BECK index

THESEUS

by Sanderson Beck

This screenplay has been published in the book 4 SCREENPLAYS. For ordering information, please click here.

EXTERIOR A MEADOW NEAR TROEZEN - DAY

Super:

About 3,400 years ago
there lived a man
who changed western civilization.
His name was

THESEUS

So begins the titles and credits as we see young THESEUS, who is about 18 years old, wrestling with his tutor, CONNIDAS. They wear only loin cloths. Occasionally Connidas tries to grab the hair on the front of Theseus's head, but it has been cut short.

CONNIDAS
What happened to the hair I used to grab?

THESEUS
I cut it off, so you can't do that anymore.

Eventually after several throws, Theseus pins Connidas down on his back.

CONNIDAS
You've got me, Theseus; I have to give up.

Theseus lets Connidas up, and they walk along together toward Troezen.

CONNIDAS (Continued)
You are too strong for me now and too agile.
When the pupil surpasses his tutor,
what more can I teach you?

THESEUS
Although I admire my cousin Heracles
more than anyone,
I like this new way of fighting.

CONNIDAS
Why do you like it?

THESEUS
For several reasons.
It is less brutal and takes more skill,
and I can win without hurting my opponent.

CONNIDAS
Such thoughts will please
your grandfather, Pittheus.
We must have a talk with him
and your mother, Aethra.

INTERIOR PALACE OF PITTHEUS IN TROEZEN - DAY

The palace is simple but elegant, furnished with chairs of carved wood and stone benches. A large statue of Poseidon is on a pedestal. PITTHEUS and AETHRA are dressed in aristocratic robes. They and Theseus and Connidas are sitting in a small circle.

CONNIDAS
You wanted me to tell you when, in my opinion,
Theseus has grown up to become a man.
I think today is that day,
for I can no longer defeat him in fighting.
He is clearly stronger than I am now,
and he is inventing new tricks faster
than I can teach him my old ones.

AETHRA
Is this so, Theseus?
Are you ready to face the world as a man?

THESEUS
Modesty prevents me
from making claims about myself,
but I do believe I am prepared for any adventure
the gods can throw my way.

PITTHEUS
Be careful, young man;
the gods can hear you.
Don't forget that pride can destroy you
faster than one of Poseidon's earthquakes.

He gestures toward the statue of Poseidon.

AETHRA
Are you sure, son?
This is not like the time
when Heracles threw his lion-skin over that bench
and all the other boys ran away in fright,
but you went out to get an ax from the woodpile.

THESEUS
I know I was just a silly boy then.
But you promised that
when I was grown to manhood
you would tell me what happened to my father.
I know that Poseidon is my spiritual father,
but I want to know about my earthly father.

PITTHEUS
Perhaps it is time.
Will you tell him or shall I?

AETHRA
You tell him, noble Pittheus.

PITTHEUS
Your father is the noble Aegeus.

THESEUS
Aegeus, the King of Athens!?

PITTHEUS
Even he. Your father, being childless,
brought the worship of Aphrodite to Athens
and consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.

THESEUS
What did the Pythian priestess say to him?

PITTHEUS
That he should not loosen the wine-skin foot
until he had returned to Athens.
But on his way home
he met Medea at Corinth,
and she promised to use her magic
to gain him a son,
if he would agree to give her refuge in Athens.

THESEUS
But the terrible Medea is not my mother, is she?

AETHRA
Of course not, dear Theseus; I am your mother.

PITTHEUS
From Corinth Aegeus came here to visit me
and the shrine to Apollo I established here.

AETHRA
Now at that time
I was engaged to marry Bellerophon,
but he had been sent to Caria in disgrace.

PITTHEUS
So when I heard that Aegeus wanted a son
and that he was under the influence of Medea's magic,
I gave him wine
and the companionship of my daughter.

AETHRA
On the same night Athena
appeared to me in a dream
and told me to wade over to the island of Sphaeria
where I dreamed that Poseidon made love to me also.
So when Aegeus went back to Athens,
we told the people that Poseidon is your father.

THESEUS
But why didn't Aegeus marry you
and take us to Athens?

PITTHEUS
He feared the fifty priestesses
and the sons of Pallas
who claim the hereditary right to rule in Athens
and say Aegeus was only
the adopted son of Pandion.

AETHRA
We must go now to the rock.

PITTHEUS
Yes, you are right. The day has finally come.

EXT. A LARGE ROCK ON A PLAIN NEAR TROEZEN - DAY

Aethra, Pittheus, and Connidas stand by as Theseus pushes on the rock, slowly lifting it up to reveal in a hollowed out space a pair of sandals and a sword.

AETHRA
The sword and sandals were put there by Aegeus
with instructions that when you can move the rock,
you are to take those tokens of your father
and proceed to Athens in all secrecy.

PITTHEUS
I can give you a ship to sail to Athens,
for that is the easiest way to travel,
since so many robbers
and murderers are on the roads
now that Heracles is in Asia,
a slave to the Lydian Queen Omphale,
as punishment for the murder of his guest Iphitus.

THESEUS
But now Lydia is enjoying peace and security.
I aim to be like Heracles myself.
Why should I fear to travel by land
and face a few solitary criminals?

PITTHEUS
Let me give you some idea
of what I'm talking about.
At Epidaurus is Periphetes with a bronze club,
and if you get past him, at the isthmus
you'll likely meet Sinis, the bender of pines
who sets men flying when the pine is released,
or sometimes he uses two pines
to tear a man in half.
Then on the rocks of Megara is Sciron,
who has a habit of kicking people off the cliff.
Or maybe you'd like to fight with Cercyon
who crushes people to death in his embrace.
Then there is Procrustes who offers hospitality.
If you're too tall for his bed,
he cuts off your feet;
and if the bed is too long, he stretches you out.
Do you still want to go by land?

THESEUS
Yes, now more than ever.
This is my chance to gain a reputation like Heracles.
I would consider it dishonorable to run away
from adventures which my cousin Heracles seeks out.
This land needs to be cleared of these evil men,
and should I disgrace my father's noble name
by fleeing in the cowardly way by sea?
No, I must prove the greatness of my birth
by showing I am worthy of the sword and sandals.

PITTHEUS
Are you looking for trouble?

THESEUS
No, but I am not afraid to meet it.
I will not hurt anyone unless they try to hurt me.
If I am truly a man as of today,
I must decide for myself which way I am to go.

PITTHEUS
So be it.

AETHRA
And may the gods protect you, my son.
Now I must also tell you that your father Poseidon
will grant you three wishes during your life;
so be very careful what you pray for,
since the god of the sea is very powerful.

THESEUS
Thank you, mother;
I will not forget you.

Theseus hugs Aethra.

EXT. ROAD NEAR EPIDAURUS - DAY

Theseus is walking along the road wearing his new sandals and sword. As he turns a corner around the side of a mountain, he finds PERIPHETES sitting beside the road with a large club that is plated with brass. Periphetes stands up and walks to the center of the road facing Theseus.

PERIPHETES
Stop right there, young man.
Where do you think you're going?

THESEUS
I am on my way to the city of Athens.

PERIPHETES
Don't you know that
it's dangerous to travel alone?

THESEUS
I think I can take care of myself.

PERIPHETES
Oh you can, can you?
My club might have something to say about that.
Of course you could always use that noble sword.

THESEUS
I only want to pass you by, not fight with you.

PERIPHETES
Then if you'll just hand over the sword,
I'll be glad to let you go on your way to Athens.

THESEUS
I must tell you that
I'm opposed to highway robbery.
But to show you I'm not afraid of you,
I'll fight you and your club without the sword
if you will not let me pass peacefully.

PERIPHETES
Just try to get by me.

Theseus walks forward, and Periphetes raise his club as though to strike him. Theseus tosses his sword aside, which distracts Periphetes momentarily allowing Theseus to move in and gain a wrestling hold on him. Then Theseus throws him to the ground, and Periphetes lets go of the club. Theseus picks up the club.

THESEUS
Now will you let me pass?

PERIPHETES
No one has taken my club before.
Now I will kill you.

THESEUS
I didn't want to harm you,
but you leave me no choice
but to treat you as you have treated others.
Yet I disdain to kill you
in such an unfair fight.
Therefore pick up the sword
and defend yourself.

Periphetes grabs the sword and runs at Theseus. Theseus dodges the sword and delivers a crushing blow to Periphetes's head with the club, killing him instantly. Theseus checks to see that he is dead, looks at the club, picks up the sword, and continues on his way with both.

EXT. ROAD NEAR THE ISTHMUS - DAY

Here the sea can be seen on both sides of the road, but at the edge of a stand of pine trees stands SINIS. As Theseus approaches, Sinis calls to him.

SINIS
No one crosses this isthmus
without my permission.

THESEUS
Then I would humbly ask you
for that permission.

SINIS
Come over here, and help me bend this tree.
That's some club you have there.

THESEUS
I took it from a fool who abused people with it.

SINIS
That looks like brass.

THESEUS
Yes, I would say it is brass.

SINIS
Now as I pull this branch down,
you put your body over the main part to hold it.

Theseus reaches over, but at the last minute pushes Sinis into the position he was trying to maneuver Theseus to take.

THESEUS
Do you take me for a fool too?

Theseus releases the bent pine, and Sinis goes flying several feet into the air. When Sinis lands, he injures his leg.

SINIS
What did you do that for?

THESEUS
Ask yourself that question.
I only did to you what you've done to others.

SINIS
Because of your overweening arrogance
I will tear you into two parts.

