of years of existence, some shoggoths mutated, developed independent minds, and rebelled. The Elder Things succeeded in quelling the insurrection, but exterminating the shoggoths was not an option as the Elder Things were dependent on them for labor. Shoggoths also developed the ability to survive on land, while the Elder Things retreated to the oceans. Shoggoths that remained alive in the abandoned Elder Thing city in Antarctica would later imitate their masters' art and voices, endlessly repeating "Tekeli-li",[2] a cry that their old masters used.

In other Cthulhu Mythos media, the existence of the shoggoths is described as having possibly led to the accidental creation of Ubbo-Sathla, a god-like entity supposedly responsible for the origin of all life on Earth.[citation needed]

Other appearances[edit]

Aside from their main appearance in At the Mountains of Madness, shoggoths appear in numerous other Mythos stories, often as servitors or captives to powerful cults and entities.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This spelling appears in the original Arkham House printing for "The Thing on the Doorstep" (1937 or shuggoth), though the definitive manuscripts show that the proper spelling is in fact "shoggoth". (Burleson, H.P. Lovecraft, A Critical Study, footnote #14, p. 195.)
  2. ^ This cry is a reference to the Edgar Allan Poe novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, which is cited in At the Mountains of Madness. (Pearsall, "Poe, Edgar Allan", The Lovecraft Lexicon, p. 332.)
  • Name may translate to "native of" (oth) "realm of darkness" (shogg)[citation needed]

References[edit]

  • Burleson, Donald R. (1983). H. P. Lovecraft, A Critical Study. Westport, CT / London, England: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-23255-5. 
  • Harms, Daniel (1998). "Shoggoths". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. pp. 273–4. ISBN 1-56882-119-0. 
  • Lovecraft, Howard P. (1985) [1931]. "At the Mountains of Madness". In S. T. Joshi. At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels (7th corrected printing ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 0-87054-038-6.  Definitive version.
  • Pearsall, Anthony B. (2005). The Lovecraft Lexicon (1st ed.). Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Pub. ISBN 1-56184-129-3.