Theogony

by

Hesiod

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Heaven Character Analysis

Heaven is born from Earth during the initial pages of the Theogony, and goes on to father several children with her, including Kronos and Rhea. Like Earth, Heaven is central to the creation myth and is both a place and a character—a mythic substance spanning the entire known world, as well as an individual with a genealogy and a distinct personality. Heaven represents the first iteration of the succession myth, in which sons overthrow their fathers in often bloody and gruesome ways. Heaven and Earth have several children together, known as the Titans. Wary of the threat these children pose to his own continued power, Heaven locks them in a cave with their mother so that they do not have the opportunity to rebel against him. However, vengeful Earth soon plots with her son Kronos to ambush and defeat Heaven, creating a sickle made of adamant to do with job. With Earth’s help, Kronos uses the sickle to castrate and overthrow his father, thereby ending Heaven’s reign over the gods and beginning his own domination. Heaven’s severed genitals and blood generate several new gods and monsters, including Aphrodite. Heaven goes on to help his grandson, Zeus, conspire against Kronos, eventually resulting in Kronos’ downfall.

Heaven Quotes in Theogony

The Theogony quotes below are all either spoken by Heaven or refer to Heaven. 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:
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Theogony published in 2009.
Theogony Quotes

For all those that were born of Earth and Heaven were the most fearsome of children, and their own father loathed them from the beginning. As soon as each of them was born, he hid them all away in a cavern of Earth, and would not let them into the light; and he took pleasure in the wicked work, did Heaven, while the huge Earth was tight-pressed inside, and groaned.

Related Characters: Kronos, Heaven, Earth
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

Great Heaven came, bringing on the night, and, desirous of love, he spread himself over Earth, stretched out in every direction. His son reached out from the ambush with his left hand; with his right he took the huge sickle with its long row of sharp teeth and quickly cut off his father's genitals, and flung them behind him to fly where they might.

Related Characters: Kronos, Heaven, Earth
Related Symbols: The Sickle
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

For he learned from Earth and starry Heaven that it was fated for him to be defeated by his own child, powerful though he was, through the designs of great Zeus. So he kept no blind man's watch, but observed and swallowed his children.

Related Characters: Zeus, Kronos, Heaven, Earth
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Theogony LitChart as a printable PDF.
Theogony PDF

Heaven Character Timeline in Theogony

The timeline below shows where the character Heaven appears in Theogony. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Theogony
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Family and Genealogy Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Earth bears Heaven, and together they have many children, including Kronos, Rhea, and Kottos, Briareos, and Gyges From... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
The Natural and Divine Worlds Theme Icon
Frustrated with Heaven’s cruel treatment, Earth crafts a sickle (a kind of curved sword) of unbreakable adamantine, and... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Family and Genealogy Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Kronos, along with his mother, Earth, sets up an ambush for the next time Heaven comes to visit. When the time comes, Kronos uses the sickle to castrate Heaven, effectively... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Family and Genealogy Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Rhea and Kronos have many children but, fearing the same fate as his father, Heaven, Kronos swallows them back into himself so that they will not threaten his power. Unhappy... (full context)