Sinis attacks Theseus, but he is wrestled to the ground and knocked unconscious by Theseus. Theseus ties one of the ankles of Sinis to the top of a pine tree. Then he pulls down the other tree and ties the rope on that one, apparently used by Sinis before, to his other ankle. Then he lets go of both trees. A woman's scream is heard, and a beautiful young woman, PERIGUNE, starts to run away through the bushes. Theseus sees her and follows her into the brush. As she enters an asparagus patch, she utters a prayer.

PERIGUNE
O sacred asparagus, protect me now,
and I will never cut you down or burn you.

THESEUS
Fair maiden, you need have no fear of me.
I will not hurt you in any way.

PERIGUNE
That was my father you just killed,
although I suppose he deserved it.

Theseus slowly moves closer and joins her in the midst of the asparagus.

THESEUS
You're so beautiful that I wish I'd let him live.

PERIGUNE
Then you will not force yourself on me.

THESEUS
No, I would never do that.
I was taught by my grandfather, Pittheus,
to respect the freedom of every person.
What is your name?

PERIGUNE
Perigune. Do you like me?

THESEUS
Oh yes,
I have never seen anyone so beautiful before.

PERIGUNE
You do seem quite young.
Have you ever been with a woman?

THESEUS
No, so far my life has been quite chaste.

PERIGUNE
Do you know the difference
between a boy and a man?

THESEUS
I am learning as quickly as I can.
I can see that you are no longer a girl
but certainly have become a woman.

PERIGUNE
They say that asparagus is like a man.
Do you see how the edible part
springs from the earth?
When a man is excited by a woman,
he springs forth also.

As she is saying this, Perigune removes her dress, which is all that she is wearing.

THESEUS
Yes, I see what you mean.
I am springing forth now myself.

Theseus embraces Perigune, and they begin to make love in the asparagus patch.

DISSOLVE TO:

Theseus is standing up to go.

THESEUS
I must be on my way, dear Perigune.

PERIGUNE
So soon. What's your hurry?

THESEUS
I am on my way to Athens;
I am ridding this area of menacing criminals
I happen to meet on the roadway.

PERIGUNE
You certainly must defend yourself against them.

THESEUS
People may think I only fight them from necessity.
I should go out of my way to do a heroic deed.
Do you know of any danger or problem
I could alleviate around here?

PERIGUNE
There is a savage boar who terrorizes Crommyon.
She is called the Crommyonian sow.

Theseus kneels down and kisses Perigune.

THESEUS
Thank you, Perigune;
that is a noble challenge.
If you a bear a child, I will help you;
and don't forget to honor always the asparagus.

He kisses her again and then departs.

EXT. THE WOODS OF CROMMYON - DAY

A ferocious boar attacks a family's dwelling, injuring a LITTLE GIRL and killing a lamb. Theseus approaching sees this and chases the boar into the woods. Finally cornering it, the boar attacks him. After a difficult fight Theseus kills it with his brass club.

EXT. A CLIFF ABOVE THE SEA NEAR MEGARA - DAY

SCIRON sitting on the edge of a precipice calls to Theseus who is approaching.

SCIRON
Young man, come here and wash my feet.

Theseus sits on a small stool on the edge of the cliff, and taking the bowl of water begins to wash Sciron's feet with a cloth. However, he is on his guard and keeps his weight on the balls of his feet, rather than on the stool. When Sciron tries to kick him over the cliff, Theseus shifts his weight aside so that the kick misses; and with a little push from Theseus, Sciron tumbles over the cliff.

EXT. THE ROAD NEAR ELEUSIS - DAY

As people watch, Theseus takes on the barrel-chested CERCYON in a wrestling match. The fight is quite even, and at one point it looks as though Cercyon might crush Theseus in his arms, but he slips out and throws Cercyon to the ground with such force that he loses consciousness.

THESEUS
Now he won't bully the people of Eleusis anymore.

INT. A PRIMITIVE CABIN - NIGHT

PROCRUSTES shows Theseus a room that has two beds, one rather short and the other rather long.

PROCRUSTES
I give you your choice of beds for the night.

THESEUS
Not wanting to give up my feet,
I think I'll take the long one.

PROCRUSTES
But I don't think you're tall enough, Theseus.
Don't you think a person should fit the bed?

THESEUS
No, actually I have a different idea.
I think the bed should be made to fit the person.
Tell me, Procrustes, why do you injure
the people who come to stay with you?
Don't you respect the Greek custom
of offering hospitality to strangers?

PROCRUSTES
That is just the problem for me.
Travelers are always stopping here
expecting me to give them food and lodging.
So instead of my having to take pains for them,
I have gained a reputation for giving pain.
This has reduced
the number of people stopping here.

THESEUS
I'm not surprised,
but don't you ever get lonely?

PROCRUSTES
Look, just lay down on the bed,
and I'll stretch you out to fit it.

Theseus puts down his sword and club, laying down on the long bed. As Procrustes tries to clamp a board over his ankles, Theseus begins to wrestle with him. Soon Procrustes has his ankles clamped, and Theseus is pulling on his shoulders.

THESEUS
Now is this any way to treat strangers?

PROCRUSTES
No. Please stop. I won't do it anymore.

THESEUS
You have killed many and deserve no less.
But to see if you will keep your promise,
I will just disable your right arm.

Theseus pulls the right shoulder of Procrustes out of its socket.

PROCRUSTES
Augh! Have mercy on me, Theseus.

THESEUS
You have mercy on those who come here.
If I hear of your killing anyone else,
I will come back and kill you myself.

EXT. RIVERSIDE WITH AN ALTAR TO ZEUS - DAY

Theseus is bathing in the river as the THREE SONS OF PHYTALUS watch. A PRIEST OF ZEUS is praying at the altar.

THESEUS
I need this purification before entering Athens,
for I have encountered evil men on the road
and have had to commit several acts of violence.
O majestic Zeus, king of the gods,
hear my prayer
and wash me clean of that foulness.

Theseus emerges from the river and prays before the altar.

PRIEST OF ZEUS
May the gods forgive you,
Theseus, for those deeds,
especially for the killing of Sinis,
who was related to your grandfather Pittheus.

THESEUS
I didn't know it at the time.

PRIEST OF ZEUS
Sins may be committed in ignorance;
we still must be purged of them all.

THESEUS
I am penitent and ask the gods for release.

As Theseus stands up and walks away from the altar, the Phytalids present him with a robe to wear.

FIRST SON OF PHYTALUS
Come, noble Theseus, and dine with us.
There still are Greeks who offer hospitality.

EXT. THE DOLPHIN TEMPLE OF APOLLO IN ATHENS - DAY

Theseus, wearing the long robe and having his hair nicely plaited
in back, walks toward the temple. Several MASONS are working on finishing the roof. One of them calls to Theseus in derision.

FIRST MASON
Fair maiden,
why do you come here unescorted?

The masons laugh at him. Theseus walks over to the oxen yoked to their cart, grabs the horns of one of them and wrestles it to the ground.

THESEUS
Let this be a sign to you of my promise
to bring the wild bull of Marathon
here for sacrifice.

The masons look at each other, but can say nothing. Theseus enters the temple.

INT. DELPHINIUM TEMPLE IN ATHENS - DAY

Theseus walks in and notices that there are several statues of goddesses. A boy, MEDUS, is playing in the portico. Theseus speaks to him.

THESEUS
Boy, is it true,
King Aegeus lives in this temple?

MEDUS
Yes, he is my father.

THESEUS
Please tell him that I would like to see him.


Medus runs inside the temple. Theseus examines some of the statues until the Queen MEDEA comes into this entry area.

MEDEA
Who is it that wishes to speak to the king?

THESEUS
You must be Medea, the queen.
My name is Theseus,
and I have come from Troezen.

MEDEA
Ah yes, I have heard of your heroic deeds.
Why do you want to see Aegeus?

THESEUS
It is personal; I have a surprise for him.

MEDEA
Come back in an hour,
and you may dine with us.

THESEUS
Very well.

Theseus goes out, and we follow Medea into one of the inner rooms where she locates AEGEUS.

MEDEA
Noble Aegeus, a very great danger threatens us.

AEGEUS
My dear queen, what could be so urgent?

MEDEA
A young man has arrived in Athens
who intends to overthrow our rule.

AEGEUS
How do you know this?

MEDEA
Do you remember my telling you
about all the omens
I have seen indicating this danger?

AEGEUS
The warnings of the goddesses?

MEDEA
Yes. This man has already killed several people.
He wants to be some kind of a Heracles.
I feel great foreboding of imminent disaster
if we do not act swiftly and strongly.

AEGEUS
What are you suggesting?

MEDEA
I have invited him to our banquet today.
Let me add a poisonous herb to his wine.

AEGEUS
My dear Medea, you are so suspicious.

Medea supplicates Aegeus on her knees.

MEDEA
Please, I beg you, dear husband.
You must be guided by me on this.
Have I not produced a son for you?

AEGEUS
Ah yes, I cannot deny it.
But there are so many factions in our city.

MEDEA
That is why we must be on our guard
and take no chances, or we are doomed.

AEGEUS
You seem to know more than I.
Pray some more about this
and then do what you think is best.

INT. BANQUET ROOM IN THE DELPHINIUM TEMPLE - AFTERNOON

A lavish banquet has been set for about twenty people. At one end of the table sits Medea and her PRIESTESSES, at the other is Aegeus and his ADVISORS. In the middle is Medus and Theseus. As the wine is served from another table, Medea goes over there and takes a special goblet to Theseus.

MEDEA
And we give the largest cup of wine
to our honored hero, the new Heracles.

THESEUS
Is this wine mixed with water?

MEDEA
Of course, but I've added a little spice.

TWO SERVANTS carry in a spit of roast beef on a large platter, placing it on the serving table.

