Pandora, Cassandra, and who else?
September 27, 2017 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Can you add to this list of mythological representations of human traits: For example : --- Pandora: Curiosity gets her into trouble. --- --- Cassandra: Always right yet never believed.--- --- Narcicus: Wastes his life away admiring himself.--- --- Sisyphus: Endures endless repetition of meaningless tasks---

I'm looking for names that are pretty much synonymous with the trait they represent and traits that are relatively common. For this reason I am not including, for example, Midas and Prometheus . ( Someone else might interpret some of these characters/stories differently than me though ).
posted by metadave to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Judas: the betrayer

I suppose not all would call him mythological.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:21 PM on September 27

Hercules / unparalleled strength
Dionysus / epic party
posted by sestaaak at 12:24 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]

Adonis - woot wooooot! (whistles)
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:32 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]

Icarus - died for his hubris.

Aphrodite - humiliated by her infidelity.
posted by Everydayville at 12:34 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

Well, Mercury gave us "mercurial," though while there's some overlap I'm not so sure it's an entirely direct route from his character traits to the character traits now represented by the word.

Tantalus seems to line up with Sisyphus in your examples.

posted by solotoro at 12:37 PM on September 27

Helen of Troy - Great beauty at great cost.
posted by gideonfrog at 12:45 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

Medea = cold murder
Junoesque is a thing but it isn't a personality trait, it's a queenly, tall and curvy figure

and of course there's Oedipus and Electra for quasi-incestuous obsession with mom and dad respectively!
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:45 PM on September 27

You mean, like Doubting Thomas?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:46 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:55 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]

and Hey there, Delilah...
posted by Mchelly at 1:15 PM on September 27

He's got the Midas touch... turning everything into wealth.
posted by saturngirl at 1:19 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

Prometheus: punished forever for trying to be helpful
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:43 PM on September 27

(Name of god: divine personification of)

Eros: Romantic love
Nemesis: Retribution
Mania: Insanity
The Furies: Revenge/vengeance
Discordia: Strife, discord
Harmonia: Harmony, agreement
The Fates: Destiny
Aether: Air
Mnemosyne: Memory
Hypnos: Sleep
posted by BadgerDoctor at 2:59 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]

Santa Claus: giving
posted by amtho at 3:34 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

Procrustes: A Procrustean bed/analysis/solution. Refers to an Attic bandit who would waylay travelers, tie them to his bed, and either stretch them until they fit or chop off the excess until they did.
posted by bluejayway at 3:35 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

Oedipus = motherfucker

(this is an actual joke in Derek Jarman's Sebastiane)

posted by glasseyes at 4:08 PM on September 27

Mentor: you know, the original/eponymous mentor.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:51 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

Orpheus was a singer who could move stones to tears. But his talent was not quite enough to save the girl he loved. Teared to pieces by adoring fans.
posted by ovvl at 8:23 PM on September 27

Pyrrhic victory - "winning" a battle, but the cost is so great you die of it. Named after Pyrrhus of Epirus.
posted by dancing_angel at 7:41 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]

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