The Minotaur is a creature from Greek mythology, with the head of a bull and the body of a man. The myth of the Minotaur is associated with several civilizations formed on Greek islands and lands. Its origins go back to the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. The myth attained its final form in the Classical Greece era, when Theseus, Athens's cultural hero, slew the Minotaur.
Later, the Minotaur found his place in literature. For early writers he was only a beast, a symbol of horror, lust and shame, but contemporary literature starts to discover his human side. In 20th century literature, there is a clear shift in portraying the Minotaur as »beautiful«. Writers start to pity him, revealing different layers of the myth. They portray the Minotaur as a poor child, a friend, a brother, a lover and a victim. This approach is partly continued in 21st century literature which also, however, opens up the subject of the Minotaur's monstrosity with a series of complex questions regarding his nature.