THESEUS
As a token of my promise
to capture the Marathon bull,
please allow me to carve the roast.

Theseus pulls out his sword and walks to the serving table. Medea follows him with his cup.

MEDEA
Please drink a toast to that feat first.

Aegeus notices something about the sword and gets up and walks over to look at it more closely, just as Theseus is about to drink.

AEGEUS
Just a moment.
Let me see that sword.
Look, here are the Erechtheid serpents on the hilt.
Where did you get this sword?

THESEUS
Now I am found out, King Aegeus.
For many years it was hidden
under a rock in Troezen.
I only uncovered it
and these sandals a few days ago.

AEGEUS
And who is your mother?

THESEUS
The noble Aethra, daughter of Pittheus.

AEGEUS
Then you are my son!

Aegeus suddenly knocks down the cup Theseus has been holding up, spilling the wine on the floor.

THESEUS
Yes, father, I am Theseus.

MEDEA
We are ruined!

Medea shrieks and with her son runs quickly out of the room.

AEGEUS
People of Athens,
know that this is my son Theseus,
and I now declare that
he is my heir and crown prince.

All of the men cheer and pound the table, but the priestesses silently retreat.

THESEUS
Thank you, father; I shall do my best.

AEGEUS
Now we truly have something to celebrate.

THESEUS
Why did you spill my wine?

AEGEUS
It was poisoned by the suspicious Medea.

THESEUS
Then she almost killed me.
I must go after her.

AEGEUS
Leave her, my son.
Bring another cup for the noble Theseus.

INT. AEGEUS' ROOM IN THE DELPHINIUM TEMPLE - AFTERNOON

Medea is talking with Aegeus.

MEDEA
So far I have eluded Theseus
by casting a magic cloud around myself,
but I still fear his vengeance.
Please give me some guards for protection.

AEGEUS
We cannot live here this way.
You must go into exile again,
and I will provide guards to escort you.

MEDEA
Then I will take my son, Medus,
and I prophesy that some day his descendants
will return and challenge the power of Athens.

AEGEUS
I cannot help that.
Go quickly, before he finds you.

Medea looks hard at Aegeus and then goes out.

INT. DELPHINIUM TEMPLE - DAY

Theseus receives LEOS.

LEOS
The priestesses of Pallas Athena are very upset.
They say you will not respect the Goddess
but change the religious practices of the city.
The completion of this temple of the Dolphin
will soon be dedicated to Poseidon,
whom you claim is your spiritual father.

THESEUS
Yes, I realize that things are changing,
but the rule of kings is not new;
no longer are they sacrificed to the Earth Mother.
Is that all you have come to tell me?
I have heard that Pallas and his sons
are marching against us from Sphettus.
Do you know anything more about this?

LEOS
Yes, Theseus; they divided their forces in half,
and I have come to warn you of an ambush
by the Pallantids in the village of Gargettus.

THESEUS
You have done well and will be rewarded.
We shall attack them at Gargettus.

EXT. VILLAGE OF GARGETTUS - DAY

Theseus and his WARRIORS attack the PALLANTIDS and eventually defeat them.

INT. AEGEUS'S ROOM IN THE DELPHINIUM TEMPLE - DAY

Theseus reports to Aegeus.

THESEUS
Father, the rebellion against is over.
After we defeated the Pallantids at Gargettus,
those with their father dispersed and fled.

AEGEUS
That is great news, my son.
Now our kingdom will be safe.

THESEUS
Not yet;
I have heard that a wild bull of Marathon
has killed many people in the four cities there.
I promised to sacrifice this beast to Poseidon.

AEGEUS
Ah, such is the energy of youth.
May Poseidon watch over you, my son.

EXT. HILLS OF MARATHON - MORNING

The old spinster HECALE bids Theseus farewell as he leaves her cottage.

HECALE
Good luck to you, my dear little Theseus.
I have vowed to sacrifice a ram to Zeus
if you can get rid of that terrible bull.

THESEUS
Have no fear, dear Hecale,
and thank you again.
Look, that must be the bull, isn't it?

HECALE
Yes, that is him. I must go in.

She runs into her cottage, as Theseus takes off after the bull. In a montage of scenes we see Theseus trying to tame the bull by taking its horns. He is thrown many times, but eventually he is able to tame the beast and lead it by a rope back to Athens.

INT. AEGEUS' ROOM IN THE DELPHINIUM TEMPLE - DAY

Aegeus and Theseus relax and talk.

AEGEUS
You have done well to bring the bull of Marathon
to be sacrificed here to the goddess Athena.

THESEUS
I understand that bull was brought from Crete
to the plain of Argos by the great Heracles
and that it killed hundreds of people.

AEGEUS
Yes, and one of those killed was Androgeos,
the son of Minos, the great King of Knossos.
So Minos attacked us with his powerful ships,
but not only that, our land was devastated
by drought, famine, and plague.

THESEUS
Did you propitiate the gods and goddesses?

AEGEUS
Yes, the oracle told us to appease King Minos.
So we agreed to send to him every ninth year,
that is every ninety-ninth month, a tribute
of seven virgins and seven youths selected by lot.

THESEUS
For what purpose go they to the island of Crete?
Are they hostages?

AEGEUS
We've heard they're taken into a great labyrinth
and sacrificed to the Minotaur, a monstrous bull,
but we really don't know any more than that.
Now the tribute is due for the third time.
All those living in our city
between the ages of fourteen and twenty-two
must come to the law-court for the lottery tomorrow,
but I have excluded you, my son, from this.

THESEUS
No, father, that is not fair.
Already I am resented in this city as an outsider
and the son of a woman whom you never married.
If I am to rule well here after you are gone,
I must be respected by all the people.
I will volunteer to be one of the youths,
and let the others be chosen by lottery.

AEGEUS
But if you do this, I may never see you again.

THESEUS
Don't you see, I must, father.
Perhaps I can negotiate with King Minos
a better treaty than this desperate tribute.
Let me also substitute two other volunteers
whom I'll instruct to take warm baths, avoid sunshine,
and perfume their bodies and hair with unguent oils
so that they may be taken for virgin girls.
Don't worry, father, we'll find a way to escape,
and I shall then return to a city
that will no longer be dominated by a foreign power.

AEGEUS
I shall pray that it be so.

EXT. HARBOR NEAR ATHENS - MORNING

Theseus and the FIVE VIRGINS and TWO EFFEMINATE YOUTHS wearing dresses, and the other SIX YOUTHS are boarding the ship with the black sail. Aegeus presents Theseus with a red sail.

AEGEUS
Prince Theseus, I give you this red sail
so that when you return safely to us
the deathly black sail may be put away,
and when the ship arrives we may know
whether you are still alive or not.

THESEUS
Thank you, father.

AEGEUS
Remember the oracle of Apollo has advised you
to take Aphrodite, the great Goddess of Love,
as your companion and guide on this venture.

THESEUS
We sacrificed a goat to Aphrodite yesterday,
and the priestess saw an extraordinary omen:
how the she-goat when dying became a male.

AEGEUS
The ways of the gods
are beyond our comprehension.

THESEUS
Yes, and the ways of the goddesses too.

AEGEUS
Farewell.

Theseus gets into the boat, and they cast off.

EXT. HARBOR NEAR KNOSSOS - DAY

KING MINOS arrives in a chariot to inspect the seven virgins and seven youths who are still in the boat on the shore surrounded by GUARDS.

MINOS
Let's see what the Athenians
have sent us this time.
I am King Minos,
and I welcome you to Knossos.

He enters the boat and examines them, noticing that the two effeminate youths seem somehow different from the other virgins.

MINOS (Cont'd)
These two seem to have grown
but not developed into women
after Aphrodite's fashion.

THESEUS
Everyone cannot be equally beautiful.

Minos glances at Theseus but quickly turns his particular attention to PERIBOEA, the most beautiful of the virgins.

MINOS
But here is one who is worthy of Aphrodite!
In our country women do not cover their breasts.

He pulls her dress off her shoulders and down to her waist.

THESEUS
Even though you may be king here,
I must protest this treatment of a fair virgin.

MINOS
By what authority do you protest, young man?

THESEUS
It is my duty as Poseidon's son to protect virgins
from outrageous attacks by tyrants.

MINOS (Laughing)
Is that so? It seems to me that Poseidon himself
never let respect for virginity stand in his way
when a fair maiden attracted his pleasure.
Besides, I am the son of Zeus, king of the gods,
and I am king here on the island of Crete.

THESEUS
Nonetheless I am Theseus, son of King Aegeus,
and I will not let you mistreat her.

MINOS
How many fathers do you have?
Make up your mind.
Did Poseidon or Aegeus impregnate your mother?

THESEUS
Poseidon is my heavenly father,
Aegeus my earthly one.

MINOS
Then prove yourself a son of Poseidon
by retrieving this ring from his watery realm.

Minos takes a golden signet ring off his finger and throws it into the sea.

THESEUS
O Poseidon, hear my prayer now.

Theseus then dives into the sea and swimming under water finds the ring. As he returns to the surface, some translucent seaweed is wrapped around his head, giving the appearance of a crown. He climbs back into the boat and shows the ring to Minos.

MINOS
Poseidon seems to have crowned him as well.
At least you've proven to be a good diver.
You may keep the ring; it's a gift.
Take them to the labyrinth for their training.

Minos disembarks, and the guards begin to escort the fourteen as prisoners.

EXT. LABYRINTH PALACE - DAY

The Athenian prisoners are in awe of the large labyrinthine palace they are approaching as they pass by an arena Minos points to.

MINOS
That is where you will perform for us,
if you live.

INT. LABYRINTH COURT - DAY

They pass through the large open court in the center of the palace.

