What Are Some Examples of Mermaids in Literature?


Quick Answer

The most well known mermaid in literature is the titular Little Mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen, but other well-known fictional mermaids include the mermaids in Peter Pan, the Deep Ones from HP Lovecraft's work, young adult star Emily Windsnap, and Superman's occasional love interest Lori Lemaris. It is often speculated that the mythological Sirens of Homer's "Odyssey" are the forerunners of mermaids.

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The Sirens that appear in the "Odyssey" are more bird-like than they are fish-like, but they do feature some of the characteristics associated with mermaids. They sing so beautifully that men throw themselves into the water and drown trying to reach them. In the Odyssey, Odyssseus protects his crew by ordering them to plug their ears. However, he wants to hear their singing for himself, so he orders his men to tie him to the mast and not let him go until the danger has passed. In this way, he is able to survive hearing their song.

In both DC and Marvel comics, Atlantis is treated as a living, underwater civilization of merpeople, but the depiction of residents may change. Lori Lemaris is depicted as a traditional mermaid, with a fishy lower body, while Aquaman, who is the king of the underwater Atlantis, is depicted as humanoid.

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