THE IRRESISTIBLE POWER OF THE PAST
It began with a single act of hubris. Tantalus, the ruler of an ancient city in Greece and a favorite of the gods, decided one day to test the gods’ omniscience by chopping up and cooking his own son, Pelops, and serving him to them as a meal. Although the gods were on to this deceit from the beginning, one of them, Demeter, was distracted by her troubles with Hades. She feasted on the boy’s shoulder before realizing what was happening.
Furious with this deception, the gods banished Tantalus to the deepest part of the underworld, starved and tortured (“tantalized”) him for eternity, and cursed his entire family. So began the protracted misfortunes of the House of Atreus (Tantalus’s descendants), ...