MINOS (Cont'd.)
We invite you to join our great year festivities,
which begin this evening. Take them below.

While Minos exits another way, the guards lead the prisoners down some stairs and through a complicated maze of hallways and stairs before they are deposited in windowless rooms, one for the females and one for the males. The GUARD CAPTAIN orders them.

GUARD CAPTAIN
You will stay in these rooms
until we come for you.
Anyone who leaves without permission
will be killed.

INT. LABYRINTH COURT - EVENING

Tables are arranged in a large U, with the seven youths on one side, the seven supposed virgins on the other, and Minos and his royal family in the center. With Minos is his wife PASIPHAE, his brother RHADAMANTHUS, and his daughters ARIADNE, who is about 20, and PHAEDRA, who is about 15. While they are banqueting, SEVEN CRETAN WOMEN are performing a folk dance. They, like Pasiphae, Ariadne and Phaedra, are wearing beautiful flounce dresses that are formed around the exposed breasts and include short sleeves. Theseus is at the end of the row nearest to Ariadne and Phaedra. Ariadne speaks to Theseus.

ARIADNE
I understand my father gave you a ring today.

Theseus holds up his hand to show her the ring.

THESEUS
Yes, your father and my father, Poseidon.

ARIADNE
Do you really think Poseidon is your father?

THESEUS
Do you think Zeus is your grandfather?

PHAEDRA
Everyone knows all the greatest gods and goddesses
were born here on the island of Crete.

THESEUS
They may have been born in your land,
but they don't necessarily stay here.

ARIADNE
My name is Ariadne.

PHAEDRA
And I am Phaedra.

THESEUS
I am honored by both princesses then.
This is quite a dance.
I particularly admire the dresses.

ARIADNE
We are proud of being women
and don't mind showing it.

THESEUS
Well, where would we be without women?

PHAEDRA
Our uncle Rhadamanthus has just visited the gods
in the cave where Zeus is said to have been born.

ARIADNE
Rhadamanthus is the judge over all our people,
and he consults the gods once every great year;
but he told me all the great gods and goddesses
really come from the lost continent of Atlantis.

THESEUS
Atlantis was destroyed hundreds of generations ago.

ARIADNE
Yes, but some of us still know its secrets.
The architect of this palace, for example,
Daedalus, who comes from your city of Athens,
is working on flying, as the Atlanteans did.

THESEUS
Flying? Like a bird?

ARIADNE
Why not?
With knowledge we can master this world.

THESEUS
Yes, but can we learn
to get along with each other?

ARIADNE
It's a bull you're going to have to get along with.

THESEUS
I'm not afraid of a stupid bull.
It's people who are dangerous.

EXT. ARENA IN KNOSSOS - DAY

Theseus and the other thirteen Athenians are being trained to do acrobatics with the bull, such as grabbing the horns and doing a somersault on its back before leaping to be caught by another member of the team.

EXT. A TREE NEAR KNOSSOS - DAY

Phaedra is sitting on a swing seat, as Ariadne pushes her so that she swings back and forth.

PHAEDRA
You like Theseus, don't you, Ariadne?

ARIADNE
He does seem to have
some extraordinary qualities.

PHAEDRA
Well, I certainly like him.

ARIADNE
Phaedra, you are too young to think of marriage.

PHAEDRA
There is no one here who compares with him.
Certainly not the monstrous Asterion,
whom Taurus would like to marry to you or me.

ARIADNE
Why should we marry a brother like the Egyptians?

PHAEDRA
He may be our mother's son,
but I don't think he came from our father's seed.

ARIADNE
You are right about that, little sister.
Why do you think he looks so much like Taurus?
And why is he always kept hidden in the labyrinth?

PHAEDRA
You know that if we are not careful,
our mother may make one of us marry him.

ARIADNE
Not me, I'd run off with an Athenian slave
before I'd marry that monster.

EXT. ARENA IN KNOSSOS - DAY

The Athenians are still practicing with the bull, when TAURUS enters the ring and comes up to them.

TAURUS
You Athenians are progressing well
in your training.
Tomorrow you will perform for us.
Following that, there will be contests,
and then you will be auctioned off as slaves.

THESEUS
Who are you?
and why do you make us slaves?

TAURUS
I am Taurus;
I am in charge of the bull sports.
You are sent to us as a punishment,
because Athenians were responsible
for the death of our prince Androgeus.

THESEUS
It is not just to punish an entire tribe
for the crimes of some individuals.
I'd like to speak to Rhadamanthus about this.

TAURUS
Oh, you would, would you?
Let's see how you perform tomorrow first.

INT. LABYRINTH HALLWAY - NIGHT

Ariadne carries a lamp through the hallway. Outside the door of the male Athenians' room she confronts three armed guards.

ARIADNE
The King wants to speak to Theseus.
He is to come with me.

One guard goes into the room and comes out with Theseus.

FIRST GUARD
Here he is.

ARIADNE
Theseus, you will follow me.

Ariadne leads Theseus through the hallways up the stairs and finally into the throne room.

INT. THRONE ROOM - NIGHT

Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Pasiphae are seated. Ariadne sits on the side, as Theseus takes a seat in the center on a bench facing the throne.

MINOS
Welcome, Theseus;
please sit down.
We've heard you complained
about being sold here.

PASIPHAE
Has the food not been adequate or to your taste?

THESEUS
Your food is fine.

MINOS
Are you not happy living here in our palace?

THESEUS
I could never be happy as a slave, King Minos.
I am sorry that your son was killed by the bull,
but that same bull has since been captured by me
and sacrificed to Athena, the goddess of our city.

MINOS
So you think we should end this tribute you give us?

THESEUS
Yes, why can't we all live in mutual respect?

RHADAMANTHUS
Are you empowered by your father, King Aegeus,
to negotiate a new treaty with us?

THESEUS
Yes, as crown prince, I certainly am.

MINOS
We don't want a war any more than you do.
Would you be willing to agree not to arm ships
or sail any with a crew larger than five?

THESEUS
Are we to be defenseless against criminal pirates?

MINOS
No, I have already been working on that problem.
I have commissioned Jason and his argonauts
to rid the seas of such dangerous lawbreakers.

THESEUS
Then with the exception of Jason's ship
are you willing to agree to the same conditions?

MINOS
I will. We want to live in peace.

THESEUS
And what about my fellow Athenian prisoners?

MINOS
It's already announced
they are to be sold as slaves.

RHADAMANTHUS
Some rich people are eager to acquire them.

THESEUS
Is that your idea of justice?

RHADAMANTHUS
It is the result of an agreed upon treaty.

THESEUS
But I thought we were negotiating a new treaty.

MINOS
We are, but that is not included.
However, I will grant you your freedom,
if you survive in the arena tomorrow.

Theseus is thinking of protesting again, but he catches the eye of Ariadne, who seems to be saying by her expression that he should not push it anymore just then.

THESEUS
Then we have a new agreement.

MINOS
I had a feeling you would be reasonable, Theseus.
May the gods be with you in the arena tomorrow.

Theseus and Ariadne get up and leave the room.

INT. LABYRINTH HALLWAY - NIGHT

Ariadne again leads Theseus with a lamp, but before returning to the guard room, they go into her room.

INT. ARIADNE'S ROOM - NIGHT

Ariadne places the lamp on a table and sits down with Theseus on her couch.

ARIADNE
Please sit with me, Theseus;
I want to talk with you.
You did well in the negotiation.
I know you want your compatriots' freedom,
but you were wise not to insist upon it yet.

THESEUS
But how can I free them and escape from here?

ARIADNE
I will help you.
Do you trust me?

THESEUS
As long as you are helping me, of course.

ARIADNE
Tomorrow I will give you
a clue of thread to unwind
so that you can find your way out of the labyrinth
after you have freed the Athenian prisoners.
Are you willing to help me and my father?
This is a very dangerous time for us.

THESEUS
If it is right, certainly I will do all I can.

ARIADNE
You know the trainer, Taurus, don't you?

THESEUS
Yes, and I don't like him.

ARIADNE
Few do, but he has become very powerful,
first by winning all the contests
and then by becoming my mother's lover.
He is surely the father of her son Asterion,
and now I'm afraid they are plotting to kill Minos
and make Asterion king of Knossos.

THESEUS
But what about Rhadamanthus?

ARIADNE
He is the supreme judge and rules in Phaistos,
but he could not gain power here in Knossos.

THESEUS
What do you think I can do?

ARIADNE
I've heard you have a new way of fighting.
If you could defeat Taurus tomorrow,
his reputation would be greatly weakened.
But the real danger is the monstrous Asterion.

THESEUS
What do you mean by monstrous?

ARIADNE
He is deformed both physically and morally,
so much so that he is kept hidden in this labyrinth,
spending his time in acts of depravity
with whores of both sexes and even some animals.

THESEUS
But how could he ever rule as a king?

ARIADNE
That is just the point: he couldn't.
So Taurus and Pasiphae would hold the power.

THESEUS
Does your mother really want this?

ARIADNE
She is in love with Taurus and would go along,
but if you could defeat Taurus and slay Asterion,
I think she would be happy with my father.

THESEUS
Will I be allowed to challenge Taurus in the arena?

ARIADNE
Yes, because he is the reigning champion,
and besides, my father hates him and likes you;
although I must say,
I think I like you even more.

Ariadne puts her arms around Theseus, and he responds to her embrace.

THESEUS
You are quite a woman, Ariadne.

ARIADNE
Then will you take me with you
and make me your queen?

THESEUS
But if Asterion is killed,
you could be queen here.

ARIADNE
Yes, but I'd rather be with you.

THESEUS
And I would like to have you,
but before going into all this,
I want to talk with Rhadamanthus.
Could you take me to see him tonight?

