Kronos, Zeus and cheating polysemy in the succession myth in Hesiod's Theogony

Bill Gladhill


Scholars have long recognized that deception, deceit, polysemy, ambiguity and cheating are infused and enmeshed in the deep structure of the violent cadences of Olympian succession in the mythography of Hesiod’s Theogony. Gaia cheats; Kronos cheats; Rhea cheats; Zeus cheats; Prometheus cheats; Zeus cheats more. This paper is ostensibly about the rhythm of deceit and deception in the unfolding of the Olympian order, but it privileges Hesiod’s own deceptive poetics in articulating the precise flow of deception in the course of the myths of succession. Hesiod builds into his narrative a significant, intratextual homophony that situates his poetics within the system of cheating and deception that is part and parcel of Olympian succession. I will show that this homophony is related to the themes of power and control, which the poem structures as an opposition between and . It will become clear that Zeus’ success and Kronos’ failure in the course of the succession myth is closely linked to Hesiodic poetics.

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Electra | ISSN: 1792-605X

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