Study Guide

Phaeton

  • Introduction

    Try not to get too bummed out. Phaeton's story is the original, unbeatable classic tale of a kid who gets too big for his britches, bites off more than he can chew, and ends up you-know-what-ing the pooch. We've all been there. No matter how much practice you put in, no matter how hard you grit your teeth, you can still miss that game-winning shot and disappoint everybody. At least you don't end up dead. The story of Phaeton will never die because his reckless spirit, that little niggling urge to go nuts and joyride, has proved a hazardous temptress for hundreds of years.

    Instead of throwing our hands up to the heavens and sighing "Boys will be boys!", we ought to look to the sorry story of Phaeton as a cautionary tale. We ought to be able to see a little bit of ourselves in Phaeton and a little bit of Phaeton in ourselves... and that should freak us out enough to scare us straight. That's what makes mythology so neat: we can learn from the great mistakes of the past, however ridiculous and idiotic they may seem, in order to avoid making itty-bitty blunders of our own.

    So strap on your seatbelts, because we're about to soar way up into the sky and ride shotgun with one of the most infamous perps of teenage shenanigans to ever fly under the sun.