The Incorporation of Greek Mythology and Religion in Hercules

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

The film, Hercules, incorporates concepts of Greek mythology and religion, such as fate, belief systems and relationships between mortals and immortals, to some extent. Throughout Brett Ratner’s film, Hercules, the concept of fate is explored through prophets and sacred sites. Elements of the original myth of Heracles are seen in the appropriated version of the myth, which is presented to the modern audience. Additionally, the relationships between immortals and mortals, presented throughout the original myth, have influenced the modern adaption of the myth. 4th para and clincher.

The concept of fate is explored throughout Brett Ratner’s film, Hercules, with clear references made to Greek sacred places and the self-made prophet, Amphiaraus. The ancient Greeks beliefs in fate are explored through Amphiaraus, who was given hints from the gods, showing him that “within a week, [he will die] in a place that looks an awful lot like hell”. The ancient Greeks would seek the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi for advice and guidance, as did Heracles. In the original Heracles myth, Heracles travelled to the Oracle at Delphi, after being driven mad and killing his family, where “he inquired of the god where he should dwell”. “The Pythian priestess… told him to dwell in Tiryns, serving Eurystheus for twelve years and to perform the ten labours imposed on him”, to receive immortality. The film does present elements of this, however, appropriates the original myth, as the self-proclaimed prophet, Amphiaraus, “consulted the Oracle of Delphi on… [Hercules] behalf”, rather than Heracles receiving his prophecy himself. The adaptations of the original Heracles myth presented in the film show how the myth has been appropriated in the film to suit modern audiences and the director’s purpose. However, continues to incorporate the concepts of Greek mythology and religion.

Ratner’s sword and sandals film, Hercules, integrates components of the original myth of Heracles, however, inconsistencies between the original myth and the modern adaptation have been drawn. Ancient myth presents Heracles as a demi-god, as “Zeus shared the bed and love of the neat-ankled daughter of Electryon”, Alcmene, and “bore… [Heracles] through the embrace of the son of Cronos lord of dark clouds.” The film’s Hercules is presented as a mortal, who uses the myth of Heracles to portray himself as the son of Zeus, a demi-god. Additionally, the infamous twelve labours of Heracles, are embedded into the stories told by the storyteller, Iolaus, to build Hercules’ demi-god like character and image. The twelve labours in the film are presented mostly as dream sequences, which allude to the original myth. The twelfth labour ordered by King Eurystheus and the most difficult, was the task of retrieving the dog Cerberus up from Tartarus. According to the historian, Apollodorus, “Heracles found… [Cerberus] at the gates of Acheron, and, cased in his cuirass and covered by the lion’s kin, he flung his arm round the head of the brute, and though the dragon in its tail bit him, he never relaxed his grip and pressure till it yielded”. After Cerberus yielded, Heracles presented the three-headed dog to King Eurystheus, completing his final labour. However, the film only alludes to the labour through the three wolves of King Eurystheus, who killed Hercules’ family. The myth presented in the film has made altercations to the original myth, however, is clearly influenced by the original myth of Heracles and his twelve labours.

The mythological and religious concept of relationships between mortals and immortals, has been presented through the power immortals possess over mortals and the friendships between them. The myth of Heracles depicts the goddess Hera driving Heracles mad, to the point of killing his children, wife and nephews. “The madman”, Heracles, “hadst three children… and all of them hast thou in thy frenzy slain”, and in his waking questioned whether he had “suffered something from… [Hera’s] enmity”. The film, however, appropriates the myth and depicts King Eurystheus as the slayer of Hercules’ family, not the madness put upon him by Hera. Athena is seen throughout the original myth to be watching over him during his labours and battles, depicting her as a protector and helper of Heracles. Athena is depicted watching over Heracles, as he kills the triple-bodied monster, Geryon. The film appropriates the myth by replacing the gods and demi-gods, whom aided Heracles, with a group of warriors, which he accumulated during his many adventures. The relationships between mortals and immortals is a concept of Greek mythology and religion that has been incorporated in the film, Hercules, however, has been appropriated during the formation of the film.

Topic sentence – the use of concepts of Greek mythology and religion in films shows the continued influence of Greek mythology in modern times – modern audiences still find mythology fascinating after all these centuries. P1 – by using the influence of the original Greek myths in film, it has made it more accessible to modern audiences – and by modifying the original myths, directors have made the myths seem more relatable to the modern audience. P2 – the original Greek myths consist of incest, adultery, etc. and by appropriating these elements, the myth is changed to follow modern society’s standards and values. The appropriated myths still are clearly influenced by Greek myth and show the role of the gods and heroes, however, are presented more as fables, for people to learn from. Clincher – the strong beliefs of the ancient Greeks that influenced their everyday lives, have continued to influence individuals through to the modern times – literature, films etc. – in a more entertaining sense than education.

The film, Hercules, incorporates concepts of Greek mythology and religion, such as fate, belief systems and relationships between mortals and immortals, to some extent. Throughout Ratner’s film, Hercules, the concept of fate is explored through prophets and sacred sites. Elements of the original myth of Heracles, and the relationships between immortals and mortals, are incorporated in the appropriated adaption of the myth. 4th and clincher.

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