Heracles Hercules Furens
Hercules – Strength, Intelligence and Beauty
Many people have heard about the greek god/hero Hercules. Especially because of the disney movie created in 1997 about him. Today i’ll be telling you why Hercules is important to greek mythology, some characteristics and symbols about him, and many more interesting facts. Hercules is the son of Zeus the god of thunder and Alcemene. Hercules symbolizes strength, bravery, and ingenuity. He is basically the god of strength. Hercules is famous for the myth of moving the pillars. The pillars are fabled to have been set there by Hercules as a memorial to his labour of seizing the cattle of the three-bodied giant Geryon.Hercules was famous for his 12 labors. He had to do the twelve labors because Hera sent a curse of madness to hercules. Making him kill his wife and his children.
Even though the madness wasn’t his fault. He was still sent to King Eurystheus to perform penance. Hera did this to him because she knew only someone would such strength like hercules could do these things. The 12 labors were killing the Nemean lion, killing the hydra, capturing the Cerynitian stag, killing the Erymanthian boar, cleaning the Augean stables, killing the birds of Stymphalus, capturing the Cretan bull, capturing the man-eating horses of Diomedes of Thrace, stealing the girdle of the Amazon queen Hippolyta, capturing the oxen of Geryon, retrieving the apples of the Hesperides and retrieving the three-headed dog Cerberus from Hades. Hercules now died after he put on a shirt with the blood of the centaur Nessus. The blood was poisonous so it caused Hercules to die in extreme agony.Hercules is related to his father Zeus the god of lightning god and his mother Hera the queen of gods. Hercules had a lot of children, but the ones he cherished the most was the children he had with his wife Megara. He had 2 sons and one daughter.
The daughter was the oldest out of the three children. His daughters name was Macaria.In this paragraph I will be telling you some characteristics about Hercules. Some of his special abilities is that he is very strong, stronger than most gods. Matter fact he is one of the strongest gods. His physical strength was a counterpoint to his lack of intelligence and wisdom. Hercules was considered violent, he was also regarded as loyal by his friends. Some of his friends were Castor, Autolycus, Argonauts, and Hylas.In this paragraph i’m going to tell you about some symbols that represent Hercules. One symbol that represents Hercules is a lion. A lion represents Hercules because it shows strength. Hercules is a very strong man just like a lion is a very strong animal, that’s why he is symbolized as a lion. Another symbol was a wooden club. The club was carved from a tree called “The grand tree of life” which was the eternal symbol of life.Using a portion of this tree was said to imbue the weapon with strength equal to the man who used the weapon to defeat his enemies.In conclusion, Hercules was a very strong, courageous , and genuine man. I told you some characteristics, symbols, and interesting facts about him. And also how he is important to greek mythology. So now you can go inform others about greek mythology and maybe they would be interested too.
Analysis of the Myth of Hercules
A myth is a story, which is traditional in nature, and it talks about the early history of a group of individuals or a society. It also explains a social or natural occurrence and it almost always includes supernatural events or beings. Mythology, therefore, is a collection of different myths from the same society. These myths are passed down generations in form of stories and have an important role in society such as giving foundational tales. They are also used by society as a means by which they can confirm and express their religious norms, views, and values. The patterns of behavior found in the myths can be imitated by society as how they should behave in everyday life. Hercules is an example of a common mythology, which most people around the world are familiar with and they can get lessons from the story itself (Mauss, Hubert and Hertz). Although most individuals hold the belief that the Hercules myth is only about his endeavors as a hero, it also really shows how he could not have been a hero, especially in today’s society due to some of his actions. First, he killed his first wife and two children while in a rage, he also had to complete the twelve labors as a form of punishment and finally, he used questionable means to achieve his goals.
In today’s society, the myth of Hercules is quite common with it being turned into novels and movies, therefore this means that many people are familiar with it and view it as a tale of his heroic undertakings. In the ancient Greek society he was viewed as a hero because of his actions and courage, however, in modern society, some of his actions might not have been viewed as heroic (Stafford 140). First, he killed his wife and two children. The story goes that his stepmother, Hera, was jealous of her stepson from the beginning and she had wanted to get rid of him, for example; she sent two snakes to kill Hercules as a baby in his crib. Also, due to this jealousy, Hera caused Hercules to get so mad, get in a rage and kill his family. In today’s modern society he would have been viewed as a murderer for what he did to his family no matter the reasons he had. He would not have been viewed as a hero because his actions were not desirable and cannot be emulated by society. In the past, most people held the belief that heroes were beyond the bounds of the law and morality they could act however they wanted, therefore, Hercules’ actions were not scrutinized he got away with anything as long as he continued being the hero he was (Mauss, Hubert and Hertz). In modern society, however, people believe that everyone is accountable to the law, therefore, he would have gone to prison for the murder he committed and not had the opportunity to be the hero he was.
Next, he completed the twelve labors as a form of punishment to atone for killing his family. Most individuals today see the twelve labors as examples of heroic actions and they were since he completed them and along the way saved people from different situations due to his courage and strength. However, when we take to account the reasons why he had to complete the labors, he would not have been viewed as a hero. His actions would have been seen as the proper punishment for killing his family and not as heroic (Stafford 140). Another way is that he would not have been seen as a hero since the labors he was given to complete were not unachievable for him as a half-god. Therefore, this shows that his actions were not heroic because any half god could achieve them. When Hercules completed the twelve labors, he was to get the gift of immortality. This is not right due to the fact that heroes should not expect rewards after their heroic actions, therefore, this shows that he would not have been viewed as a hero (Mauss, Hubert and Hertz).