ARIADNE
I will, but before we do that,
will you give me one more passionate kiss?

THESEUS
I will, with pleasure.

They kiss passionately.

INT. ROOM OF RHADAMANTHUS - NIGHT

Theseus is talking with Rhadamanthus, as Ariadne listens at one side.

THESEUS
Then you have no objection to our plan?

RHADAMANTHUS
I stand for the law and justice,
but so far any attempt to bring Asterion to justice
for his many crimes has been thwarted by Pasiphae.
The gods told me that someone would come to bring
a new form of lawmaking and more equal justice.
I believe that you may be that person, Theseus.

ARIADNE
I am sure he is, uncle.
I have had dreams.

RHADAMANTHUS
I have had dreams too,
that tribes will cooperate
in larger and larger groups until eventually
all the people will follow the same laws of justice.

THESEUS
But who will make those laws?

RHADAMANTHUS
The people themselves will meet together to decide.
That is what you will begin in Athens,
and it will spread throughout Greece and the world.

THESEUS
But I am to be king;
kings have always ruled
since people have gathered into cities.

RHADAMANTHUS
Yes, but here we found that it is better
if the one enforcing the laws is different
from the one who is judging the lawbreakers.

THESEUS
So King Minos rules and you judge.

RHADAMANTHUS
Yes, but you are the one
who will trust the people
to think and discuss things in assemblies.

THESEUS
That is not new;
that is the old tribal way.

RHADAMANTHUS
But you will unite the tribes under one law.

THESEUS
How can I do that?

RHADAMANTHUS
By having each local group send an emissary
to a larger council of lawmakers.

THESEUS
So will they make the laws instead of the king?

RHADAMANTHUS
Yes, because look what happens to the state
if the king is corrupt or arrogant,
as kings often tend to be.

THESEUS
But an assembly of people can be just as foolish.

RHADAMANTHUS
They can, but it is much less likely.

THESEUS
Why are you telling me all this?

RHADAMANTHUS
Because the gods have instructed me to do so.

THESEUS
Thank you.
I will not forget what you have said.

Theseus and Ariadne go out.

INT. ARIADNE'S ROOM - NIGHT

Ariadne leads Theseus to her couch.

ARIADNE
Please Theseus, I can wait no longer.
I want to enjoy your body.

THESEUS
I too would like to make love to you,
and I was told to respect Aphrodite
above all the gods while on this expedition.
So I don't see why we shouldn't celebrate love.

They undress each other and make love.

EXT. KNOSSOS ARENA - DAY

Theseus and the thirteen other Athenians are performing with a bull in the ring. This bull is much more wild and ferocious than the one used during the training. However, the Athenians have been well prepared by their leader Theseus and perform well without injury. Periboea runs toward the bull and grasping the horns turns a somersault on its back, then straightens up on the bull's back before leaping into the arms of Theseus. They embrace for a moment, while the crowd cheers and Ariadne stares jealously from the royal viewing area. Sitting there with her are Phaedra, Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Pasiphae. Taurus joins them.

TAURUS
Well, do you like what you see?
Did I train them well enough?

PASIPHAE
Oh yes!
Please sit down here next to me, Taurus.

Taurus sits next to Pasiphae, while Minos appears uncomfortable.

ARIADNE
This bull seems to me to be too wild.
I'm afraid it may be too dangerous for them.

TAURUS
But that is the sport: no dangers, no thrills.

PHAEDRA
Do you think they will be able to collar the bull?

ARIADNE
I think that Theseus could do almost anything.

RHADAMANTHUS
I won't be surprised to see him do it.
He captured the bull
that killed Prince Androgeus.

Theseus with help from the other six males and the two youths disguised as females moves in to take hold of the horns and wrestle the bull to the ground. The crowd cheers. Minos stands and addresses the crowd.

MINOS
We honor the Athenians for their success!
Now let the contests begin.

RHADAMANTHUS
Working as a team they made it look easy.

MINOS
I am very impressed with this young Theseus.

Taurus has entered the ring to take on any challenger. A LARGE MAN steps forward to fight against him, but he is soon knocked out by a powerful punch from Taurus. As some ATTENDANTS carry the large man off, Theseus approaches the royal viewing area and calls to Minos.

THESEUS
King Minos, with your permission
I would like to challenge this Taurus.

MINOS
No one is excluded from the contests.
Go ahead, Theseus, and fight with him.

Minos is pleased; but Pasiphae is apprehensive, while Ariadne and Phaedra are excited and eagerly watch. While Taurus fights like a boxer, Theseus dodges and moves like a wrestler, eventually getting a hold on Taurus and throwing him over his shoulder to the ground. Theseus then jumps on Taurus and pins him down.

RHADAMANTHUS
This is a new way of fighting.
Instead of using the brute force of punching,
he seems to be using skill as well as strength.

THESEUS
Do you give up, Taurus?

TAURUS
For now, Theseus, for now.

Theseus gets off Taurus and begins to walk away, but Taurus runs after him, attacking his back and knocking Theseus down. Theseus gets up, and they spar some more. Eventually Theseus gets Taurus down with one of his arms twisted painfully behind his back.

THESEUS
Now have you had enough, Taurus?
Or shall I break your arm?

TAURUS
You win, Theseus; I admit defeat.

Theseus lets Taurus up and watches him carefully as they walk toward the royal viewing area. Minos again stands and announces to the cheering crowd.

MINOS
Our new champion is Theseus, son of Aegeus.
Is there anyone who wishes to challenge him?

He pauses, but no one responds. Ariadne is beaming with admiration for Theseus, but Pasiphae is disappointed.

MINOS (Cont'd.)
Then the contest is concluded.
In recognition of the success of the Athenians
and the victory of Theseus in this contest
I hereby set them free from bondage
and announce to you today a new treaty
with Athens and an end to their tribute.

Taurus looks angry and resentful.

PHAEDRA
That Theseus is really a wonder!

ARIADNE
More wonderful than you know, little sister.

INT. LABYRINTH HALLWAY - EVENING

Taurus instructs the Guard Captain.

TAURUS
I don't care what Minos said today;
you keep the Athenians here under guard.

CAPTAIN
Yes, Taurus, I will obey you.

INT. ENTRANCE TO THE LABYRINTH - NIGHT

Ariadne hands Theseus a spool of thread.

ARIADNE
Daedalus gave me this thread with the instruction
to tie one end here to the lintel.
Let it unwind as you go in to the labyrinth;
then follow the thread to find your way out.
Taurus still has your men and maidens under guard.

THESEUS
My men are ready to break their way out tonight,
but what do you want me to do
and how will I find my way in?

ARIADNE
For me I ask you, in the name of Aphrodite,
to slay the monstrous Asterion.
I will lead you to his secret room.
I have already told the pilot of your ship
to be ready to sail at any moment.
After I've guided you in,
I'll meet you here later;
for I must not be seen there
when Asterion is slain.

Theseus has attached the thread to the lintel, and they proceed down the stairs and hallways. Finally Ariadne points out the door of Asterion's room. Ariadne hands Theseus a knife.

ARIADNE
Inside you will find Asterion.
Use this sacrificial knife and be quick.

Theseus takes the knife and enters the room, as Ariadne leaves.

INT. ASTERION'S ROOM - NIGHT

Theseus comes in and finds the deformed ASTERION drugged or drunk and half asleep next to a HARLOT. Theseus goes over and stabs Asterion fatally.

THESEUS
On the word of the Princess Ariadne
and the judge Rhadamanthus I do this.

Theseus leaves the knife in Asterion, and quickly goes out.

INT. LABYRINTH HALLWAYS - NIGHT

Theseus rewinds the thread as he makes many turns in the labyrinth.

INT. LABYRINTH GUARDED ROOM - NIGHT

The two effeminate youths with the Athenian maidens come out of the room and grab the two guards, wrestling them to the ground. The maidens help to tie them up and gag them by using parts of their dresses they have stripped off.

INT. LABYRINTH HALLWAY - NIGHT

The three guards of the men hear noises from the other struggles. The six Athenian men come out of the room and fight with the guards, eventually taking their weapons and killing them. The six men are joined by the five maidens and two other young men, and they all begin to leave through the hallway.

INT. ENTRANCE TO THE LABYRINTH - NIGHT

Ariadne is waiting anxiously when Theseus, winding the thread, returns to her. They embrace.

ARIADNE
Did you kill Asterion?

THESEUS
Yes, he is dead.
Where are the others?

They hear the sound of footsteps.

ARIADNE
I think I hear them now.

They are joined by the other thirteen Athenians.

THESEUS
Is everyone here?

PERIBOEA
Yes, Theseus; we all made it.

ARIADNE
Now follow me to the harbor.

Ariadne leads them out.

EXT. KNOSSOS HARBOR - NIGHT

Ariadne is leading the Athenians to their ship, when Taurus comes
running up, carrying the bloody knife that killed Asterion. Taurus shouts at Theseus.

TAURUS
Someone murdered my son Asterion!
Was it you, Theseus?

THESEUS
Yes, Taurus, your revolt is stopped.

TAURUS
Not yet it isn't.
Will you fight me alone?

One of the Athenian men hands Theseus one of the guard's knives they took, and Theseus walks over to Taurus on the shore. They fight, and eventually Theseus kills Taurus. Then as other GUARDS OF TAURUS come running up, Theseus quickly joins the Athenians and Ariadne in the boat, and they row away.

EXT. BOAT WITH BLACK SAIL - NIGHT

The black sail has caught some wind, as they distance themselves from the island of Crete. The Athenian youths dance and sing in celebration of their escape. Ariadne hands a statuette of the snake goddess to Theseus.

