Who Was Sisyphus In Ancient Greek Mythology and Why Was Sisyphus Forced To Roll a Large Rock Up a Hill?

Sisyphus was a brilliant and clever king in Greek mythology whose deceptive ways fooled the gods themselves.

When Sisyphus angered Zeus, Zeus sent the spirit of death, Thanatos, to bring Sisyphus to the underworld.

But Sisyphus had no intention of dying, and he used his trickery to bind Thanatos in chains.

Without Thanatos, dead souls could no longer enter the underworld, and Zeus furiously ordered Sisyphus to free him. Naturally, Thanatos turned on Sisyphus as soon as he was unchained.

But before Sisyphus died, he secretly told his wife not to bury his body. According to Greek belief, no one could enter the underworld unless they have been properly buried.

Waiting to enter the underworld, Sisyphus complained bitterly to Hades about his wife and asked Hades if he could return to life to punish her for not giving him a proper burial.

Hades, also angered by Sisyphus’s wife, agreed. But once Sisyphus returned to earth, he remained there and lived to a ripe old age.

When Sisyphus finally died as an old man, the gods were determined to give him a task that would leave him no time to scheme or plot.

They gave him a boulder to push to the top of a hill.

Once he reached the top, he would lose his grip, and the boulder would roll back down to the bottom.

Sisyphus had to trudge down the hill and push the boulder again to the top, and he was doomed to repeat the process forever.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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