Study Guide

Phaeton Setting

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Palace of the Sun, The Sky

Palace of the Sun

Probably the most striking setting that Phaeton comes to is Helios's gleaming Palace of the Sun. In some versions, this amazing palace is said to be in India, while in others it's said to be located at the edge of the world, on the shores of Oceanus. Well, to the ancient Greeks, India might as well have been the edge of the world, so take your pick. Wherever it's located, the Palace of the Sun is a fitting home for a sun god. Made of precious metals that beam light, Helios's palace is definitely impressive to his mortal son.

The Sky

After Phaeton ignores his Dad's pleading, he zips about in Helios's sun chariot through the great expanse of the sky. Contrary to what you might think, the sky is full of way more than a bunch of pretty, puffy clouds. In fact, it's a horribly dangerous place. The starry animals of the zodiac loom above, and not all of them are particularly friendly. It gets pretty boring up in the sky, so they're always up for molesting whoever comes by. When Phaeton loses control of his Dad's fiery horses, he zooms too close to the deadly constellation, Scorpio, and is almost stung by the star-monster's venomous tail. Not long after that, Zeus stings the boy with bit of the ol' thunderbolt and his tour of the sky ends unhappily.

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