(Brilliant cartoon work by Medi Belortaja )
The story of Sisyphus in Greek Mythology
Sisyphus was a sinner condemned in Tartarus to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again, then have to push it back up. That was the only future he was ever going to know in existence, in penance for his sins.
He was founder and King of Corinth, known as Ephyra before his rule. His reputation expanded in fear of him, for being the most cunning meddler on earth. Towards the end of his life, with all his acquired intelligence, Hades a god from the kingdom of the dead arrived to claim him. Hades brought handcuffs, bemused by observing such a new device, Sisyphus with his natural interest in oppression expressed much interest. Hades, distracted by the meddler’s interest, was persuaded to demonstrate their use on himself. How cunning Sisyphus was to trick a god.
What happened next to Hades? The great lord of the Underworld was entombed in a closet in Sisyphus’s home, like a cocooned moth. Such an act destroyed all balance in nature, no one could die with the god enslaved. Such power resting in the hands of Sisyphus. A soldier could die in battle, yet still arrive home for supper? The immortal weapon was released.
Eventually, Hades was released into the light, taking charge, immediately he summoned the tyrant to complete his eternity in the Underworld. Prior to this Sisyphus had ordered his wife to create propaganda for his release with Persephone, Queen of the Dead. Spotting a loophole in logic, she could raise a complaint that his funeral had not been served with honours. As a figure of prestige, it is only fitting that his burial should occur on the far side of the river Styx, and his wife had not placed a coin under his tongue to ensure safe passage with the ferryman Charon. It was surely an obligation of the Queen of the Dead to address this balance of wrongs? There was obviously no benefits fraud occurring.
Logically this made utter sense and once again Sisyphus was back in the land of the living, untouchable by death. So very pleased with his wit, he forgot all about his dealings, kept calm and carried on in his ways. Then nature combined forces with the Gods sharing stories on him, unaware they wiped him from behind one day. Hades came back with vengeance, he was hauled to an eternity of madness and hard labour. Forever he would be enslaved to push the back breaking boulder up the hill, only to know it would roll back down again.