SparkNotes Blog

Signs You’re About to Die in Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, death is pretty much everywhere, and you’re never more than one minor act of hubris away from Charon ferrying your soul across the River Styx. 

(And that’s if you’re lucky. Worst-case scenario, you’ll offend the gods and be forced to spend the rest of eternity pushing a boulder up a hill. Have you ever pushed a boulder up a hill? I haven’t, but I have pushed my car fifty feet to the gas station, and I assume the two experiences are similar.)

Anyway, are you about to die in Greek mythology? Probably. Know the signs:

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1. You just boasted that you’re better than a god or goddess at whatever craft they’re best known for.

2. You took a side in a conflict. It was the wrong side.

3. You’re attempting to solve the riddle of the Sphinx, and you are not Oedipus.

4. You’re one of the children of Medea, and Jason just cheated on her.

5. Having angered the gods, Agamemnon must now make a human sacrifice to gain a favorable wind, and you just so happen to be his extremely disposable daughter.

6. You’re one of the crewmen of Odysseus.

7. Cassandra is warning you that something is coming, but what does she know?

8. You’re romantically involved with a god who has an extremely jealous wife.

9. There’s literally a prophecy about your death that you’re just choosing to ignore.

10. Medusa is here.

11. You’ve been seeing lots of bird lately. Sparrows being eaten by serpents, an eagle killing a goose, that kind of thing. But what could it possibly mean?

12. You’re vying for Penelope’s hand in marriage, secure in the knowledge that Odysseus is definitely dead.

13. You’re a Trojan, and Priam just brought this really cool, really big wooden horse within the walls of your impenetrable city. Thank Zeus the Greeks left this morning!

14. You’ve run afoul of the Laestrygonians.

15. Someone just warned you not to do something lest you tempt fate, but what are you? A coward? You’re literally already doing it.

16. You’re a young maiden living in Athens, and the Minotaur is hungry.

17. Your dad is Hercules, and he’s acting crazy. Hera is near.

18. You’re a Trojan on the battlefield. Achilles is snuffing out human lives left and right, but you think, “Eh, maybe he’s getting tired,” and you level your spear in his general direction.

19. You took advantage of someone’s hospitality right in front of Zeus, who is the god of making sure people don’t take advantage of anyone’s hospitality.

20. You just paid a visit to the Oracle of Delphi, and now you’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure the prophecy doesn’t come to pass.

21. It’s year ten of the Trojan War. The Achaeans are losing. You’re putting on the armor of Achilles to rally the troops.

22. You’ve been invited to dine with the gods and your manners are appalling.

23. You’re the wife of a poet who is extremely good with a lyre.

24. You’re one of the fourteen children of Niobe, who’s bragging about how many kids she has to Leto, who only has two. Unfortunately, Leto’s two kids are called Apollo and Artemis, and they seem kind of mad.

25. You’re sailing along, just minding your own business, when you hear the most beautiful sound in the world. But where is it coming from? You head to the nearest island to take a closer look.