Study Guide

The Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) Themes

  • Family

    The main theme in the lives of the Dioscuri is family brotherhood. These guys are totally inseparable. From the moment they hatch from their mother's egg, they do everything together: go on epic quests, steal themselves some wives, and even go cattle rustling. Unlike some brothers, there's no sibling rivalry here. Even in the afterlife, Castor and Pollux are together up in the sky where (according to most) they shine forever as the constellation, Gemini. From now until forever, the Dioscuri are always on each other's team.

    Questions About Family

    1. Name all the members of Castor and Pollux's immediate family.
    2. Why do you think the family bond between Castor and Pollux is so strong?
    3. Who else in their family do Castor and Pollux seem to be close to?
    4. How does Castor and Pollux's brotherly bond affect their relationships with others?
    5. What do you think could've put a crack in the Dioscuri's brotherly bond?
  • Mortality

    Castor and Pollux are very similar in a lot of ways. As we point out in the family section, they're practically inseparable. The one major difference between them is that Castor in mortal and Pollux is immortal. Castor is the son of Leda's mortal husband, Tyndareus, while Pollux is the son of Zeus. Amazingly, this difference never seems to cause any tension between the brothers. You'd think Castor would get jealous or something, but nope. In fact, Pollux's immortality leads to a beautiful moment of selfless sacrifice after Castor is mortally wounded. Instead of letting Castor go down into the Underwold, Pollux begs Zeus to let them share his immortality. This selfless act leads to both brothers being given a place in the stars. In a way, the thing that made them different, in the end brings them together forever.

    Questions About Mortality

    1. Does Castor deserve the mortal wound he receives from Idas? Why, or why not?
    2. Why do you think Castor never seems to be jealous of Pollux's immortality?
    3. How would this story be different if both brothers were immortal?