ARIADNE
I brought this for you, my husband.
It is sacred to Aphrodite, our love goddess.

THESEUS
Teach me your feminine ways of love, Ariadne.

ARIADNE
With pleasure and joy, my darling Theseus.

They embrace and kiss.

EXT. ISLAND OF NAXOS - SUNSET

The Athenians are celebrating with some of the NATIVES of the island. The thirteen Athenians and Theseus are dancing the crane dance together, while Ariadne is drinking much wine. When the dance is ended, Theseus joins Ariadne.

ARIADNE
That was a wonderful dance!

THESEUS
Are you all right, dearest Ariadne?
There is no water in your wine.

ARIADNE
I love the god of wine;
he is my best friend.

She drinks some more and nearly passes out. Theseus lets her sleep and decides to lay down himself. Eventually he falls asleep. In his dream we see the goddess ATHENA appear to him with a message.

ATHENA
Theseus, son of Poseidon, I am Athena
come to warn you about this woman.
Why did she make you kill Asterion?
You should think more before you act.
How will Athens react to her snake goddess statue?
Leave her here on Naxos with Dionysus;
he will take care of her.

Theseus opens his eyes and thinks about his dream. He looks at the snake goddess statuette and places it next to the sleeping Ariadne.

EXT. ISLAND OF NAXOS - DAWN

Theseus is waking the other Athenians, while the natives and Ariadne are sleeping. They proceed to the shore and depart in the boat with the black sails. Just as they are embarking, Ariadne awakes and sees them. She cries out, but they are too far away to hear her.

ARIADNE
Theseus, where are you going?!
Don't leave me behind. I love you.

Ariadne looks at the statuette next to her, feels forlorn and weeps. After a while DIONYSUS approaches her with a skin of wine.

DIONYSUS
Beautiful Ariadne,
I have been looking for you.
I found some more wine.

ARIADNE
Thank you, Dionysus;
I could use some now.

She drinks with him.

EXT. ISLAND OF DELOS - DAY

Theseus and the Athenians are holding contests and games. The maidens run a race, which is won by Periboea. Theseus calls to her.

THESEUS
Periboea, let me
give you something for winning.

She comes over to Theseus, and he weaves a palm leaf into a crown and puts it on her head.

PERIBOEA
What is this for?

THESEUS
A celebration of your victory in the race,
so that people will know you are the champion.

INT. PALACE OF AEGEUS - DAY

A MESSENGER comes in with news for Aegeus.

MESSENGER
The ship of Theseus has been seen approaching.

AEGEUS
I must go see if the sail is black or red.

EXT. SEASHORE CLIFF NEAR ATHENS - DAY

Aegeus comes to the edge of the cliff to look out at the ship which still has the black sail. He speaks to the messenger.

AEGEUS
Why didn't you tell me the sail is black?

MESSENGER
I didn't have the heart.

AEGEUS
I cannot stand it.
My son must be dead.

Aegeus leaps off the edge of the cliff.

EXT. SHORE NEAR ATHENS - DAY

Theseus and the thirteen have gathered around a pot cooking over a fire on the beach.

THESEUS
Put all the different kinds of beans into the pot
so that we can share what is left together.

EXT. STREETS OF ATHENS - DAY

Theseus carrying an olive branch wreathed with white wool leads the thirteen in a parade into Athens amid great celebration. A PRIESTESS greets them at the temple of Athena.

PRIESTESS OF ATHENA
Welcome home to Athens, Theseus.

THESEUS
Thank you.
Where is my father, Aegeus?

PRIESTESS OF ATHENA
First we shall perform the sacrifice to the goddess
with the mothers of the returning youths.

The ritual is performed.

THESEUS
May the Athenian mothers always tell this story.
Now tell me where my father is.
Why isn't he here to greet me?

MESSENGER
I'm sorry to tell you, Theseus,
but your father went out to see your ship return;
and when he saw the black sail
in great despair he leaped off the cliff.
Sad to say I must report that Aegeus is dead.

THESEUS
O God!
How could we have forgotten about the sail?
Now the triumphant celebrations
of our independence
are turned into mourning
for the loss of our king.

Cries of sorrow are heard among the crowd which before was joyfully celebrating.

INT. COUNCIL HALL IN ATHENS - DAY

Many leading Athenians from the various townships are enjoying a public feast. As most people are finished eating, Theseus stands and addresses them.

THESEUS
Thank you all for coming to this Feast of Union.
As you know, the joy of our new independence
from the tribute we had previously paid to Minos
was soon overshadowed by the death of King Aegeus.
Although as his son, many agreed I should be king,
others were not convinced to follow my rule.
As often has occurred in the past,
the divisions between the local towns and councils
led to quarrels and sometimes to fighting and death.
So I went to each of your councils in turn,
attempting to persuade you that we should unite
into a larger commonwealth ruled by a greater council.
I promised that I would relinquish the kingship,
if the people were persuaded to rule by election.
Though all did not agree at first,
those who did not were convinced by the power
of those of us who did agree to accept the union.
Thus have we built this great council hall
where representatives of each town can meet
to make the laws and settle the disputes of Athens.
This common feast and the sacrifices we perform
we have named the Festival of All Athens.
Guided by the oracle of Delphi which assures us
that we shall prosper and survive,
just as the inflated bladder helps us to swim.
We have sent out envoys with the message,
"Come here, all you people and share with us."
Our city is well organized with justice and peace.
To the nobles is committed the care of religion,
the choosing of judges, the teaching of the laws,
interpreting and directing all sacred things.
The other two classes are no less equal:
the farmers are allowed to excel in wealth,
and the artisans are powerful in their numbers.
To facilitate the exchange of goods and trade
we have made coins out of precious metals
to replace an ox, ten oxen, and a hundred oxen.
In emulation of Heracles I established contests
in poetry, music and athletics to be held
at the isthmus in cooperation with Corinth.
So let us give thanks to the gods of persuasion
and common love that we may all live in peace.

Everyone cheers and pounds on the table.

EXT. ATHENIAN SHIP AT AMAZONIA - DAY

The Athenian ship is at anchor near a barren shore. ANTIOPE calls to them from the beach.

ANTIOPE
Theseus, the Amazons have sent me with gifts.

THESEUS
Then let me help you.

Theseus jumps into the sea and wades over to Antiope. He takes the gifts and wades with her to the ship. He hands the gifts to SOLOON and then helps Antiope on board by lifting her out of the water. He then climbs aboard himself.

ANTIOPE
My name is Antiope.
So this is some of your crew.

Theseus introduces Antiope to Soloon, EUNEOS, and THOAS.

THESEUS
Yes, this is Soloon, Euneos, and Thoas.
They are brothers.
Please dine with us.

INT. CABIN ON THE ATHENIAN SHIP - EVENING

Theseus and Antiope are embracing romantically.

ANTIOPE
You know that we Amazons never marry,
for only women are allowed into our community.

THESEUS
Yes, but for your community to continue
you must at least mate with men.

ANTIOPE
Oh yes, we love men very much.

THESEUS
And do you love me, Antiope?

ANTIOPE
I would like to bear your child, Theseus.

THESEUS
Then you shall come with us to Athens.

ANTIOPE
But I must not leave our community.

THESEUS
Let them just think I carried you off.

Their lovemaking becomes more passionate.

EXT. ATHENIAN SHIP AT SEA - DAY

The Athenian ship is sailing along the coast. Soloon is watching Antiope, as she sun bathes on the deck in the nude. Soloon speaks to Euneus.

SOLOON
She is so beautiful;
I don't know what to do.
Will you help me, brother,
to tell her I love her?

EUNEUS
Certainly, Soloon, I will speak for you.

Euneus goes over and sits next to Antiope, while Soloon watches.

ANTIOPE
Hello, Euneus.
How are you and your brothers doing?

EUNEUS
We are fine, Antiope, except for Soloon.

ANTIOPE
What is the matter with him?

EUNEUS
I'm afraid that he has fallen in love with you.

ANTIOPE
Doesn't he know
I'm conceiving a child with Theseus?

EUNEUS
Your beauty seems to have erased all other thoughts.

ANTIOPE
Please tell him that I am Theseus' woman
and that he should direct his attentions elsewhere.

Euneus goes back to Soloon.

SOLOON
What did she say?
Does she care for me at all?

EUNEUS
You mustn't think of her anymore, brother;
she is committed to Theseus.

INT. CABIN OF THE ATHENIAN SHIP AT SEA - EVENING

Soloon enters the room in which Antiope is alone. He goes over to her and tries to embrace her.

SOLOON
Dear Antiope, I must have you.

ANTIOPE
Soloon, I told your brother that you cannot.
I have nothing against you,
but please leave me alone.

Antiope pushes Soloon away and goes out of the cabin. Soloon appears desperate and follows after her.

EXT. ATHENIAN SHIP AT SEA - EVENING

Antiope comes on deck and goes over to Theseus. Soloon comes after her; but seeing Theseus, he jumps into the sea near a river. The ship is moving quickly, and Soloon is soon left behind and drowns.

ANTIOPE
I think Soloon has jumped overboard.
Euneus, Thoas!

Euneus and Thoas come over to see, but it is too late.

THESEUS
Stop the ship and go back.
Why would he do such a foolish thing?

EUNEUS
He was secretly in love with Antiope.

THESEUS
Is this true?

ANTIOPE
Yes, but I gave him no encouragement
and treated him with discretion and respect.

THESEUS
This is terrible;
I feel great sorrow at his loss.

EUNEUS
He chose his own destiny,
but I am sorry for it too.

THESEUS
This reminds me of an oracle
I was given at Delphi.
The priestess of Apollo Pythius told me that
wherever I was most sorrowful in a strange land
I should found a city
and leave some people there.
Euneus and Thoas, will you build a city here
and call it Pythopolis in honor of Apollo?

