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Theogony | Character Analysis



The youngest child of Kronos and Rhea, Zeus would have been swallowed by his father had his mother not substituted for the newborn baby a stone wrapped in swaddling. He grows up to challenge his father and overthrow the Titans. He becomes the king of the Olympian gods, known as the father of gods and men, the bearer of the aegis, and the patron of guests.


Gaia personifies the earth, and is mother to her husband, Ouranos, to all the Titans, and to many other deities. Grieved and distressed when Ouranos buries their offspring, the Cyclopes and the hundred-handed monsters, within her, she asks her children to take revenge on their father. She devises a plan whereby Kronos castrates his father.


Ouranos is the personification of Heaven, the son and husband of Gaia, father to the Titans, and father to the Cyclopes and hundred-handed monsters whom he despises and buries deep within Gaia. His son Kronos castrates him when he is lying in love with Gaia, and his genitals, cast upon the sea, ultimately turn into the goddess Aphrodite. Drops of his blood that fall on the earth lead to the birth of the Giants and the Furies.


Kronos is the last of the Titans to be born. When his mother, Gaia, asks who of her children will take revenge on their father, Ouranos, for burying within her the sons he despises, Kronos agrees to follow her plan. He castrates his father and then flings the genitals upon the sea. As king of the Titans he worries about a prophecy told to him by his mother and father that his son will overthrow him. So as his sister-wife Rhea bears children, he swallows each child to prevent his overthrow until he is tricked into swallowing a stone instead of the baby Zeus.


Son of the Titan Iapetos and brother to Epimetheus, Atlas, and Menoitios, Prometheus is portrayed as clever and wise; indeed, his name means "forethought." He angers Zeus by arranging it so that men sacrifice to the gods the bones and fat while keeping for themselves the meat, hide, and entrails of sacrificed animals. He also steals fire for man by hiding it in a hollow fennel stalk, and later is punished by being chained to a mountain and having his liver eaten out every day by an eagle.

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