In Stephen King's collection of short stories "Everything is Eventual", he posits the idea of a never ending Déjá Vu as Hell.

In Disenchantment, the writers also have the idea of eternal punishment as an endless loop replaying the worst moments of the poor wretch's lives forever.

This would seem to be a common idea much older than either one of those; which author or director was the first to suggest the idea?

  • 2
    The myths of Sisyphus and Tantalus.
    – Spencer
    Dec 12 '20 at 22:11
  • WOW @Spencer I thought I knew Greek mythology...gotta make myself familiar with that story...txs
    – Cascabel
    Dec 12 '20 at 22:12
  • [scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/220066/… is difficult to find as it is labeled "Immortality sucks" So maybe someone should write a actual answer to the question?
    – Cascabel
    Dec 12 '20 at 22:33
  • 1
    I was 2/3 of the way through one before you deleted your question.
    – Spencer
    Dec 12 '20 at 22:40

This comes straight from Greek mythology. The two most widely known punishments meted out to evildoers in Hades fall into this category.

Sisyphus was the first king of Corinth, and angered the gods by violating the taboo against killing ambassadors and visitors. After his death, Sisyphus's punishment was to roll a huge boulder up a hill over and over again. Every time the boulder got near the top, it would break away and roll back down the hill, and he had to start all over again.

Tantalus was a favorite of the gods until he tried to play a trick on them by serving human flesh (his own son Pelops) to them at a dinner party. In Tartarus, he stood up to his neck in a lake of wine which would drain away when he tried to drink any. Fruit hung down over his head but would be whisked away when he tried to pick any.

  • Greek mythology is, of course, not considered (by this site) to be scifi or fantasy, so it's a firm downvote from me.
    – Valorum
    Dec 12 '20 at 23:02
  • @Valorum I got a lot of flak for arguing that same point in the "being immortal sucks" question, so what's considered what by this site seems to be a moving target. But you do you.
    – Spencer
    Dec 12 '20 at 23:17
  • I'm at a loss why we allow it.
    – Valorum
    Dec 12 '20 at 23:31

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