Gates of Fire

by

Steven Pressfield

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Dekton (“Rooster”) Character Analysis

Dekton is a half-Spartan, the son of Arete’s brother Idotychides, and half-Messenian. He serves the Spartan army as a helot and mightily resents the Spartans. He is an atheist, the only one Xeo has ever met. He marries Harmonia and has two children, one of them a son, Messenieus. He repeatedly proves himself to be a brave warrior and is even offered Spartan citizenship, but refuses, gaining a reputation for treasonous sentiments. Nearly executed for treason on the eve of Thermopylae, he’s turned loose on the Greek frontier instead, thanks to Alexandros’s intervention on his behalf. Arete also reveals that Messenieus is not his son, but Dienekes’s. Later, Dekton reveals valuable information to the Spartans, enabling them to infiltrate the Persian camp and prepare for a Persian sneak attack. He is granted his liberty by Leonidas and, in gratitude, becomes a Spartan warrior himself, later sparing Gobartes’ life.

Dekton (“Rooster”) Quotes in Gates of Fire

The Gates of Fire quotes below are all either spoken by Dekton (“Rooster”) or refer to Dekton (“Rooster”). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of Gates of Fire published in 1998.
Chapter 20 Quotes

“The gods make us love whom we will not,” the lady declared, “and disrequite whom we will. They slay those who should live and spare those who deserve to die. They give with one hand and take with the other, answerable only to their own unknowable laws […] Now, inspired by blind impulse,” she spoke toward me, “I have saved the life of this boy, my brother’s bastard’s son, and lost my husband’s in the process.”

Related Characters: Arete (speaker), Xeones, Dienekes , Dekton (“Rooster”), Iatrokles, Idotychides
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Gates of Fire LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Dekton (“Rooster”) Character Timeline in Gates of Fire

The timeline below shows where the character Dekton (“Rooster”) appears in Gates of Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...their bodies should they fall. As the men begin taking their place on the line, Dekton leads two ceremonial goats to King Leonidas. Alexandros points out that the Antirhionians are so... (full context)
Chapter 12
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
...forced to march in the dusty rear of the army train, along with his friend Dekton, or Rooster. Dekton is half-helot, half-Spartiate, and hates his Spartan masters, so Xeo’s allegiance to... (full context)
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Dekton is the first person Xeo has ever met who doesn’t fear the gods. He doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 13
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Kingship, Loyalty, and Freedom Theme Icon
...she asks him if he’s ever heard of Idotychides. Xeo says that he’s heard that Dekton, or Rooster, is the bastard son of this man, by a Messenian woman. He believes... (full context)
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...treasonous helots disappear. Xeo acknowledges that, given the kinds of treasonous statements he has heard Rooster make, the krypteia would be justified in going after him. Arete suggests that if Xeo... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Arete then surprises Xeo by admitting that the Spartan Idotychides was not only Rooster’s father, but her brother; thus, Rooster is her nephew. This means that, as a bastard... (full context)
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Arete tells Xeo that the krypteia knows about Rooster’s identity and his allegiance. The watch Xeo, too, since he is well-spoken, courageous, and resourceful.... (full context)
Chapter 14
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...gone to Antirhion—Alexandros by his father before the peers, and Xeo, unceremoniously, by a helot. Rooster helps Xeo away and bathes and dresses his wounds. He is well acquainted with such... (full context)
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
The next morning, Suicide, Dienekes’ squire, summons Rooster and Xeo. They’re filled with dread, but Suicide tells them they must be under a... (full context)
Chapter 15
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
...unable to learn her whereabouts. He decides he must uproot his heart’s longing by marrying. Rooster finds him a bride, Rooster’s cousin Thereia, who soon bears Xeo a son and a... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Kingship, Loyalty, and Freedom Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Rooster’s wife, Harmonia, bears a son named Messenieus. Arete assists at the delivery of her grand-nephew.... (full context)
Chapter 16
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...a year after the battle at Antirhion. In a battle between the Spartans and Thebans, Rooster, as Olympieus’ squire, displayed great heroism. During a moment of chaos on the battlefield, Olympieus... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Though Rooster cites his age as the reason (he’s already 15), the Peers are furious, seizing upon... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
On the eve of the proclamation of the Three Hundred, Rooster is again offered the chance to become a Spartan, and again he turns it down.... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Suddenly four krypteia assassins burst into the hut and bind Rooster. Polynikes is one of them. In outrage, he tells Alexandros that his presence there constitutes... (full context)
Chapter 17
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...Dienekes join the other Peers. It quickly becomes clear that Alexandros had tried to persuade Rooster to accept the honor of becoming a Spartan, but, treasonously, had taken no action against... (full context)
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Suddenly, to everyone’s shock, Arete appears in the grove. Ignoring the men’s protests, she seizes Rooster’s infant son and wants to know which hero is going to murder the boy. A... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...agree to enroll him in the agoge the following day. But before they can drag Rooster off to be executed, Alexandros asks to speak. He points out that, given Rooster’s hero... (full context)
Chapter 28
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Back in the Spartan camp, Suicide wakes Xeo before dawn. Rooster has been captured and interrogated as a deserter; he wants to speak to Xeo before... (full context)
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...and turn their energies to resolution for the coming battle. Dienekes returns to Xeo and Rooster and says that he’ll slit his “bastard nephew’s” throat himself. (full context)
Chapter 30
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Leonidas grudgingly spares a party of 11 soldiers to raid Xerxes’ tent. It includes Dienekes, Rooster, Suicide, Alexandros, and Xeo. Rooster, after all, has only been detained, not executed. They’re divided... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Kingship, Loyalty, and Freedom Theme Icon
Leonidas has special words for Rooster, whose family will be emancipated if he dies, including his infant son. Leonidas tells Rooster... (full context)
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...says they’ll come back next fall for a good hunt in this spot, inviting even Rooster.  Soon they meet up with the second squad and discover the track that the Immortals... (full context)
Chapter 34
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Kingship, Loyalty, and Freedom Theme Icon
...and now stand six miles to their rear. Leonidas has dismissed the allies to safety. Rooster, too, is pulling out, eagerly accepting the liberty that Leonidas has granted him. He promises... (full context)
Chapter 38
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
...Spartiate officer. It’s one of the Spartans, in fact, whose names he’d just cried out: Rooster, or Dekton, son of Idotychides. (full context)
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Rooster listens as Gobartes pours out his story, explaining that Xeo’s body was at last carried... (full context)