Heroic traits-- Miraculous birth, early threats Disinheritance and/or powerful enemy Quest(s) – impossible tasks requiring strength and courage, really a search for their identity Helpers – often divine Warrior mentality Inability to manage women Difficulty controlling passions Egocentricity
Early beginnings. Theseus — ◦son of Athenian King Aegeus ◦Raised in Southern Greece by his Mom ◦Aegeus (his dad) would not claim him until he was strong enough to get a sword and shoes he had hidden under a rock.
How did he become a hero? Retrieved the sword and shoes while still a youth. Then, began his journey to Athens On the way, he killed bandits in the same method that individual had used to kill their victims. “Eye for an Eye” was his belief.
Procrustes- the iron bed bandit Procrustes was one of the bandits Theseus met on his journey.. Procrustes was known for killing his victims on an iron bed—if they were too long for the bed, he would cut off parts of their bodies. Too short? He would stretch them to fit. Gruesome. Theseus takes him out in the same method.
Medea—in this story, too? Theseus returns to Athens to seek his father King Aegeus—who doesn’t know he is coming. Medea, after Jason sent her into exhile for killing the kids, becomes an advisor to King Aegeus, Theseus’ father. Medea knew it was the Kings son before the King did, and saw Theseus as a threat to her position as the king’s son.
The evil plan… Medea persuades the King to poison Theseus, but Theseus identifies himself by showing Aegeus the sword he had left him before drinking the poison in the cup. Aegeus knocks the cup out of Theseus’ hand, saves his son’s life Medea flees the city….
The Minotaur—what/where Minotaur=1/2 man/ ½ monster, born to the wife of Minos of Crete and King Minos. Labyrinth=maze, build by Daedalus, the master inventor, to keep the Minotaur prisoner. Every 9 yrs, the Athenian people had to send 7 young men and 7 young women to Crete for the Minotaur to eat. King Minos demanded their deaths to avenge the death of his only son, years earlier.
The quest—kill the minotaur The son died when his dad King Minos sent him to kill a dangerous bull. Minos threatened to destroy Athens unless the 14 young people were sacrificed every 9 years. Theseus learned of this and volunteered to be sacrificed.
Helpers? You bet. Kill the minotaur—check. Ariadne, Minos’ daughter, helped Theseus Theseus uses a ball of thread to track his path into the labyrinth. Kills the minotaur with his BARE HANDS! Saves the young people who were to be sacrificed…that is heroic! Uses his brain—and strength to overcome this great obstacle.
What happened to Ariadne? Ariadne sails away with Theseus toward Greece, but never arrives. One story says he abandoned her on the island of Naxos—what a jerk! Another story says she dies of an illness on the island of Naxos.
How did his father die? Upon returning to Athens, Theseus forgot to hoist the white sail to let his father know he was alive. King Aegeus—his father, commits suicide by throwing himself into the sea—thinking his son was dead. The sea is now called the Aegean Sea.
Creator of Democracy and early senate Theseus was known for creating democracy—a people’s government with a council hall where citizens came together to vote. He resigned as King and gave himself the title “Commander in Chief”
Theseus’ weaknesses… His love of adventure was a weakness. For the sake of adventure and excitement, he helped his friend Pirithous kidnap Persephone from the underworld. Hades stopped them by seating them in the “chair of forgetfulness” Later, Hercules made the trip to the underworld and frees Theseus, but not Pirithous.
Tragedy of Phaedra, Theseus, and Hippolytus Theseus’ first wife was the Amazon Antiope— they have the child Hippolytus. In later years he marries Ariadne’s sister, Phaedra. When Theseus took Phaedra home, Hippolytus and Phaedra did not get along. Hippolytus angered Aphrodite and she made Phaedra, his father’s wife, fall in love with him. Phaedra kills herself rather than succumb to the feeling Aphrodite sent upon her.
Hippolytus dies. Phaedra left a suicide note saying Theseus’ son Hippolyus had raped her— which wasn’t true. Hippolytus denies this, but Theseus didn’t believe him. Theseus banished his son Hippolytus Hippolytus dies driving his chariot along a road by the sea—a monster came up and he lost control of his chariot and its horses.
Dark ending. Artemis tells Theseus what the truth was—Phaedra’s note was false and Aphrodite was behind the whole thing. It was too late to save Hippolytus. Theseus dies in disgrace
With a partner, list 3-4 things for each side on a sheet of paper: Theseus--Feats of Strength and Courage: Theseus--Feats of intelligence:
Modern day labyrinths Each person today faces their own “labyrinth”--What are modern-day problems or fears that are “labyrinths” that people face in our daily lives? With your partner, list 5-10 on the same paper.