Finally, Hercules used questionable means to achieve his goals and his behavior was questionable. In modern society, as stated above everyone is expected to follow certain rules no matter what position they hold in a society which was not seen in Hercules’ case due to some of his actions. He had the reputation of being a womanizer and having a bad temper in his life. In one instance, Hercules’ wife was offered by a centaur his blood as a form of protection against his straying eyes showing that he was not faithful to his wife or had given her reason to doubt him. His womanizing was not a behavior which today’s society would condone therefore they would hesitate from calling him a hero (Mauss, Hubert and Hertz). Hercules also took part in the sack of Troy where they invaded Troy in the fight for Helen. During the invasion, many innocent lives were lost and even though Hercules’ side was fighting for the right thing they used the wrong means to achieve this therefore in a modern society he would have been viewed as a mass murderer. Finally, he was so powerful that he defeated gods like Ares and Hades. This would have been scary in today’s society since we are just mere mortals and if he decided to destroy us he would do it without anyone to stop him especially since he was known for his bad temper therefore if anyone went against him there is a chance humans would suffer his wrath (Stafford 140)
In conclusion, the myth of Hercules is a story about heroism and that is not disputed as in the story he does many heroic acts. However, when his actions are scrutinized, it is noted that some of them were not ones that today’s society would view as heroic or expect from a hero. He was from a period of time where heroes were not held up to the same moral standards as the rest of society, therefore, he could act the way he wanted without any consequences. He killed his family and his punishment was to complete twelve labors. The completion of these twelve labors was what made up most of his heroic acts, which is wrong as they were meant to be a form of punishment. He also would get rewarded with immortality on completion of the labors which is not ideal as he deserved the punishments. Finally, he resorted to questionable means such as taking part in the sack of Troy, where many innocent people got massacred, with the aim of rescuing the princess of Troy which he did. All of this goes to show that even though he was a hero some of his actions would not have made him one especially in today’s society.
The Selfish Giant and Hercules Kills the Hydra. the Importance of Friendship in the Stories
Friendship is a term which defines the affection between two or more people. It usually rises from mutual interests and common aims. These pursuits are strengthened by the benevolent interests that sooner or later grow. The choice of friend can be important since it shows parents ways their children are trending. The trend can be important since it shows that good friends bring you up and bad friends bring you down. There are two stories about friendship which include The Selfish Giant and Hercules Kills the Hydra.
The story about the selfish giant is important since it shows how friendship happens. It shows how the children used to go play at the Giant’s garden. It was an excellent place for them to play at since it was a large garden with soft green grass. The Giant returned to the garden causing the children to run away. The Giant had stayed with his friend who was the Cornish ogre for 7 years. The children had no place to play at since the Giant was very selfish. They tried to play on the road but it wasn’t fun at all. Once spring came, the Giant realized that it was still winter in the garden area. He helped the young child by setting him on top of the tree and decided to knock the wall down. The other children decided that the Giant was not evil so they returned to his garden and started to play there.
Even though the Giant had a good time with the children, he had been longing for someone. He had always wanted to see his first friend who was the boy who he put on the tree. The children said that they did not know where he was causing the giant to feel very sad. Then one day, the Giant was lying awake when he heard some good music. It was actually a bird singing but it has been a long time that the Giant had listened to the bird for a long time. He had realized that spring came at last. The children came to play at the Giant’s garden every day after school. The Giant was very kind to all of the children but he has been longing for the child. As he grew older, he could not play anymore so he sat on a rocking chair. Then one day, he saw the child across the grass and ran with joy. The friendship between the Giant and boy shows how strong relations are.
Another important story on how friendship is important is when Hercules killed the Hydra. The killing of the Hydra was the second of the famous twelve labors he had performed for his cousin Eurystheus who was the king of Mycenae. The Hydra was a beast who had nine heads on nine long necks and the middle head was immortal. Hercules devised a way to lure the Hydra out of its hiding place but had a hard time fighting it. When he struck a head, two more form from its severed neck. The worst part was when a gigantic crab was sent to aid the Hydra. Hercules had no choice but to call his friend Iolaus to aid him. Hercules struck the head of the Hydra while Iolaus torched a limb of a tree and sealed the wound preventing more heads from popping out. The Hydra lay dead and Hercules buried it with a huge rock so that it won’t free itself. After the fall of the Hydra, both Hercules and Iolaus announced their victory. It shows that a friend can be needed when fighting a tough battle.
Friendship can be important whether it is the interaction between one or more people, or when others are helpful. Two main characters such as the giant and Hercules had learned what it is like to have a friend. It also shows how friends are important in order to make the main characters more successful.
