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Tantalus was a tortured soul in Tartarus. Hercules encountered him there when the hero was attempting to bring Persephone back to the land of the living. Tantalus was cursed to exist forever with an apple hanging just out of reach from him. Hercules moved the apple close enough for Tantalus to eat it but Hades moved it away shortly thereafter.
- In mythology, Tantalus was sent to Tartarus after killing his son Pelops and serving his body to the Olympians as a test of their omniscience. All the gods except Demeter saw through the ruse, and subsequently imprisoned Tantalus and revived Pelops. Odysseus encountered him on his visit to the Underworld. Through Anaxo, Pelops was the grandfather of Alcmene, and through Atreus, was the grandfather of Menelaus of Sparta.
- For obvious reasons, Tantalus is the root of the English verb "to tantalize".