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The King Must Die

Mary Renault

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Important Quotations Explained

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full title ·  The King Must Die

author · Mary Renault

type of work · Novel

genre · Historical narrative

language · English

time and place written · Written in South Africa, before 1958

date of first publication · 1958

publisher · Pantheon Books

narrator · Theseus, at the end of his life

climax · An earthquake destroys Knossos Palace.

protagonist · Theseus

antagonist · Asterion

setting (time) · The novel is set in ancient Greece, likely around 1450 B.C. It covers roughly the first twenty years of Theseus' life.

setting (place) · The novel covers many areas of ancient Greece, from Troizen to Eleusis to Athens to Crete.

point of view · The story is told from Theseus's point of view.

falling action · Theseus kills Asterion.

tense · Immediate past

foreshadowing · Although the novel is the story of his youth, and is told from his perspective at that time, at certain moments the older Theseus, makes reference to the impact that specific events were to have.

tone · The tone is one of passionate nostalgia, describing the events of youth from world-weary old age.

themes · Leadership; belief; justice; honor

motifs · Deities; rituals;

symbols · Gods as nature; moira as fate

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