Hercules Essay

Adrianna Barnhart Mrs. Browning Blk. 6 English 10 9-19-12 The Story of Hercules [pic][pic][pic] Hercules, aka Herakles, was a buff god. He was the god of power. His father Zeus was the god of the skies, his mother a mortal, making Hercules a demigod. Alcmene, Hercules mother, wasn’t the wife of Zeus, Hera the goddess of earth was, and she was livid. In fact, Hera was so livid she threatened the baby’s life by sending in to Hercules crib two serpents. According to the legend, the serpents were sent in to strangle the baby, but Hercules just sat up wrapped his baby hands around their necks strangling them.

His failure to die in this scenario would affect him for years to come. (Carr, Karen PhD) Hera was determined to make Hercules’ life hell for being born and killing her prized snakes, so when Hercules married and had two kids, she sought it a good time to make Hercules, literally, crazy. She summoned madness on him, causing him to lose his mind and kill his wife and children. When he came back to his normal state, he was upset to see his love along with his children lifeless in their home. He sent for Apollo to help him rid his woes.

Apollo told him in order to liberate him from his sins, Hercules had to report to King Eurystheus and partake in 10 labors. Hercules, wanting be released from his depravities, walks to King Eurystheus’ palace, ready to perform his first task. (Carr, Karen PhD) His first mission was to kill The Nemean Lion, and bring King Eurystheus the hide. The Nemean Lion lived in Nemea, where he terrorized the hills and villages with the area. He hiked for a long time until he eventually stopped in a town known as Cleonae, where he stayed with a man named Molorchus.

Under the company of Hercules, Molorchus proposed the suggestion of sacrificing an animal for a good hunt. Intrigued by the idea, Hercules recommended that they wait 30 days for Hercules to come back, where they would sacrifice the animal to Zeus; however, if Hercules didn’t return, Molorchus would sacrifice the animal to him, the man who died a hero. With the plan intact, Hercules left for Nemea. Hercules arrived in Nemea and located the lion. He soon found his arrows were pointless against the lion so he would need to find a better strategy.

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He followed the lion to a cave with two entrances; he blocked one with sticks and stones and went inside through the other. Without any hesitation, he threw his arms around the lion and strangled him. He then headed back to Cleonae and caught up to Molorchus on the 30th day, where they sacrificed to Zeus together. (The Nemean Lion) After the sacrifice, Hercules went back to Mycenae to deliver the lion to King Eurystheus. The king impressed and frightened Hercules completed the labor, built himself a little room made of bronze under his palace, so Hercules couldn’t reach him.

He then banished Hercules from the city and started giving him tasks through a herald. (The Nemean Lion) His second duty was a bit more challenging. Hercules was required to slay the Lernean Hydra. The hydra lived in the swamps of Lernea, where it enjoyed bullying the townspeople. A hydra is a poisonous serpent with eight mortal heads and one immortal head and when one head is chopped off two grow back in its place. Knowing the assignment was nearly impossible, he acquired help from his trusty nephew Iolaus. When they reached the monster, Hercules went straight up and bashed it in the head with his club.

He discovered the hydra wouldn’t die from chopping its heads off, so he told Iolaus to torch the neck of the hydra after Hercules cut it off. They continued this strategy until the last head came off. When it came down to the immortal head, Hercules buried it in the ground then laid a boulder on top of the dirt. They then traveled back to Mycenae to tell the king, however, Eurystheus wouldn’t accept this labor because Hercules had help. (The Lernean Hydra) Disappointed, Hercules waited for his new orders. King Eurystheus wanted the Hind of Ceryneia.

A hind is a female, red deer and this one had gold horns and bronze hooves. This hind was Diana’s prized possession, so killing the deer was not an option. Hercules hunted the deer for a year before finally receiving the opportunity to trap her. The deer stopped for a drink of water, and at the opportune moment, Hercules shot her. As he was taking the hind to Mycenae, he ran in to Apollo and Diana. Diana was upset that Hercules had shot her deer, but before she confiscated it, Hercules told her the truth, so she instead healed the deer’s wounds and sent Hercules on his way to King Eurystheus. The Hind of Ceryneia Diana’s Pet Deer) With the completion of the 3rd task, it was time for Hercules to complete his 4th. Hercules had to deliver King Eurystheus the Erymanthian Boar alive. The boar lived on a mountain Erymanthus that attacked men and animals all over the countryside destroying everything in its path. Just to clarify, the boar attacked the men and stuff, not the mountain. Anyway, Hercules, after witnessing his friend Chiron die, found the boar and chased it all around the mountain. He chased the boar until it ran into the undergrowth where the boar became trapped in the snow.

