Theseus The King Among Bulls

1143 Words5 Pages
A Crane Among Bulls: Stand-out Attributes of a Legendary King Leaping over bulls, fighting for honor, beheading traitors, cleansing the Isthmus of bandits, avenging the death of one’s closest friend, wrestling to the death, overturning matriarchal society, fighting alongside Amazons, marrying the goddess on Earth, thus becoming ruler of all of Crete. This is just a short list of some of the accomplishments of the mythical Theseus, Green Leader of the Cranes, Prince of Troizen, Kerkyon of Eleusis, Shepherd of Athens, Minos of Crete, and Son of Poseidon. Mary Renault, in her historical fiction novel, The King Must Die, uses the protagonist, Theseus, to precisely illustrate the qualities of a superior, and beloved king. Throughout the novel,…show more content…
Theseus makes personal sacrifices as the shepherd of his people that are difficult but for the greater good. Shortly after Theseus becomes heir to the throne of Athens, Cretans come to take tributes from Athens back to their island to become bull-dancers in the Labyrinth, where death is a guarantee. Some of Theseus’ men from Eleusis have been wrangled up to be selected by the lots. Theseus’ volunteers to be in the drawing; however, his father does not want to risk losing his one and only son and heir to the Cretans, so he does not put Theseus’ name in the bowl. Theseus does not like this and volunteers to take the place of one of the other selected boys: “I have vowed to stand for them to the god … I see what I must do, to save my honor. If they will not free my people, I must take the luck of the draw myself, just like the others” (157). It would not be kingly to turn his back on his people and leave them to fend for themselves in the bull-dance. Theseus must be a shepherd to his people and at the least enter the drawing himself. Theseus’ father is planning on throwing a party for him and gives him two matching and beautiful horses. Theseus has volunteered himself to go to Crete because his other father, Poseidon, gave him a sign that he must. Theseus is contemplating this and then thinks, “The god cannot mean it. He sent me here to be King. Father Poseidon, take something else from me. I will not ask to live long, if I can make a name and be remembered in Athens. Now it will be as if I have never been born. If you want my life, let me die here in battle, and leave some record, a bard’s song and a tomb. Lord Poseidon, I will give you my horses, the best I ever had. Take anything but this” (163). Even though Theseus is willing to go, he really does not want to if it isn’t

More about Theseus The King Among Bulls

Open Document