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The Theme of Punishment in the Myth of Atlas and the Myth of Sisyphus

  • Date Submitted: 03/15/2010 02:38 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 70.7 
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Simon G.

The theme of punishment in the myth
            of Atlas and the myth of Sisyphus

Everyone knows that if you do something bad or wrong, you will get it back. This is the theme of punishment and it was expressed by the Greek society in the form of myths. The myth of Atlas and the myth of Sisyphus are both based on this theme and were created to make the Greek believe that they should never do anything bad. In both myth the heroes have been found guilt of one of their acts and by consequence have been put to a harsh task that they to do for the rest of their lives. They both risk anything to get away from their never-ending punishment but fail every time and keep doing their duty.

In both myths, the heroes have physical tasks. In the myth of Sisyphus, he has to push a very large and heavy boulder up a hill but it always fails and rolls back down. In the myth of Atlas, however, he constantly has to hold the heavens by means of a pillar on his shoulders, even tough he is relieved by Heracles who accepts to hold the pillar while the Titan goes to pick some golden apples.

As stated in the introduction, “They both risk anything to get away from their never-ending punishment”, but this is expressed in different forms in the two myths. In the myth of Atlas, Atlas takes the opportunity of resting as long as possible while Heracles holds the heavens but still get tricked to hold the pillar again. On the other hand, in the myth of Sisyphus, Sisyphus knows he will be punished and tries as hard as he can to extend the period of time awaiting his sentence.

Both of the myths and many other Greek myths are about the theme of punishment. They were used as examples of what could happen to you if you were a Greek citizen and you denied or did not follow the laws that the government applied. This is why the Greek government used these myths to reduce crime and theft in Greece. The myths were used as morals for the citizens.

One of the differences...

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