Hercules stabbed the boar with his spear then carried it on his shoulders to Mycenae. The king scared once more, hid himself in his little bronze room under his palace. (The Erymanthian Boar) As Hercules accomplished things that no normal man could, King Eurystheus started hiding much more often. Wanting to not be scared for once, he assigned Hercules the responsibility of cleaning the Stables of Augeas. King Augeas had the most cattle in the country and the thought of someone cleaning the stables in one day was assumed to be impossible, that is until Hercules came along.

Hercules, without talking to Eurystheus, made his way to King Augeas and told him he would clean his stables in one day if Augeas would pay him 1/10 of his cattle. King Augeas agreed, and Hercules got to work. He started by tearing a big hole in the in the cattle yard then ripping another in the opposite wall. Next, he dug two trenches that connected to two different rivers that flowed by. The water rushed in the hole of the cattle yard and out the other carrying out the stinky mess. He then plugged the holes and went to get his payment.

However, King Augeas refused to give Hercules the reward and told him to take it to court. Hercules did and had Augeas’ son testify that he promised the reward, the court ruled Augeas to pay him. Flustered, King Augeas paid Hercules then banished Hercules and his son from the city. Hercules went back to Mycenae to tell King Eurystheus the good news, but was instead disappointed to find the king not validating the task because he was paid. (The Augean Stables Hercules Cleans Up) For the 6th labor, Hercules was told to shoo away the Stymphalian Birds that gathered at the lake of Stymphalos.

It is undefined whether or not these birds were man-eating. Hercules not quite sure how to get rid of the birds is saved by Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war strategy, gave him a pair of bronze Krotala, which are noise making clappers. Hercules gladly accepted the gift and went on with his journey. Once he was near the lake of Stymphalos, he began climbing the adjacent mountain. At the top of the mountain, he clapped the Krotala then shot at the birds as they took off. He then returned to Mycenae for his next set of instructions. (The Stymphalian Birds) His 7th set of orders, bring the Cretan Bull.

The Cretan bull was sent as a sacrifice from Poseidon to Minos, the king of Crete. In order to keep his throne, he promised Poseidon he would sacrifice any animal he sent him. Poseidon sent this bull however; Minos thought it was too beautiful to kill, so he sacrificed a different one. Outraged, Poseidon cursed Minos’ wife to fall in love with the bull, and when she birthed a Minotaur, Minos concealed him in the Labyrinth. Hercules easily located the bull, wrestled it, and then brought it back to King Eurystheus. The king let it go where it wandered around and terrorized Greece for most of its life. The Cretan Bull) His 8th task came and Hercules once more had it completed. He was told to steal the man-eating horses of Diomedes. Determined to become one step closer to freedom, Hercules sailed with a posse of volunteers across the Augean sea to Bistonia. He and his companions took on those guarding the horses, easily defeating them; they attempted to steal the horses. At the sight of the thieves, a gang of Bistonian soldiers flanked the group, but their efforts were proven pointless when Hercules and the rest of the group fled for Mycenae along with the horses.

Once Hercules delivered the horses, King Eurystheus let the mares free where they were eaten by wild beasts. (The Man-Eating Horses of Diomedes) For his 9th, Hercules was sent to retrieve the belt of Hippolyte, the queen of the Amazons. The Amazons were a tribe of women soldiers named after the Greek word meaning “missing one breast. ” They received this name when a soldier’s right breast got in the way of her spear. Queen Hippolyte’s belt was a leather one, worn for carrying her spear and sword, given to her by Ares. Eurystheus wanted the belt as a birthday present for his daughter.

Hercules and friends sailed for the land of the Amazons, when they arrived, Hippolyte arrived to greet them. She and Hercules began talking and when he told her why he needed her belt she agreed to give it to him. However, Hera was on the island too. She told all the Amazons Hercules was here to kidnap the queen. When Hercules saw he was under attack, he drew his sword and killed the queen, then took her belt, killed the enemy, and set sail for Mycenae. (Hippolyte’s Belt Hercules Fights the Amazons) His final labor, his 10th, one of the most challenging labors Hercules was to perform, was the retrieval of the Cattle of Geryon.