A Character of Heracles in Mythology
Euripides’ Heracles is the story of the illegitimate child of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. Heracles was generally referred to as the epitome of Greek heroes in Greek mythology. Heracles’ defining traits is his exceptional fortitude, and his most defining story is the completion of his twelve labours. Unlike in the plays of Sophocles where the gods represent cosmic forces, Euripides saw more chaos than of order and justice. He clearly intended for his audience to be puzzled and outraged by the irrational and unjust act of Hera against an innocent Heracles, and to question the actions of such divine beings and to question their own religious beliefs. There are two perspectives one can have concerning Heracles. The first is that he is a violent murderer who killed Lichas and his own family. The second and more common perspective is that he is or a loving and mighty hero who rescues his family. Heracles is often idolized during times of war but does not display perfect intelligence, he fails to act rational when manipulated by the gods or overcome by emotion, which effectively humanizes them. This essay will explore Heracles through the two viewpoints of Euripides as it concentrates on the hero’s killing of his family and despair; and Sophocles focuses both on Heracles’ sufferings caused by the poisonous robe.
As seen in Euripides’ Heracles, the readers learn that Heracles did not intentionally kill his cherished wife and kids; it was a fate callously inflicted upon him by Hera:
Hera wishes to attach to him kindred blood
By his killing of the children, and I wish the same. …
So that… he may recognize what sort is Hera’s anger against him (Eur. Her. 840 – 842).
As depicted in this quote, it is clear that Heracles did not deliberately try to kill his family. Instead, it was inflicted by Iris, Hera’s messenger, with madness. This ultimately is the cause of his actions. Heracles was under the impression that he was killing Eurytheus’ kids however; he later realized that he had been killing his own family. Readers may be aware that Hera never was particularly fond of Heracles, simply because he was the product of Zeus’ affair with Aclmene. If Hera was not targeting Heracles; he would have not harmed anyone; which affirms that the death of his wife and children were out of his own control. The habit of perpetual violence is what Heracles is known for. Hera takes full advantage of that by ordering her messenger to consciously create lunacy within Heracles. She knows that his rage combined with lunacy will cause him to slaughter his family.
Eurystheus was a cousin of Heracles who also had great jealousy for him. Eurystheus was the individual who assigned the twelve labours to Heracles. The murder of Lichas was tragic and resulted from a complete misunderstanding by Heracles. Lichas was Heracles’ servant and Heracles’ wife Deianira gave the cloth to Lichas so that he could deliver it to Heracles:
Was it you, Lichas, brought this fatal gift?
Shall you be called the author of my death?
Lichas, in terror, groveled at his feet and begged for mercy–“Only let me live!” But seizing on him, the crazed Hero whirled him thrice and once again about his head and hurled him, shot as by a catapult, into the waves of the Euboic Sea. Lichas was innocent but due to a big misunderstanding Hercules threw in him the sea. (Eur. Her. 1294 – 1339).
When Heracles was given the cloth soaked in a love potion, he dismally burned to death. As his skin began to burn, he thought that Lichas was the one who tried to kill him; and his first instinct was to kill him; so he was thrown into the sea. Deianira was given the love potion and was told it would make Heracles devoted to only her; and she was insecure at the time and decided to use it. The excerpt clearly illustrates how Lichas was a victim of Heracles’ temper. However, one thing that should be clear is that if multiple people were not attempting to kill Heracles; murders like this would have never occurred. Knowing what has occurred as a result of Hera and her harsh intention to kill Heracles, he is very disturbed by the fact that he has been killing people. And to make up for that guilt, he wanted to clear his sins. So Heracles chose to speak to Apollo and the prophet advised him to do the twelve labours assigned by Eurystheus. In the play Euripides’ Heracles, the twelve labours are a huge factor to the play and express how Heracles felt great guilt after each murder because he was not intentionally trying to murder them; it was just a result of his anger that was sparked by others. Another fact that the twelves labours proved is that Heracles had good intentions because he wanted he wanted to get rid of sins and guilt by completing these labours. Although Hera instructed Eurystheus to assign difficult and life threatening tasks, Heracles still accomplished them:
This has been his life that only brings him home
to send him out again, to serve some man or other.
Now he wins through to the end of all his labors,
and now I find I am more than ever afraid. (Soph. Trach. 34 – 37).
This extract from Sophocles shows Heracles’ great determination to finish his tasks. This ultimately proves how devoted Heracles was to eliminating his sins and the guilt spiritually. Heracles now can be seen as both a strong hero and a victim depending on the situation.
Heracles was a demigod during his life and a full god after his death. Zeus and Hera play a big role in the relationships between gods and heroes. For example, Zeus often cheats on his wife Hera, and sleeps with many mortal women by disguising himself as an attractive man. And as a result of that, a baby will be born a hero and Hera will most likely get jealous because her husband is having babies with other women. Heroes most of the time do not control their own destiny at birth; but after birth, they are free to do what they like. They have to be vigilant that gods such as Hera will be there to kill or harm them. For example, Hera sent two snakes to kill baby Heracles. Iris’ statement in Euripides’ play represented a reversal of fortunes for Heracles as she states:
But against one man’s house we wage war,
Who they say is from Zeus and Alcmene.
Until he fully completed his bitter trials
Necessity was keeping him safe, nor would his father Zeus
Allow either me or Hera to harm him at any time.
But since he’s gone through the toils of Eurystheus,
Hera wishes to attach to him kindred blood
By his killing of the children, and I wish the same. …
So that… he may recognize what sort is Hera’s anger against him
And learn mine. Otherwise the gods are nowhere
And mortal things will be great, if he doesn’t pay the penalty (Eur. Her. 825-832, 840-842).
