Study Guide

The Story of Atalanta Characters

  • Atalanta

    Atalanta is a super heroine with super skills. Not only is she is an amazing huntress, she's also an awesome wrestler and the one of the fastest runners ever. How can she possibly be as cool as she is? Does she owe it all to the hunters who raised her after her father abandoned her in the woods? Did she get her super powers from bear milk she was nursed on as a baby? (If so, we want some.) Or was born just that awesome?

    Whatever the case, Atalanta holds the position of being one of the very few female warriors in all of Greek mythology (along with the Amazons). The fact that Atalanta lived such an unconventional lifestyle for a woman is one of the main themes of her life.

  • Meleager

    Meleager is pretty much the only dude who's nice to Atalanta. You've got to give it to him for standing up to the rest of the dudes on the Calydonian Boar Hunt. When they don't want Atalanta to go on the hunt because she's a woman, Meleager says, "No way. This chick is an awesome hunter, and she's coming."

    When Meleager's uncles try to take the hide that Atalanta rightfully earned by hitting the boar first with her spear, Meleager killed them for the offense. (A little much, but alright.) Althaea, Meleager's mom, is so ticked that he kills his uncles that she kills him by throwing a magic log on a fire. So, in a way you could say that Meleager gives up his life to stand up for Atalanta. (Oh, how noble.)

    Before you go thinking that Meleager is just a super nice guy or something, we should point out that he may have ulterior motives. Namely that (even though he's married) he totally has the hots for Atalanta. In some versions of the story, Atalanta is super into him as well, but they can't get together because she's taken a vow of chastity. According to some, Meleager was an Argonaut along with Atalanta, and their unrequited love plagued them both for the entire voyage. (Hot.)

  • Hippomenes

    Hippomenes is the sneaky dude who manages to beat Atalanta in a foot race by tossing golden apples on the ground. No, she doesn't trip on them or something; for some reason, she can't help but stop and pick them up. (Which is weird, but whatever.) Not only does Hippomenes mess up Atalanta's undefeated running streak, he also totally messes up her whole life. When he forgets to thanks Aphrodite for lending him those pesky golden apples, the goddess of love punishes him by inflicting him with a bad case of lust. This causes him to get it on with Atalanta in a temple of Zeus (or Cybele in some versions), and as punishment both he and his unlucky wife are turned into lions. So yeah, for Atalanta, Hippomenes was seriously bad news.