His final task was for Hercules to travel across the world to Erythia, an island near the boundary of Europe and Libya. Geryon was a monster who had three sets of legs (6 in total) and three heads. He kept a herd of cattle guarded by Orthus, a 2 headed hound, and the herdsman Eurytion. Once Hercules reached his destination, he built two mountains to symbolize the journey he took (these mountains would later be known as the Pillars of Hercules. ) He killed Orthus and then Geryon and left with the cattle. Two sons of Poseidon attempted to steal the cattle, so Hercules killed them.

Later on the journey, one of the bulls escaped to Sicily, then made its way to the neighboring country Italy, which was named after the Greek word Italus meaning “bull. ” Hercules left the herd to Hephaestus while he chased after the cow. Hercules found it in Eryx’s herd, so he wrestled him for it and won, then returned it to the herd. Hera didn’t want Hercules to accomplish the labor, so she sent a gadfly to attack the cattle. The herd scattered everywhere, and Hercules once more had to retrieve them, when he gathered them all up, he went straight to the king.

Once they were delivered to the king, Eurystheus sacrificed them to Hera, an interesting coincidence. (The Cattle of Geryon) Hercules now having completed his ten labors was caught by surprise when King Eurystheus told him he had two more labors because he didn’t count the Hydra or his cleaning of the stables. Eurystheus was hungry I guess, but nothing would satisfy him except for the golden apples of Hespirides. The garden was guarded by a 100 headed dragon, Ladon, and by nymphs who were daughters of Atlas, the titan who held the sky and earth on his soldiers.

Hercules had a long journey fighting through Poseidon’s sons and killing the eagle that attacked Prometheus, that once he caught a break, he realized he wasn’t even sure of where to go. He saw Atlas on the side of the road just holding up the world. Hercules asked Atlas if he would go to the garden and get him some apples. Atlas agreed, so he gave the world to Hercules. Once he was back, Atlas asked if he could take the apples to Eurystheus. Hercules agreed, but asked to put on padding. Once the world was on Atlas so Hercules could put on his padding, Hercules grabbed he apples and ran off towards Mycenae.

Athena came and confiscated and brought the apples back to the garden because they belonged to the gods. (The Apples of Hesperides) His final labor was to go to the underworld and steal the beast, Cerberus. The underworld was ruled by Hades and his wife Persephone and only the dead were allowed in. Hercules eventually found Hades, who promised to give Hercules the beast as long as he could defeat the beast weaponless. Hercules went to the entrance of the underworld and saw Cerberus. Without any hesitation, he threw his arms around the beast. Cerberus fell under the force of Hercules and left with him to king Eurystheus.

Eventually, Cerberus was given back to Hades without a scratch on him, except his dignity. (Cerberus) After completing all of the labors, Hercules remarried to a woman, Deianira. She was kidnapped by a centaur, Nessus. Hercules got her back of course and killed Nessus, but in the process of his dying, he told Deianira that if she smeared his blood on Hercules, he would love her forever. For Hercules birthday, Deianira gave him a cloak covered in the centaur’s blood, but when he put it on, it ended up burning his skin. To get rid of the pain, he killed himself then traveled to Mt.

Olympus to become a god. He widowed a woman and left four sons, Hyllus, Clesippus, Glenus, and Hodites alone. (Carr, Karen PhD) Hercules is a difficult god to classify. Being a demigod, he doesn’t really have a rank and not many powers except strength. He had the weakness of being immoral and greedy, but there was literally nothing he couldn’t do physically. Some of the allusions associated with Hercules is the “Hercules Piorot” a detective that always finds the murderer and wrestlers want to be named after him because he was strong. Other examples include wrestlers.

Hercules is a very common name in the wrestling business because it would make the person appear stronger. The C-130 plane is a plane made of steel, which is sometimes referred to as Hercules because steel is strong and not easily broken. Works Cited 1. Carr, Karen. Hercules for Kids-Herakles in Ancient Greek Mythology-Ancient Greece for Kidiepie-History for Kids. 2012. http://www. historyforkids. org/learn/greeks/religion/myths/herakle. html 2. Hercules (also called Hercakles). 62695. Web. http://ballpoint. org/greekgods/hercules. html 3. The Nemean Lion. Perseus Project. Web. http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/herakles. /lion. html

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