Hercules: A Greek Tale Essay

1494 words - 6 pages

Hercules, or known in Latin as Heracles, was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity. In art Hercules was portrayed as a powerful, muscular man wearing lion's skin and armed with a huge club. He was also described as being a macho man buffoon, who was very impulsive. Hercules’ home and birthing place is in Thebes, Greece. Thebes is a city in central Greece. It plays as an important setting in many Greek myths, such as the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and many other important roles in Greek Mythology. The demigod, Hercules has an interesting origin, he is most famous for his 12 labors, and leaves a legacy in words and expressions.
Hercules has an interesting origin. Hercules was conceived by Zeus of divine nature and a mortal woman named Alcmene. Zeus appeared to her one night disguised as her husband, Amphitryon. Her actual husband reappeared to her causing Alcmene to have two sons one of divinity and the other of human nature, their names, Hercules and Iphicles. Hera, not to pleased by her husbands deceitful ways devised a plan to steal Hercules’ birthright of being the high king. She used the titan Lithia to slow down the birth of Iphicles and Hercules. Alcmene’s faithful servant Galanthis fooled Lithia long enough for baby Hercules to be born. Alcmene, fearing the goddesses wrath abandons Hercules, but this plan will not suffice. Athena finds the lad and cares for him. She brings Hercules to Hera to be breastfeed giving him superhuman strength. “After Athena returned, Hercules to Alcmene. His jealous stepmother, Hera, tried to murder the infant by putting a serpent in his cradle” (Leiff). However, Hercules thought the snakes were just amusing toys, and squeezed them until they died. Everyone surrounding Hercules was amazed at how strong he was as an infant. It was at this point, that Hercules actually earns the name we know him so famously by. (Alcmene and Amphitryon originally named him Alcaeus.) Since part of the reason he has gained his superhuman strength is because of Hera's steroid filled breast milk, everyone around began calling him Hercules ,which in greek means “glory by the aid of Hera.”
Hercules is most known for having to complete 12 labors. These labors were designated to him through King Eurystheus because of the unspeakable acts he committed. Hercules sought out many prophets, only in the end to return to King Eurystheus to complete his 12 suicidal labors. One of the last 6 labors completed was to capture the Cretan Bull. Minos promised Poseidon that he would sacrifice whatever the god sent to him. Poseidon sent a great bull, but Minos thought it was too beautiful to kill. So he killed another bull, and Poseidon grew angry so he made it rampage through the city of Crete. Hercules wrestled the bull to the ground. He carried the bull back to Eurystheus, but it could not be tamed so Eurystheus set it free. The 8th labor Hercules had to complete was stealing the Mares of Diomedes. Diomedes’ Mares are...

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