In the myth of Sisyphus, he pushes a boulder up a hill for all eternity because it keeps falling back down. My question is, why doesn't Sisyphus ever break the conditioning and leave?

  • 2
    He can't... that's his task, his geas. Also, he's a lesson from a myth, not a fully-realized character. Feb 11, 2018 at 12:41
  • 2
    To emphasize @LaurenIpsum's point, Sisyphus really wants that rock at the top of that mountain. Besides, what else is there to do in Hades?
    – Spencer
    Feb 11, 2018 at 19:09
  • @Spencer escape? Feb 13, 2018 at 23:54
  • Haha. Never thought of that, and I have 10 new ideas before breakfast most days. This makes me wonder if there doesn't exist in modern literature a take on this idea... (Speaking of post-modern treatments of mythology, I strongly recommend Sartre's The Flies.)
    – DukeZhou
    Feb 14, 2018 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


Sisyphus is cursed with a compulsion to roll the rock up the mountain. He is incapable of resisting the allure of the job. And even if he could leave, where would he go? The Fields of Punishment extend for miles and miles, and have thousands of minions whose only purpose is to keep the criminals from escaping. Then there are the Furies, Cerberus, Thanatos... Suffice to say, escape is not possible mentally or physically for him.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.