After finishing the twelve grueling labours, Heracles has been safe thus far in the story because he has always had Zeus to protect him and ensure that nothing bad happens to him. It could have also been pure fate and luck that he was not harmed thus far, because even as an infant he was targeted by Hera. Therefore, Heracles being safe thus far in the story could have been out of pure luck or from the protection of his father. In this play, Heracles goes from killing monsters that threaten humanity to killing his own children. Theseus, however, remains a friend to Heracles although they are cousins and Theseus often competes with him to be a popular hero. Theseus makes a promise to Heracles stating that he will kill the Minotaur. Heracles killed his own family including his wife and kids; Hera filled Heracles with a lot of rage and when he got very angry, he ended up killing them as a result of his rage. Hence, Heracles’ crime of murder does not cancel out the good he has done as a hero because at the end of the day, he still killed his own family; which is far worse than all the good he has done.
On the other hand, the poet Sophocles´ Trachiniae emphasizes Heracles’ heroic side because he saved a princess from getting raped by a centaur. There is no central character, it begins with the fulfillment of oracles known of the characters in the play which are Heracles and Deianeira (Papadimitropoulos 131). In Euripides’ Heracles, the author depicts how Heracles is forced to unknowingly commit prolicide but in Sophocles’ Trachiniae, Heracles is displayed as a self-centered man with divine liaisons. He saves someone, dies as a result of killing two of his enemies and his wife was tricked into giving him poison. To demonstrate the difference in tone:
But, after a time, to my joy there came
the famous Heracles, son of Alcmena and Zeus.
In close combat with Acheloüs, he won the contest (20) and set me free….
Chosen partner for the bed of Heracles,
I nurse fear after fear, always worrying
over him. I have a constant relay of troubles;
some each night dispels—each night brings others on. (30)
We have had children now, whom he sees at times,
like a farmer working an outlying field,
who sees it only when he sows and when he reaps.
This has been his life, that only brings him home
to send him out again, to serve some man or other. (35)
Now he wins through to the end of all his labors,
and now I find I am more than ever afraid.
Ever since he killed the might Iphitus,
we, his family, live here in Trachis, a stranger’s guests,
forced to leave our home. (Soph. Trach. 18-21, 27-40)
Heracles marries Deianira because he won her hand in marriage by wrestling with the river god Acheloüs, who took on the form of a centaur. Once, when Deianira and Hercules were traveling, they came to the Evenus River. A centaur named Nessos had been appointed ferryman there. As Nessos carried Deianira across, he tries to rape her, and Hercules, hearing her screams, runs to rescue her. Hercules shot the centaur in the heart with one of his Hydra blood tipped arrows. In this story, Heracles is a very heroic, strong, fearless and helpful husband who will risk his own life to save those he loves. As you can see from the text, he helps those in danger, whereas in Euripides, he shows considerably more erratic behaviour.
It is evident that Deianira is very insecure about her relationship with Heracles because she is always cautious and thinks that Heracles will marry another women. From Sophocles’ Women of Trachiniae, we see her concern and insecurity when, one day, Heracles was returning from war and she heard that he had captured a beautiful local princess and was thinking of taking her as his wife. Deianira has a love potion that was given to her by Nesseus long before, and she soaked Heracles’ shirt in it to ensure that he doesn’t cheat on her. But when Heracles wears the shirts as victory, the poison burns his skin and gives him unbearable pain. Nesseus clearly tricked Deianira into thinking it was a love potion. Her insecurity is justified, but her actions have disastrous consequences.
When looking at the circumstances surrounding Heracles’ death in Trachiniae, Nesseus and Hydra are ultimately responsible for what happened. The prophecy said how Heracles would be killed by two dead enemies, which no one really understood. However, the dead centaur Nessus tricked Deianira into using his poisoned blood, which she thought was a love potion that will make Heracles only love her and no one else. Also the Hydra, whose deadly poison on the arrow that killed Nessus, thus making his blood poisonous as well. The people to blame would be Hydra and Nessus. Fate doesn’t play that big of a role in Heracles’ death because the actions that happened could have easily been avoided however, Nessus decided to trick Heracles’ wife Deianira by poisoning her own husband. It is evident that Sophocles and Euripides have two distinct viewpoints on the virtue of Heracles.
Heracles’ downfall in both plays either caused by Nesseus’ robe or his driven madness evidently creates a division between his glorious heroic past and his weeping present. His toils are revived only to mark out this contrast and the extent of the reversal of his existence. (Papadimitropoulos 135). Heracles clearly goes through a change of status which involves the loss of the divine part of his identity. The essential parts of The Trachiniae and Heracles which overlap is that the hero is always introduced as victorious with the divine realm because of his kinship with Zeus. Heracles’ state of birth determines his fundamental ambiguity being both human and divine which makes him potentially dangerous for himself and his family. In Trachiniae, his lust for Iole causes Deianeira’s suicide and in Euriprides the madness leading to the death of his family and we can conclude that his person emobides the internal conflict between human and divine (Papadimitropoulos 136). Heracles realizes in Sophocles that only fire can purify him of Nesseus’ bestial blood and restore his identity as a civilizing hero with divine affinity. Euripides acts as a more human victory as he completed the twelve labours, appears as a family defender and committed suicide. In both tragedies, he manages to reconstruct the true content of his life to gain knowledge either by interpreting the two separate divine oracles or by realizing the link between his toils and outrageous killings that both appear to be a part of his ambivalent status (Papadimitropoulos 138).
