1) Why does Erysichthon cut down the tree?
Because they need wood and he doesn't care about the gods and their altars. He scorned the gods and was careless about his acts, since he only acted a certain way if it was useful. (Page 19; Narrator 3 first line)
2) Define piety.
The quality of being: 1. religious 2. dutiful; devoutness.
3) How does this term relate to Erysichthon?
Erysichton is not pious. He is quite the opposite. Eryischton doesn't care a bit about the gods. In fact, he doesn't believe in them. "He just looked for the usefulness of things." (Page 19; Narrator 3 first line).
Nonetheless, at the end of the scene Erysichton becomes pious (or at least the second meaning of it) since he becomes so devout to eating that he eats his own foot and eventually his complete self. (Page 24, bottom)
4) What connections can be made between this scene and this children's story?
We can see that both Erysichton and the Boy take away everything from their surroundings. In The Giving Tree, the Tree gives everything to the Boy, just to make himself happy, and the Boy gives nothing in return; he just continues to take more from it. In Erysichton, Erysichton does everything to be able to eat and asks everyone to give everything so he can get food. He doesn't stop asking people to give him food until he eats himself.(Page 24). He sells his mother (Page 23, second speaker), finishes his city's reserves (page 22) and eats his own foot (page 24).
5) Relate the events in this scene to a specific passage in Siddhartha.
When Siddhartha is in Kamala's town, he begins to feed his desires just to please Kamala. He buys himself shoes and clothes, gets a job, and a fancy house. "He learned how to transact business affairs, to exercise power over other people, to amuse himself with women..." (Page 61). Siddhartha starts to everything just for money and to impress Kamala, no matter the cost. In this case, Siddhartha's enrichment is costly for his path to achieve Nirvana. Just like in Erysichton, the protagonist does everything he can to get food and be able to eat, even if it proves unhealthy. (That is if eating one's foot is considered unhealthy).