EUNEUS
We should be honored to do so, Theseus.

THESEUS
Then to you I entrust its government and laws.

THOAS
I have a noble friend from Athens named Hermus,
who I think will join us.

THESEUS
Good; so may Apollo bless your venture.

EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF ATHENS - DAY

Theseus, Antiope, and the Athenians are prepared for a battle with the attacking AMAZONS.

THESEUS
I sacrificed to Fear, the son of the god of war.

ANTIOPE
I feel responsible for this attack on Athens,
for the Amazons will not allow any woman to leave.
Yet I must stay here with you, Theseus,
so that we can raise our son, Hippolytus, together.

THESEUS
It is not your fault, Antiope, that they attack;
and we must defend our city of Athens.
Athenians! Fight for your city now!

Theseus raises his arm and leads the attack with the left wing. The right wing of Athenians also attacks but is quickly routed with many casualties. Afterwards Antiope directs the care of the wounded, both Athenians and Amazons.

ANTIOPE
Someone help me to take the wounded
to Chalcis where we can care for them.

Several Athenians help Antiope to assist and carry the wounded.

EXT. CHALCIS STATION FOR THE WOUNDED - DAY

Antiope helps the physicians treat the wounded.

EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF ATHENS - DAY

Another battle is raging, but this time the Athenian left wing drives back the right wing of the Amazons. However, Antiope is shot and killed by an arrow from MOLPADIA, who is then attacked and killed by Theseus. The Amazons are defeated and retreat.

EXT. MARATHON PLAIN - DAY

PIRITHOUS is driving a herd of cattle away, when Theseus approaches him from the other direction.

THESEUS
Why are you driving off my cattle?

PIRITHOUS
You must be Theseus.

THESEUS
I am.

PIRITHOUS
I have heard such astounding tales about you,
your great strength, valor, and skill in battle,
that I decided to see what you would do
if I were to take some of your cattle.

THESEUS
I have come to stop you.
What else would I do?

PIRITHOUS
So I see.
You are very impressive, Theseus.
In fact my desire to fight against you
has completely escaped from my heart.
I'll tell you what I'll do:
since you are known to be such a great judge,
I'll submit my case to your judgment.
You decide whatever you think is best.

THESEUS
What is your name?

PIRITHOUS
Pirithous.

THESEUS
Are you willing to assist me in driving these cattle
back to where they belong, Pirithous?

PIRITHOUS
Of course; that seems reasonable to me.

THESEUS
Then after we take care of that chore,
I invite you to dine with me.

PIRITHOUS
I'd be delighted to join you, Theseus.

They begin to herd the cattle back in the other direction.
INT. PALACE OF THESEUS - DAY

Theseus and Pirithous are enjoying a feast.

PIRITHOUS
So after leaving Ariadne
according to the goddess,
you later went back
and married her sister, Phaedra.

THESEUS
Phaedra is another beautiful devotee of Aphrodite,
and alliance with the family of Minos is helpful.
Where is it, you say you rule, Pirithous?

PIRITHOUS
Over the Magnetes at the mouth of the river Peneus.
I understand you had to put down a revolt
by the sons of Pallas to maintain your democracy.

THESEUS
The council ruled it was justifiable homicide,
but I am to go into exile for purification.

PIRITHOUS
Why don't you come and stay with me?

THESEUS
That would be good,
but first I'm going to Troezen
where my son by Antiope,
the young Hippolytus, lives.

PIRITHOUS
Why does he live there instead of in Athens?

THESEUS
I thought it would be better for him
if he was raised by the noble Pittheus.
Since Athens does not consider him legitimate,
he can eventually rule in Troezen,
while my sons by Phaedra may rule in Athens.
I like you very much, Pirithous.
Will you take an oath of eternal friendship with me?

PIRITHOUS
With all my heart, Theseus, I certainly will.

They clasp each other's arms.

EXT. TEMPLE OF APHRODITE IN TROEZEN - DAY

Phaedra, now about forty years old, lays on a couch in the garden of the temple enclosure near a myrtle tree which overlooks a gymnasium. Her NURSE walks over to her.

NURSE
My noble Queen Phaedra, please won't you eat?
This is the third day since you've had anything.
How will you keep up your body's strength,
or will you just gradually weaken and die?

PHAEDRA
Perhaps that is better, dear nurse.

NURSE
Better?! Better than what?
Are you out of your senses?

PHAEDRA
Yes, I think I am, for my heart is lost.

NURSE
Just because your lord Theseus is away for a while,
that is no reason to shrivel up and die.

PHAEDRA
Alas, it is not the noble Theseus who afflicts me.
Rather I am in danger of betraying his trust.
Like my mother and sister Ariadne,
I too have become the plaything of Aphrodite.

NURSE
But you have brought statues of Artemis here
to celebrate the worship of the chaste goddess.

PHAEDRA
Yes, I would gladly follow her into the woods
and pursue the chase among the spring flowers;
for the one who wounds me is devoted to Artemis,
but Aphrodite has me in her passionate grip.

NURSE
Dearest queen, if you let yourself die,
your sons may be displaced by the Amazon's son.

PHAEDRA
Oh, as you mention him, he comes.
How could I go on living in this confused state?

HIPPOLYTUS has entered the gymnasium and proceeds to strip off his clothes and begin his exercises in the nude. Phaedra gets up and goes over to the myrtle tree which hides her as she observes Hippolytus. While watching him she takes a pin from her dress and constantly uses it to punch holes in the myrtle leaves in her anxiety.

NURSE
I can help you only if you tell me what it is.

PHAEDRA
What I dare not speak for shame has appeared.

NURSE
Hippolytus?!

PHAEDRA
See how strong and beautiful he is!
But he is dedicated to the chastity of Artemis.

NURSE
Countless are the number of those youthful vows
that have been broken under Aphrodite's influence.
Let me go talk to him and invite him to see you.

PHAEDRA
And betray my husband?
How could you?

NURSE
Almost any shame is better than your death.
Let us see what will happen.

PHAEDRA
Go if you must and ask him to come here.
I can resist no longer.

As Phaedra watches Hippolytus, the Nurse goes down and talks with him. He looks up toward Phaedra, puts on his clothes, and comes up to her. The nurse goes into the temple.

HIPPOLYTUS
Noble queen mother, you would talk with me.

PHAEDRA
Please do not call me mother, dear Hippolytus,
for everyone knows your mother was the Amazon.
Please sit with me on this couch.

Hippolytus sits on the couch near Phaedra, who moves over a little closer to him.

HIPPOLYTUS
What is it you want, Phaedra?

PHAEDRA
Oh, if I could only have what I want!

HIPPOLYTUS
Why not? You are Queen of Athens,
and I rule here in Troezen now.
Please tell me what I can do for you.

PHAEDRA
It is difficult to speak of, dear Hippolytus.

HIPPOLYTUS
What are you afraid of? I am like your son.

PHAEDRA
Oh no, don't say that!
I want to be your friend.

HIPPOLYTUS
Of course, but I don't understand what this is about.

PHAEDRA
Perhaps it is better that I just die.

HIPPOLYTUS
What are you saying?
Please speak frankly.

PHAEDRA
I love you, Hippolytus.
I've been watching you
in the gymnasium from behind that tree,
and such passion has been aroused in me
that I cannot express the depth of my feeling.

HIPPOLYTUS
No, no! This is not right.
How could you?

PHAEDRA
You know in my country we worship Aphrodite,
and we wear our dresses like this.

Phaedra opens the top of her dress to reveal her breasts. Hippolytus jumps to his feet and steps away from her.

HIPPOLYTUS
First you watch me in the nude, and now this?!

The nurse quickly runs over from the temple, makes her announcement and then goes back into the temple.

NURSE
Theseus is coming.

PHAEDRA
Please promise that you will meet me in secret.

HIPPOLYTUS
For shame!
I'll agree to no such thing.
You women are disgusting;
I'll never understand you.

PHAEDRA
Love me, Hippolytus;
or I'll tell Theseus
that you tried to rape me.

HIPPOLYTUS
You are wicked!
I'm leaving.

Phaedra rips her dress open. Hippolytus stares at her aghast, turns, and runs off by way of the gymnasium. Theseus coming to Phaedra sees Hippolytus running away.

THESEUS
What is this?
Wasn't that Hippolytus?
Why is he in such a hurry?
And look at you.
What's the matter, dear Phaedra?

PHAEDRA
I am ashamed to say it, dear lord.
Your son Hippolytus just tried to rape me;
but when he heard you were coming,
he ran off like a coward.
I tried to resist him as best I could.
You can see how he ripped my dress open.

THESEUS
I can't believe this: my own son with my wife!

PHAEDRA
I'll die of shame.
How could I go on?

THESEUS
But he is the guilty one!
Nevermore shall he violate this sanctuary.
Have no fear, dear Phaedra,
I shall banish him from our court.

Theseus goes after Hippolytus, catching up with him at the entrance to the gymnasium, where Hippolytus is sitting in despair.

THESEUS (Cont'd.)
Son, my wife just told me a very disturbing story,
that you tried to force yourself on her.

HIPPOLYTUS
Father, don't tell me that you believe her.

THESEUS
I saw her dress ripped to shreds.

HIPPOLYTUS
I could not do such a thing;
you know that I am chaste above all others.
Never have I known a woman in that way.
Why would I choose her of all people?
Others are younger and more beautiful.
Do you think I want to take your place?

THESEUS
I don't know what to think now,
but I must trust the word of my wife.
Hippolytus, my son, you must go into exile
and nevermore appear in this court nor in Athens.
You've brought shame upon my house.
The sooner you get out of my sight the better,
before I take it upon myself to kill you now.
Go!