Therefore, we can arrive at the consensus that the great Greek hero Heracles was an infatuated and concerned individual who was a victim of psychological harassment by Hera which sparked the anger within him. This is what created chaos to many around him. As discussed previously, it is evident that Heracles must learn to govern his temper and learn to control the actions he takes because it affects many people negatively. Heracles has the power to create a lot of positivity in the world; however, he must put his powers to use wisely. Many readers and viewers of the play must come to the realization that Heracles is indeed a caring father because he did not intentionally choose to kill his wife and children, the death of Lichas was a misunderstanding caused by another individual, and whenever something unfortunate occurred, Heracles would try to complete an adventurous and dangerous task to get rid of his sins and guilt. Heracles was absolutely a type of figure who loved his family; an ultimate message to take away is that you must look beyond the appearance of a person to find their true personality. We can now realize why both Sophocles and Euripides presented Heracles as having finished his labours, because the hero’s most difficult labour remained to be accomplished; whether the final direction was toward divinity or towards humanity.
Difference in Hercules and Spiderman
In many Greek hero myths and stories, protagonists are presented with a series of hardships or task they must past. In the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton Hercules tries to achieve atonement. He brainlessly accepts all the challenges that Eurystheus gave him, while Spiderman thinks thoroughly before he performs his actions.
The tradition of achieving atonement has deteriorated away from modern culture myths. In the book Spiderman the hero of Stan Lee’s novels, Spiderman tries to achieve security and stability for his community.
Hercules is driven to serve the society because of his guilt while Spiderman serves the society willingly, which shows the difference between the Greek and modern idea about serving the society. The guilt that drives Hercules and the effort to make the society a better place drives Spiderman, shows that the idea of atonement has faded away in modern myths.
Greek heroes such as Hercules show heroism that is not displayed in modern day myths. Heroes such as Hercules do many things without thinking such as, encountering many creatures and performing tasks they would have never thought possible.
For example, as Hercules tries to achieve atonement for the horrible acts that he has committed against his family and he must complete twelve tasks, one of which involves going down into the underworld: “His task was to bring Cerberus, the three-headed dog, up from Hades” (Hamilton 174). This task requires a lot of strength and courage as mentioned by Hamilton, “He lifted him and carried him all the way up to earth and on to Mycenae” (Hamilton 174).
Without Hercules this task could not be accomplished by anyone. All twelve of the tasks that Hercules was to perform didn’t not require much intelligence or cleverness, just strength. In many Greek myths there are no brains involved in the deed or action executed, just senseless killing and other tests of strength. On the other hand Spiderman performs his heroic acts with not only with his strength but also with intelligence. By using intelligence Spiderman has a much better chance of accomplishing his duty. For example, while the Green Goblin tied up Spiderman he was, “…to quickly think how to escape” (Lee 87). Greek myths have evolved form heroes performing actions brainlessly to heroes performing action with intellectual aid.
Many Greek heroes perform lawful acts for their community that modern day heroes do not perform. Many Greek heroes serve their community because they want to achieve atonement for the acts that they have performed. In the case of Hercules, “…a wrong who has sent the madness upon him” (Hamilton 169). Hercules had gone mad after his wife, Megara has borne him three sons, “He killed his children and Megara, too, as she tried to protect the youngest (Hamilton 169). As the story continues to go on Hercules lives the rest of his life wanting to avenge his own life for the awful act that he has committed. As Hercules rushes out to kill himself his friend Theseus stood before him telling him why he shouldn’t kill himself: “Even so, suffer and be strong,” (Hamilton 170).
Theseus is implying that that Hercules should be strong and wait for death because, “… he rejected the idea that a man could be guilty of a murder when he had not known what he was doing” (Hamilton 170). And so Hercules went on to his cousin Eurystheus and there his cousin gave him twelve tasks that he must perform in order to achieve death. As Hercules performs this action, he almost accomplishes them with ease and after finishing all of the tasks no death had been brought upon him so he brought death upon himself, and therefore avenged his actions against his family.
In the case of Spiderman, he serves his community in order to have a safe and secure community for himself and for the city. Spiderman willingly risks his life to keep the community in which he lives a safe place. Clearly myths and stories have evolved from serving the community in order to achieve eternal piece to thinking about others and performing deeds for others.
In conclusion, Hercules and Spiderman have many differences but their biggest difference is that Hercules performs his duties and heroic acts brainlessly, while Spiderman performs his heroic duties with intelligence and strategy. Our modern day myths no longer have the idea of atonement instead, the heroes serve their community willingly. This is what makes a hero a true hero.
Male Identity and Greek Mythology’s Hercules in Films
Famed for his mighty muscles, Hercules was the son of the mortal woman Alcmene and the god Zeus. Hercules performed many legendary feats of strength, the first of which came as an infant: when Zeus’s wife Hera placed two serpents in his crib, Hercules quickly strangled them. After he had grown to manhood Hera got revenge by driving Hercules briefly mad, causing him to slay his own wife and children. As penance Hercules performed his famous 12 labors (or tasks), which included killing the Hydra, capturing Cerberus the dog, and cleaning the stables of Augeas.
Hercules appears in many ancient Greek stories and is one of mythology’s best-known heroes. Mythologies are fantasies that have the power to endure in people’s minds and culture through time. For this, mythological stories and characters have been part of substantial themes of films in the history of filmmaking. They have a significant place in the world of filmmaking because mythological stories and characters have the ample amount of mystery and magic that has the ability to capture the audience’s attention and imagination.
