Hercules was the greatest hero in all of Greece, born to Zeus and Alcmena.
Throughout his life, Hera was set on destroying him for the reason he was the son
of her husband. Hercules was the strongest man on Earth with great selfconfidence and physical skill and only supernatural powers overcame him. In
addition, his intellect did not play an important role in any of his actions, but his
emotions did. He also showed greatness of soul because he was sorrowed by
wrongdoing and willing to do anything to alleviate it. Hercules had many quests
throughout his life including the “Labors of Hercules”, a series of penances to
purify him after he killed off his whole family in madness, given to him by King
Eurystheus. In addition, he brings back his friend, Admetus’s, wife back from the
dead after realizing he was drunk in merry when his friend was in sorrow. On the
other hand, Hercules did inglorious deeds as well. He killed many innocent people
in vengeance or stupidity. In the end, because death could not come upon him on
Earth, he decided to bring himself to death. After he is burned at a pyre in Mt.
Oeta, Hercules is brought up to Olympus and eventually reconciled with Hera and
married her daughter, Hebes.
• The Labors of Hercules
First labor: kill the lion of Nemea, “a beast no weapons could wound”
Second labor: kill the Hydra, a creature with 9 heads with 1 immortal
Third labor: bring back alive a stag with horns, an animal sacred to Artemis
Fourth labor: capture a great boar which lived on Mt. Erymanthus
Fifth labor: clean the Augtean stables in one day; stables that had a thousand cattle and had not
been cleaned for y ears
Sixth labor: drive away the Stymphalian birds who were a plague to the Stymphalus people
Seventh labor: fetch the beautiful savage bull that Poseidon had given Minos
Eighth labor: get the man-eating mares of King Diomedes of Thrace
Ninth labor: bring back the girdle of Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons
Tenth labor: bring back the cattle of Geryon, who was a monster with 3 bodies
Eleventh labor: the most difficult of all; to bring back the Golden Apples of the Hesperides
Twelfth labor: to bring Cerebus, the three-headed dog, up from Hades
• Freed Prometheus when he killed the eagle that
preyed on him
• Brought his friend (Admetus) his wife (Alcesstis)
back from the underworld
• Pg. 178
“…his simplicity and blundering stupidity; his
inability not to get roaring drunk in a house where
someone was dead; his quick penitence and desire
to make amends at no matter what cost; his perfect
confidence that not even Death was his match.”
“Human Side”
• Self-Confident
• Humble
• Random Outbursts
• Blamed Himself
Relates to Humanity:
-perfection is impossible
-bad events occur
-humble is good to a certain extent
• Fate- Destiny, Prophesy, Influence of Gods
He brought his wife and friend back from the underworld
He saved Prometheus
The Fates were unable to kill him
Pg 178
• Hubris- Excessive Pride, Arrogance
▫ He brought his wife and friend back from the underworld
▫ He completed the 12 labors
• Arete- Excellence
▫ He killed the eagle that preyed on Prometheus, thereby freeing
▫ He completed the 12 labors
• Do you notice any overlaps?