The Morale of the Myth of Sisyphus: Trials Everyone Has to Pass

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A lifetime of labour, blood, sweat, tears, and hard work for all of eternity without any end reward. Not typical for a human, but for the King of Ephyra, Sisyphus, this was his everyday life. This can be referenced through stories about a repetitive hard task. Written in the essay “The Myth of Sisyphus,” (Camus) it states, “I know simply that the sky will last longer than I” (Camus). This pertains to the life of Sisyphus and that he will be stuck within his burden eternally.

The story of Sisyphus means attempting the impossible, as well as failure, and can also be used as an example for something that is a repetitive irritation. This can be used as an allusion in many ways (Greek Mythology). Sisyphus was the King of Ephyra in Greek Mythology and helped his city become a profitable centre. He was also known to be a devious and deceptive person. Although he seemed like a hospitable host, he actually killed some of the tourists and visitors to prove that he was a ruthless king (Greek Mythology).

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The gods were very upset and decided to punish Sisyphus by sending him to the underworld, specifically Tartarus, where he was forced to push a boulder up a hill and watch it fall down again and again (Mythweb). If Sisyphus reaches the top he will be granted freedom, but it is unobtainable. (Encyclopedia). Money cannot buy you happiness. The more you accumulate in the pursuit of happiness, the worse you will feel.

The story explains that if Sisyphus can get this boulder up the hill then he will receive freedom and happiness. These two ideas can be compared to one another by allowing the boulder to represent the money that you are spending to try to receive happiness. In this example each time the boulder falls down the hill when he gets to the top can represent the spending money and how no matter how much you spend it will never get you to where you truly would like to be. The bottom of the hill can represent how unhappy you are about not achieving your intentions.

A great example of this is from Barack Obama where he states: If you only think about yourself - how much money can I make, what can I buy, how nice is my house, what kind of fancy car do I have? - over the long term, I think you get bored. I think your life becomes diminished. The way to live a full life is to think: what can I do for others. (Obama) This quote states that if you’re focused on money, than you will become bored, where as happiness is helping others. Fighting is the exercise of sweating, training, and hurting to be the best. Becoming a good fighter takes incredible amounts of physical effort, and discomfort (Irish Times). During the early stages before the Mayweather and Mcgregor fight, Mcgregor trying something new can be compared to the task of Sisyphus. Mcgregor has been training everyday, slowly pushing the rock up the hill. Everyday a fighter finds himself at the bottom of a hill, looking up at an achievement they will have to work to get. Mcgregor says “The more you seek the uncomfortable, the more you will become comfortable” (Mcgregor). This quote relates back to Sisyphus in a way that when things become uncomfortable, perseverance will make it easier. Harvard students feel as though they are able to relate to the idea of a Sisyphean task (The Harvard Crimson). Week after week they can feel the repetitive irritation of their assignments. Constantly pushing a boulder of hard work, and assignments throughout their semester which could result in failure. Camus states in his essay that, “There is scarcely any passion without struggle” (Camus).

This relates to the students that struggle and how they must have the passion in what they are doing to keep trying their best. A sisyphean task in simple terms means, a task that is either very hard, and tiring or attempting the impossible. Living a sisyphean life is a very displeasing life that comes with many struggles, hardships, and impossible times. In this world today, we are all Sisyphus.

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