Storylines may differ or be similar to the myths itself but the essence of the mythological character exudes.
One such masculine and mythological character is the half-man half-god Greek hero, Hercules. This mythological character with extraordinary physical strength has been featured and appeared in numerous films in the big screen and television. With the different depictions of Hercules, this paper then is an assessment on how he was portrayed and presented in films. The materials considered for this study were Disney’s animated film “Hercules” released on 1997 and Roger Young’s miniseries entitled “Hercules. Half Man. Half God. All Power. ” released on 2004 by the Hallmark Channel.
Hercules on Disney’s Animated Film According to the Big Cartoon Database (n. d. ) “Hercules” was a “Disney update on classic mythology”, an animated film about his journey towards finding a place where he belonged. Here, Hercules, the son of Greek gods Zeus and Hera was born god-like strength in Olympus, the home of the gods. When Hades, the God of the Underworld, learns that his plan of domination in the future will be affected because of Hercules’ existence, he summons his two followers, Pain and Panic, de-immortalize the child Hercules and kill him in the mortal world.
Pain and Panic, failed in their mission and only succeeds in making Hercules mortal. No mortal beings are allowed to dwell in Olympus, which leaves Hercules in the care of Alcmene and Amphitryon, the childless mortal couple who found him on the bushes. Hercules later grows into a misfit adolescent because of his extraordinary strength that always gets him in the center of chaos. His adoptive parents later tells him of his past and a medal found with him that is a link to Zeus, his father. Hercules then journeys to the temple of the gods.
Zeus appears and confirms Hercules thoughts. Zeus tells him that the only way that Hercules can enter Olympus again is that if he becomes an earthly hero to gain his godliness. The adolescent Hercules then goes on a pursuit of a hero status with the help and instructions from the satyr, Philoctetes. He achieves the hero status later in adulthood but is perplexed because he still is not a god. When Hades learns that Hercules still lives, he orders his soul-bound follower Megara to deceive Hercules.
Hades tries to block his path to being a God with calamities and creatures like the multi-headed, Hydra. Hercules becomes a God when he sacrifices himself for Megara. The animated film ends with Hercules choosing to stay in the mortal world to be with Megara. The most obvious difference of the animated film from the original Greek myth of Hercules is that the dreadful factors of his origins were revised and some components of modern day popular culture were utilized. According to Royalty. nu (n. d. ), Hercules was born to Alcmene, wife of Amphityron, but fathered by the Greek God Zeus.
Zeus deceived Alcmene into thinking that he was Amphitryon on a night when the real Amphitryon was away. Hera, Zeus’ wife loathed Hercules and tried several times to try and kill Hercules, much unlike in the animated film, where Hera as Hercules’ mother doted on him. The animated film focused on Hercules’ early life; the famous ten labors of Hercules and the other half of his life was not included. The circumstances of the Greek myth characters like Megara, Zeus, Hera, Aphitryon, Alcmene and the rest included in the film were greatly modified to fit the storyline of the animated film.
Apart from that Hercules’ twin brother, Iphicles was excluded in the storyline. Greek mythology portrays Hercules as a character with “low intelligence and terrible temper”(Royalty. nu, n. d. ). Although there was much difference from the original Greek myth, Hercules’ character as half-man half-god hero with weaknesses was still portrayed. Hercules’ character in the animated film was a bit naive but he was not quick to loose his temper. Audiences were also given a taste of Hercules’ famous battles with calamities and creatures.
Hercules on Roger Young’s Miniseries According to FilmAffinity (n. d. ), this Hercules miniseries is about “the gifted child born of a blood greater than mortal who would become the most powerful of all gods”. Roger Young’s miniseries starts with how Hercules was conceived. Similar to the Greek myth, the dissolute God Zeus deludes the Princess of Thebes, Alcmene, into thinking that he is the princess’ husband, Amphitryon, and then forces himself on Alcmene on a night where the princess was awaiting her husband’s return.
When Alcmene gives birth to twin boys, Hercules and Iphicles, Alcmene and Amphitryon are perplexed on which baby is fathered by Zeus and whose is Amphitryon. They later realize that Hercules is Zeus’ son when he kills the snakes with his bare hands an infant. Hercules develops into a lumbering young man, “rejected by his mother, envied by his brother Iphicles and loathed by Zeus’ wife Hera” (FilmAffinity). Similar to the Greek myth while Alcmene reserves no love for Hercules, he grows up with Amphitryon doting on him and teaching him. Hercules then falls for Megara but was rejected.
Their brief connection results to a child. When he lost his temper and accidentally hurt his teacher Linus during a class, Amphitryon sends far away to be taught under the care and instruction of a centaur, Kiron. Hercules becomes an agile adult and more capable to handle his great strength. He then was married to Megara after he helps the king from the creature Hydra. Megara and her sons, turn out to be “tools of the vengeful Hera, plotting against him and initiating events that lead to his banishment from his people” (FilmAffinity).
To atone the punishment that he deserved in killing his own children, Hercules agrees when he was given difficult challenges which were set out to destroy him. With his ally Linus, he travels the Stymphalian Swams to the River styx of the underworld, faced with challenges and monstrous creatures that was arranged to kill him. Hercules willingly continues on this journey that afterward made him a “legend on Earth and achieve immortality in the heavens” (FilmAffinity). With the storyline of the miniseries, it was clear that the filmmakers focused on the raging politics between the noble mortals and their want of power and control.
