Hercules Brandi, Meagan, Lindsay, Jennifer, Shane
Birth • Born in Thebes • Son of Zeus and Alcmena • “…who had visited Amphitryon’s wife, Alcmena, in the shape of her husband when the general was away fighting.” (Page 228) • Thought to be son of Amphitryon • Has a half brother, Iphicles • Perseus was his grandfather and half brother
Infancy • “Hera, as always, was furiously jealous and she determined to kill Hercules.” (pg. 228) • Hercules acted as Zeus when Zeus was away at war and they had a child, Iphicles, together which made Hera angry • Killed two snakes as an infant • “He shall be the hero of all mankind.” (pg. 228)
Heroic Attributes Qualities Flaws • Strength • Nobodyon Earth could kill him, unless he wanted to die • “Greatness of soul” • Bold • Willing to redeem himself when guilty • Slow wits • Aggressive • Arrogant and over confident • Let his emotions get the best of him • Doesn’t think things through The hero of Athens was Thesus. Thesus was compassionate and smart, qualities valued by Athenians (unlike Hercules).
Stupidity Examples • Threatened to shoot the sun because he was too hot • Threatened to punish the waves for rocking his boat • He unintentionally killed his music teacher “He flew into a rage and brained him with his lute” (pg.229) • On his 11th Labor, Atlas tried to trick Hercules by saying he would take the golden apples to Eurystheus. Hercules asked Atlas to hold the world for one second, took the apples, and left. This didn’t show Hercule’s intelligence, but rather the stupidity of Atlas.
Other Adventures and Mishaps • Conquered the Minyans, won the Princess, Megara, and married her • Killed a lion by the time he was 18, wore the fur as a cloak • Always punished himself for his wrongdoings • Accidentally stabbed a boy • Got drunk at his friend’s wife’s funeral
Megara, Madness, Guilt • Hercules had three sons with his wife Megara • Hera caused him to go mad so he killed all of his family members • He didn’t remember anything when he came back to his senses • Amphitryon tried to comfort him and tell Hercules that it wasn’t his fault • Hercules seeks redemption by fighting Death in order to bring Alcestis back after getting drunk at her funeral.
The 12 Labors • 1st: Kill the lion of Nemea • 2nd: Kill a creature with 9 heads called the Hydra • 3rd: Bring back alive a stag with horns of gold • 4th: Capture a great boar from a mountain
The 12 Labors • 5th: Clean the Augean stables in a single day • 6th: Drive away the Stymphalian birds • 7th: Fetch a savage bull • 8th: Get the man-eating mares of King Diometes of Thrace
The 12 Labors • 9th: Bring back the girdle of Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazon • 10th: Bring back the cattle of Geryon • 11th: Bring back the golden apples of the Hesperides • 12th: Bring Cerberus, the three headed dog, up from Hades
Achelous and Deianira • Hercules fought Achelous because he was in love with the girl Hercules wanted to marry • Achelousdidn’t want to fight, which made Hercules more angry • Achelous took form of a bull and Hercules broke off one of his horns • Hercules married the young princess, Deianira, as his prize
Admetus and Alcestis, Underworld • Admetuswas supposed to die, unless someone would die for him and Alcestis, his wife, offered to die • Hercules stayed the night at Admetus’ house and didn’t know about his wife • Hercules got drunk the night of the funeral • Hercules found out after that Alcestis died, and brought her back from the dead because he felt bad about being breaking the rile of hospitality
Deianira, Nessus, and Iole • Deianira, Hercules’ wife at the time thought Hercules was cheating on her with Iole, King Eurytus’ daughter • “…Centaur Nessus…told Deianira to take some of his blood and use it as a charm for Hercules if ever he loved another woman more than her. When she heard about Iole, it seemed to her that the time had come and she anointed a robe with blood and sent it to Hercules.” (page 243) • When Hercules put the robe on, it put him in a lot of pain, but didn’t kill him. • Deianira heard what she had done to Hercules and killed herself and in the end he did the same.
Death of Hercules • “Since death would not come to him, he would go to death.” (Page 243) • Hercules had people build a wooden structure for him to lay on. • He laid down, and they set the wood on fire, killing him. • In heaven, he married Hera’s daughter, Hebe. • Even after he died, he still was not at peace with himself or the Gods
Motif Guilt and Redemption “ …by his sorrow for wrongdoing and his willingness to do anything to expiate it, he showed greatness of soul.” (Page 227) Example: hercules felt bad for getting drunk at Admetus’ house whose wife, Alcestis had just died, and blamed himself. Then he brought Alcestis back by fighting Death so Admetus could be happy. “As always he heaped blame upon himself. He had been a fool, a drunken fool, when the man he cared for was crushed with grief.” (Page 241)
Archetypes Hercules- Hero • “Hercules was the strongest man on Earth and he had the supreme self-confidence magnificent physical strength gives.” (Page 225) Hera- Shrew • “Hera, as always, was furiously jealous and she determines to kill Hercules.” (Page 228)
Archetypes “But at the darkest midnight when all was silent in the house two great snakes came crawling in the nursery.” (Page 228) • Snakes(serpents): represent pure force or evil and destruction • Darkness: despair “…gave him to do were the Labors of Hercules. There were 12 of them…”(Page 232) • The number 12: the completed heavenly cycle
Archetypes “The flames rushed up and Hercules was seen no longer on Earth.” (Page 244) • Fire: rebirth “…when Hercules was taking her home, they had reached a river where the Centaur Nessus acted as a ferry-man, carrying travelers over the water.” (Page 243) • River: rebirth and death
Lessons • Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Whenever Hercules let his anger and violence get out of control, he regretted the outcome. He learned to control his anger. • You can’t survive with just physical strength “Hercules was the strongest man on Earth…” (Page 225) “His intellect was not strong. His emotions were.” (Page 226) Hercules constantly let his emotions take over and never thought things through before doing them.