HERCULES Summary 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. Quests • 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 Character • 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 Themes • 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 him ▫ He completed the 12 labors • Do you notice any overlaps?