Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Theseus (THEE-see-uhs), the protagonist and narrator. The grandson of King Pittheus of Troizen and son of Princess Aithra, Theseus does not discover until later that he is the son of Aegeus, the king of Athens. After becoming the “king for a year” of Eleusis, Theseus journeys to Athens to reveal himself to King Aegeus. He later subdues Eleusis, vanquishing its queen; makes the isthmus safe for travelers; and allows himself to be sent to Crete as a bull-dancer. An earthquake and revolution make him king there.


Pittheus, the king of Troizen and grandfather of Theseus. Pittheus is the formative influence on Theseus when he is young, instructing him in kingship and the Greek concept of fate, called moira. He also reveals to Theseus the strange circumstances of his being fathered by King Aegeus of Athens.


Aithra, the princess of Troizen. She is the daughter of Pittheus, Theseus’ youthful mother, and the Priestess of Mother Dia (Demeter) in Troizen. In this last capacity, she represents the remnants of the mother-worshiping religion of the earlier inhabitants of Greece.


Persephone (pur-SEH-fuh-nee), the queen of Eleusis. As the queen of a city that worships the female principle, the queen of Eleusis takes a husband yearly; he is killed in a wrestling...

(The entire section is 539 words.)