Hercules

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Background

The story of Hercules, actually named Herakles, started with the all mighty Zeus. He was married to Hera, The queen of the gods. He cheated on his wife with a woman named Alcmene, and thus Hercules was born. His name meant "glorious gift of Hera" which made her even more mad. She tried to kill the baby by sending snakes into his crib and he killed them (he was still a baby). He grew older and married a woman named Megara and had children. Hera being still mad at him for being alive gave him hell. She sent a "fit of madness" to him and in this rage he killed his wife and children. He regained his senses and and learned what he had done so he went to Apollo to rid him of his sins. Apollo sent him to do the famous 12 labors meaning he would have to serve Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns and Mycenae, for twelve years, in punishment for the murders. After completion of these he wed but another time to a beautiful woman named Deianira. She brought him a cloak which she smeared a deadly balm on it given to her from a centaur. She smeared this thinking that it gave eternal love to her but the centaur lied. Hercules told his friends to burn him alive because he knew that would be better than living through the excruciating balm. So Hera came down and took Hercules on her chariot to Olympus.
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Significance

The significance of this heroes life is that he was faced with the most dreadful, terrible life and he lived through it and accomplished those twelve labors and faught those snakes off. His life was basically set for him by his parents when Zeus and Aclamene made him knowing Hera would send hell upon him the rest of his life. He was a couragous and strong man who profecies said would be great and he was. The deeper meaning behind this man's story is to never give up because he was born and already wanted be killed but he fought through it and never ended his own life.

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http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/bio.html