The Unknown of the Sea

“The Horror at Martin’s Beach” poses a story of a monstrous sea creature that entrances and engulfs a great deal of people in a plot of revenge. In all of its extensive portrayal, my skepticism resides in its legitimacy. The author, H.P. Lovecraft, states from the very first sentence, “I have never heard an even approximately adequate explanation of the horror at Martin’s Beach”(Lovecraft 2010). How is one supposed to believe this occurrence if the author seems to be simply piecing this version together based on some estranged witnesses? There is no solid evidence for this event other than the fact it was spread by mouth. This tale was also formulated around the time when stories were used as a source of entertainment. So really how much can you believe this to be true?

People are fascinated with the great unknown that lies within the darkest depths of the seas. Children grow up getting told legends of the “great, green monster that resides below”. “The Horror at Martin’s Beach” is just another one of these stories. The ambiguity of the waters give rise to unrealistic prophecies. They spread at rapid rates, inducing fear as they go. Uncertainty scares people and to counteract this they will formulate stories for simple entertainment. I believe there is no truth to this tale and all others it follows. This story needs concrete evidence in order to be proven accurate and reliable. Without that, ” The Horror at Martin’s Beach” is just another myth to be read and pondered upon.

3 thoughts on “The Unknown of the Sea

  1. I agree with the statement in this post that “The Horror at Martin’s Beach” by H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia H. Greene is written as a horrific fantasy to exclusively entertain people because it simply does not have enough evidence to be real. This short story has no reliable sources to defend this absurdity that supposedly occurred at Martin’s beach. Although nothing is reliable throughout this story, the narrator has a reoccurring tendency of using the word “witness” (Lovecraft) to back their statement that this horror truly occurred. For example, the narrator says, “despite the large number of witnesses” and later on says, “Certainly there was no lack of witnesses” is used to make the reader truly believe that this occurred without any specification. The narrator’s ambiguity while talking about witnesses and the timeline when this tragedy occurred quickly makes us skeptic about this whole situation. Even though the narrator is completely lying to the audience about these courses of events, by bringing up that there were witnesses makes the reader think “is this actually real?” All things aside nothing is real without evidence and an accurate time period— “The Horror at Martin’s Beach” contains neither. As a result, these stories are just meant for entertainment and makes the audience feel somewhat mystified and uncertain about what the ocean is truly capable of containing.

  2. While I fully agree that this tale was pieced together by word of mouth from estranged individuals at the scene, thus leading us to question the legitimacy of such a tale, I do not think that this story was meant to be a true story. Rather, I feel as though H.P Lovecraft was trying to tell a tale as a symbol for bigger issues occurring in society during his time. The fact that Lovecraft mentions “Despite the large number of witnesses, no two accounts agree; and the testimony taken by local authorities contains the most amazing discrepancies,” furthers the point that this is most likely not a very reliable and true story and could be a commentary on the discrepancies in the opinions on issues in society at the time.

    Lovecraft wrote this short story around the time of the Industrial Revolution when technology and science was taking over the world. Knowing this, he may be commenting on issues that involve interfering with nature in order to make a profit. In a sense Lovecraft makes it seem as though the real monsters in our world are the humans. He uses words to personify the creature such as “scream of anguish and despair.” On the other hand, he uses words like, “the serpentine line of nodding heads” to make the humans seem more like creatures themselves. This calls the reader to sympathize with the creature rather than the humans.

    In the end of the short story, the sea creature gets the last laugh which is once again personification and could further be a comment on the fact that the destruction of nature by the Industrial revolution will come back to haunt us. While I agree that this is not a true story, nor a reliable one, Lovecraft’s commentary holds true today. In fact, we see in today’s world that humans can be seen as monsters because the issue of climate change has been exaggerated by many of the innovations founded in the Industrial revolution.