It is important to note that this miniseries was one of the few productions that embarked on Hercules true conception with regards to the original Greek myth. Hercules’ character of recklessness and short temper was portrayed true to the original Greek myth during his younger adult days. There were slight alterations unto how certain events happened to the characters but the miniseries was in a way loyal to the Hercules’ myth. For example, Hercules develops a more profound thinking later on the miniseries but there was no hint of that according to the Greek Myth.
The Gods Hera and Zeus were not given much attention during the miniseries and only appeared briefly. The supposed raging battle between Hera and Zeus was implied but not shown comprehensively. Conclusion In conclusion, both films were individual depictions of Hercules’ character as the legendary Greek hero. He is a paragon of action and masculinity, and thus embodies characteristics such as great strength, great courage, and great appetites, including erotic adventures with both women and boys or young men.
These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure that used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children. Aelian, while he was a champion and a great warrior, he was not above cheating and using any unfair trick to his advantage. However, he was renowned as having “made the world safe for mankind” by destroying many dangerous monsters, and he was also held up as an example for never having attacked first, but for having conquered all merely by defending himself when attacked, and protecting the helpless and distraught.
His self-sacrifice obtained him the ascent to the Olympian realms and he was welcomed by the gods. He represents a balanced, complete energetic principle of the masculine, partaking of both light and dark influences. Historically, the strong American presence in post-war Italy is evident in the very physical presence of Steve Reeves as Hercules. Moreover, the film’s masculinization of revenge also seems to reflect the ideals of post-war society. Instead, as the character of Hercules suggests, it is more important for the wandering male, and also the foreign influence, to be incorporated into the domestic sphere.
Hercules preserves the morality at the centre of the family. Paradoxically, however the interference of Hercules also ensures continued dependence on foreign influence and protection. Each film represented the filmmakers approach on representing a storyline associated with Hercules’ myth. Disney may have chosen to emphasize more on Hercules’ journey to his fate in a more conducive way that was appealing since their audiences are young people. Roger Young’s miniseries took more of a similar likeness to the original myth although alterations were made on how events were played because the storyline demanded that it be so.
Works Cited FilmAffinity. Hercules (TV). FilmAffinity – MovieAffinity. Retrieved November 2, 2006 from http://www. filmaffinity. com/en/film260353. html The Big Cartoon Database. Hercules Story Details. The Big Cartoon Database. Retrieved November 2, 2006 from http://www. bcdb. com/cartoon_synopsis/6-Hercules. html Royalty. nu. Hercules, Young Hercules. The Gordon Knot Webring. Retrieved November 2, 2006 from http://www. royalty. nu/legends/Hercules. html
Greek Mythology and Hercules
In Disney’s animated variation of the timeless folklore story, Hercules, they depict Hercules as a soft, klutzy, heroic superhuman. According to the traditional Greek mythology story, Hercules conserves peoples deals with his bravery and strength. Murder, catastrophe, and bloody battles spread throughout the pages of Greek mythologies. It is apparent that the Disney version of the Hercules myth is not a proper one. Understood for entertaining young movie-goers, Disney can not supply an absolutely precise representation of the real Hercules’s adventures, nor of Greek and Roman Folklore.
Resemblances and differences occur between the film and the misconception and takes place in the birth, life and death of Hercules. One of the lots of mistakes in Disney’s Hercules is Hercules’s training. In the Disney motion picture, Zeus and Hera, the parents of Hercules, reign as king and queen of the Gods. Disney represents Hera as Hercules mom, however, this is not true. He ends up being a demigod when Discomfort and Panic try to eliminate him with a potion however Hercules does not consume the last drop.
Hercules grows up on Earth as a mortal with his mortal parents.
In the folklore variation, Hera, the wife of Zeus, dislikes Hercules, an outcome of Zeus sleeping with Amphitryon’s spouse, Alcmene. Born from a mortal mother, for that reason, makes Hercules a demigod. Hercules reminds Hera of her hubby’s unfaithfulness and even presumes regarding send snakes to kill Hercules. This misconception of affairs and vengeance would appeal more to an older audience. Another mistake in Disney’s Hercules appears when Hercules concerns his strength and discovers it difficult to suit.
As a naughty teenager, he always causes havoc any place he goes. In order for Hercules to join his moms and dads on Mt. Olympus, he needs to gain his godhood by becoming a hero. Hercules goes to see Philoctetes, a fitness instructor of heroes, who refuses to train him up until Zeus strikes him with his lightning bolt. In the folklore version, by the time Hercules turns seventeen, he solitarily eliminates a lion scaring the land near Thebes. He hones his battle skills with his adopted daddy and other aides.
Later, Hera sends Hercules into a fit of rage and he kills children. Feeling the need to make amends, Hercules sets out to perform a number of tasks given to him as punishment where he uses his strength. Lastly, in Disney’s Hercules, Pegasus, a winged horse materializes from the clouds. Zeus and Hera gives the playful side kick to Hercules as a gift at birth. Pegasus acts as a true and helpful friend to Hercules throughout the movie. He takes his best friend with him on his many adventures.