HIPPOLYTUS
Though innocent of this charge, I go nonetheless.
You are my father, and I must obey.

Hippolytus stands up and walks toward his chariot to leave. Theseus returns to the temple garden to find Phaedra hanging from the myrtle tree by the straps of her dress.

THESEUS
O gods! What dreadful spectacle is this!?

The nurse comes out of the temple and also sees the dead Phaedra.

NURSE
I was afraid of this; she was desperate.

Theseus goes over to Phaedra's body, holds it with one arm as he uses his sword to cut her down. He carries the body in his arms and lays it on the couch.

THESEUS
My dear wife, was the shame too much for you?
O Poseidon, who promised to answer three prayers,
only once before have I asked for your help.
Now in my wrath I charge you to bring vengeance
on that bastard son of mine who dishonored my wife.
Let him not escape beyond this single day.

NURSE
What? What are you saying, noble Theseus?
Your wife was devoted to the Love Goddess;
now Aphrodite has used her to punish your son;
for in his proud chastity he spurned her.
Can't you see that she is getting her revenge
through your misplaced jealous passion?

THESEUS
What do you mean "misplaced?"
Did not Hippolytus use his manly strength
to violate her feminine weakness?

NURSE
No, before the gods I saw it all from inside.
She was hopelessly in love with Hippolytus,
but he was only repulsed by her desires.
So she ripped her dress and falsely accused him.

THESEUS
Oh no! These goddesses have made a fool of me.
I must go after him right away.

Theseus runs toward the gymnasium entrance, gets in his chariot and departs.

EXT. SHORE NEAR TROEZEN - DAY

Hippolytus is driving his chariot at a good clip in his frustration. Theseus is coming up behind him; but when Hippolytus hears Theseus calling him, he is afraid and goes faster.

THESEUS
Hippolytus! Hippolytus!

As they race along the shore at dangerous speeds, a huge wave from the ocean comes breaking on the shore just as Hippolytus is passing an olive tree. One of the reins catches on a branch of the tree, causing the chariot to break apart and go crashing on the rocks. Theseus comes up, stops, and jumps off his chariot to attend to Hippolytus.

HIPPOLYTUS
You need not fear me anymore, father;
I am broken.

THESEUS
Don't try to talk.
I know I was wrong.
The nurse told me everything.
Phaedra killed herself in despair,
and now you are dying by my own curse.
Poseidon rules over horses and the sea,
and so now you suffer for my foolish jealousy.
Could you ever forgive me for this bloodshed?

HIPPOLYTUS
Before Artemis, I swear that I do, dear father.

THESEUS
Yours is a holy and a noble soul.

Hippolytus dies, and Theseus weeps.

INT. PALACE OF THESEUS IN ATHENS - DAY

Theseus is dining with his latest girl-friend ANAXO and Pirithous.

THESEUS
I'm sorry to hear that your bride Deidamia died.
That was some wedding
with the Lapiths and Centaurs.

PIRITHOUS
There wasn't even room in my palace for everyone;
so we had to put some of the Centaurs in a cave.

THESEUS
Centaurs don't know to drink water with their wine.

PIRITHOUS
It was a brawl all right, but we showed them.
So what have you been doing since Phaedra died?
I see you have a new friend.

THESEUS
Yes, I brought Anaxo here from Troezen.
Well, I went on the hunt for the Calydonian boar,
and I helped mediate the dispute in Thebes
after the war between the sons of Oedipus
so that all the slain could be honorably buried.
I've been playing music more than before.
Dear, would you please go get my lyre
so that I could play for Pirithous?

ANAXO
I'd be glad to, dear Theseus.

Anaxo leaves the room.

PIRITHOUS
You haven't married this young woman, have you?

THESEUS
No, unfortunately she is not of a noble house;
the Athenians would never accept her as queen.

PIRITHOUS
Since my wife died, I got an idea.
Why don't you and I go to Sparta
and carry off the divinely beautiful Helen?

THESEUS
Do you mean the sister of Castor and Pollux?

PIRITHOUS
Yes, she would be a noble match for anyone.

THESEUS
I'm already fifty years old, but that's all right.
Yet isn't Helen rather young for marriage?

PIRITHOUS
She is now only twelve years old,
but in four years she'll make a wonderful bride.

THESEUS
But we both can't marry her.

PIRITHOUS
We could cast lots for her,
and then the winner could help the loser
to carry off the next worthiest match.

THESEUS
You're a scoundrel; but I'll think about it.

Anaxo returns with the lyre and hands it to Theseus who begins to play.

INT. TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS - DAY

HELEN is dancing, as Theseus and Pirithous watch among others. Suddenly Pirithous steps forward and grabs Helen, picking her up in his arms and carrying her out the door, as Theseus accompanies and guards him.

EXT. TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS - DAY

Pirithous places Helen in their chariot, and he and Theseus take off in haste.

INT. PALACE OF APHIDNUS - DAY

Theseus and Pirithous leave Helen with APHIDNUS and the now elderly mother of Theseus, Aethra.

THESEUS
Helen, you will be safe here with Aphidnus,
and my mother is here to take care of you.
Since I was lucky enough to win the lot,
I must now help my friend Pirithous
to find a bride of his own too.
No one must know that you are here,
since your brothers are trying to take you back.

AETHRA
Where are you going?

PIRITHOUS
To Epirus for a daughter of the Molossian king.

EXT. MOLOSSIAN PALACE - NIGHT

Theseus and Pirithous are skulking around the palace when they encounter some ferocious Molossian hounds. They are attacked by the dogs, and Pirithous is killed. However, KING AIDONEUS comes out with some MOLOSSIAN GUARDS, and they capture Theseus alive.

AIDONEUS
Who are you, and what do you want?

THESEUS
I am Theseus,
and that is my friend Pirithous.
We are trying to see your daughter, King Aidoneus.

AIDONEUS
I'm afraid your friend is dead, Theseus.
Suitors of my daughter must fight these dogs first.
Since you came by stealth in the night,
you shall be put in prison as punishment.
Take him there.

The guards escort Theseus away.

INT. ATHENS COUNCIL HALL - DAY

MENESTHEUS is giving a speech to the assembled council.

MENESTHEUS
What good has Theseus' government done for us?
He has robbed us each of our kingdoms
so that he could lord it over all of us.
He calls it democracy, but he is still king.
Most of the time he's off on some new adventure.
What has happened to our local religions
in this grand new federation of towns?
We have all lost our freedom and become slaves
to his tyrannical state that is too big
and not responsive to the wishes of the people.

LOCAL LEADER
What about the Dioscurii who are about to attack?
Have you talked with Castor and Pollux
about the abduction of their sister Helen?

MENESTHEUS
Yes, and I have managed to convince them
that she is not here in Athens.
I have offered some of our Athenian men
to go with them and help to retrieve her.

SECOND LOCAL LEADER
What about Theseus?

MENESTHEUS
I have learned that he is imprisoned at Epirus
for trying to abduct another maiden with Pirithous.
So I say our allegiance to King Theseus,
a newcomer and stranger from Troezen, is ended.
Let us take back control of our own governments.

LOCAL LEADERS
Hail to Menestheus! Hail to Menestheus!

INT. PRISON AT EPIRUS - DAY

Theseus has a long beard and appears much older and somewhat emaciated by malnutrition as he sits on the rock floor of his prison cell. The door opens, and HERACLES is let in by the guard.

THESEUS
Heracles! There is no one I would rather see.

HERACLES
I just discovered you were here, Theseus.
How long have they kept you in this place?

THESEUS
I think it is about four years now.

HERACLES
It looks like they haven't given you enough food.

THESEUS
Yes, but I've had so much time to think.
You'd be amazed how much
I've learned about myself.

HERACLES
Are you following the Delphic motto
that advises us to know ourselves?

THESEUS
Yes, it is wonderful counsel.
I have made so many mistakes in my life,
especially since the death of Phaedra.
We men must learn to respect women more
and not fight each other with violence.
Death and gods and goddesses in the underworld
have been teaching me so much here.

HERACLES
In the underworld?
What are you talking about?

THESEUS
Do you remember when you and I went together
and were initiated into the mysteries at Eleusis?

HERACLES
How could I forget that?
It was the most astonishing experience of my life.

THESEUS
It's all true, Heracles;
the whole story is true.
Just as the plant seems to die, the seed is reborn.
Death is a journey of our soul out of the body
into another world more beautiful than this one.
I've been there, Heracles, and now I know.

HERACLES
You do seem somehow marvelously at peace.
How strange that these four long years
which others would consider so terrible
may have been the best years of your life!

THESEUS
Yes, life and death are truly mysteries,
and what we think we know is so little.

HERACLES
Come with me now, Theseus;
I've come to take you home.

Heracles helps Theseus to his feet, and they embrace.

EXT. CLIFF ON THE ISLAND OF SCYROS.

Theseus is walking with KING LYCOMEDES near the edge of a high cliff with an excellent view.

THESEUS
The Athenians have been turned against me,
King Lycomedes;
they no longer obey silently,
but expect to be flattered and begged to do
what they used to consider their duty.

LYCOMEDES
Menestheus is their new leader.

THESEUS
So I was hoping to trade my land in Athens
for something here where I could live in peace.

LYCOMEDES
Let me show you what there is.
If we step over to the edge here,
then you can see a very long way.

THESEUS
This is a wonderful view!

They walk over to the brink of a precipice, and then Lycomedes pushes Theseus over the edge. Theseus falls a long way before his body is crushed when it lands on the rocks.


-THE END-

Copyright 1996, 2008 by Sanderson Beck

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