One of the best known mythological creatures in Greek mythology is Pegasus and often depicted in books, movies and video games. In mythology, Pegasus was born from the evil blood of Medusa when Perseus decapitates her. A a matter of fact, Hercules never comes across Pegasus in Greek mythology. Disney’s version of Hercules has many errors in comparison to the mythology version but also includes many similarities. One similarity in the movie and the myth reveals the strength of Hercules.
Many notice his power and muscle very early in his life when he strangles the snakes as an infant. This episode takes place in the Disney movie as well in the classic mythology. This exhibits the first sign of Hercules’s amazing superhuman strength. In Greek mythology, Hercules performs some of the most difficult labors from killing the nine-headed Hydra to trapping a boar and saves peoples’ lives across the land. By the end of his twelve labors, Hercules becomes a true hero in the eyes of the Greeks.
His remarkable strength and heroic qualities allows him to become a famous character in classic Roman and Greek mythology. Overall, this animated Disney film makes for enjoyable family entertainment, however, the writers did not do justice to Hercules. If Disney would have made the movie serious or true to the mythology stories, however, it would not appeal to young movie-goers. This could result in a decrease in Disney revenue. Disney tries to make touching and exciting movies for kids and making this movie with such graphic scenes would be out of their realm of entertainment.
Hercules on Roger Young’s Miniseries
The most obvious difference of the animated film from the original Greek myth of Hercules is that the dreadful factors of his origins were revised and some components of modern day popular culture were utilized. According to Royalty. nu (n. d. ), Hercules was born to Alcmene, wife of Amphityron, but fathered by the Greek God Zeus. Zeus deceived Alcmene into thinking that he was Amphitryon on a night when the real Amphitryon was away. Hera, Zeus’ wife loathed Hercules and tried several times to try and kill Hercules, much unlike in the animated film, where Hera as Hercules’ mother doted on him.
The animated film focused on Hercules’ early life; the famous ten labors of Hercules and the other half of his life was not included. The circumstances of the Greek myth characters like Megara, Zeus, Hera, Aphitryon, Alcmene and the rest included in the film were greatly modified to fit the storyline of the animated film. Apart from that Hercules’ twin brother, Iphicles was excluded in the storyline.
Greek mythology portrays Hercules as a character with “low intelligence and terrible temper”(Royalty. nu, n. d. ).
Although there was much difference from the original Greek myth, Hercules’ character as half-man half-god hero with weaknesses was still portrayed. Hercules’ character in the animated film was a bit naive but he was not quick to loose his temper. Audiences were also given a taste of Hercules’ famous battles with calamities and creatures. According to FilmAffinity (n. d. ), this Hercules miniseries is about “the gifted child born of a blood greater than mortal who would become the most powerful of all gods”.
Roger Young’s miniseries starts with how Hercules was conceived. Similar to the Greek myth, the dissolute God Zeus deludes the Princess of Thebes, Alcmene, into thinking that he is the princess’ husband, Amphitryon, and then forces himself on Alcmene on a night where the princess was awaiting her husband’s return. When Alcmene gives birth to twin boys, Hercules and Iphicles, Alcmene and Amphitryon are perplexed on which baby is fathered by Zeus and whose is Amphitryon. They later realize that Hercules is Zeus’ son when he kills the snakes with his bare hands an infant.
Hercules develops into a lumbering young man, “rejected by his mother, envied by his brother Iphicles and loathed by Zeus’ wife Hera” (FilmAffinity). Similar to the Greek myth while Alcmene reserves no love for Hercules, he grows up with Amphitryon doting on him and teaching him. Hercules then falls for Megara but was rejected. Their brief connection results to a child. When he lost his temper and accidentally hurt his teacher Linus during a class, Amphitryon sends far away to be taught under the care and instruction of a centaur, Kiron. Hercules becomes an agile adult and more capable to handle his great strength.
He then was married to Megara after he helps the king from the creature Hydra. Megara and her sons, turn out to be “tools of the vengeful Hera, plotting against him and initiating events that lead to his banishment from his people” (FilmAffinity). To atone the punishment that he deserved in killing his own children, Hercules agrees when he was given difficult challenges which were set out to destroy him. With his ally Linus, he travels the Stymphalian Swams to the River styx of the underworld, faced with challenges and monstrous creatures that was arranged to kill him.
Hercules willingly continues on this journey that afterward made him a “legend on Earth and achieve immortality in the heavens” (FilmAffinity). With the storyline of the miniseries, it was clear that the filmmakers focused on the raging politics between the noble mortals and their want of power and control. It is important to note that this miniseries was one of the few productions that embarked on Hercules true conception with regards to the original Greek myth. Hercules’ character of recklessness and short temper was portrayed true to the original Greek myth during his younger adult days.
There were slight alterations unto how certain events happened to the characters but the miniseries was in a way loyal to the Hercules’ myth. For example, Hercules develops a more profound thinking later on the miniseries but there was no hint of that according to the Greek Myth. The Gods Hera and Zeus were not given much attention during the miniseries and only appeared briefly. The supposed raging battle between Hera and Zeus was implied but not shown comprehensively.
In conclusion, both films were individual depictions of Hercules’ character as the legendary Greek hero. Each film represented the filmmakers approach on representing a storyline associated with Hercules’ myth. Disney may have chosen to emphasize more on Hercules’ journey to his fate in a more conducive way that was appealing since their audiences are young people. Roger Young’s miniseries took more of a similar likeness to the original myth although alterations were made on how events were played because the storyline demanded that it be so.