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Hercules Essay

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Hercules, in Greek mythology, was a hero known for his strength and
courage and for his legendary adventures. Hercules is the Roman name for the
Greek hero Heracles. Hercules's mother was Alcmena or Alcmene, the wife of King Amphitryon of Troezen. His father was none other than Zeus, the king of the gods, who disguised himself as Amphitryon and visited Alcmena on a night that lasted as long as three ordinary nights. Hera, Zeus' jealous wife, was determined
to kill Hercules, and after Hercules was born, she sent two giant great serpents to
kill him. Hercules, while he was still a baby, strangled the snakes. Hercules
conquered a tribe that had been demanding money from Thebes. As a reward, he was
given the hand in marriage of the Theben princess Megara and they had three
children. Hera, still filled hatred of Hercules, sent him into madness, which
made him kill his wife and children. In horror and shame at what he did,
Hercules was about to kill himself. But he was told by the oracle at Delphi that he should purge himself by becoming the servant of his cousin Eurystheus, king of Mycenae. Eurystheus, urged by Hera, planned as a punishment the 12 impossible tasks, the "Labors of Hercules."


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His first labor was to kill the nemean lion, which was more of a monster than a lion. His skin was so thick that spears and arrows could not penetrate it. Hercules blocked the entrance to the lion's cave, crawled in, and killed the lion with his bare hands. Afterwards he wore the lion's skin as a cloak and its jaw as a helmet.
The second labor was to kill the many headed, monstrous, Hydra, who lived in the swamps of lerna. Once one head was cut off, another would grow back in its place. The Hydra's bre...


... middle of paper ...


...ces of his body came off with it. Enraged, he found the man who had delivered the shirt and killed him. Still in agony, he boarded a ship and headed home to kill Deianeira.
She saved him the trouble by killing herself. Unable to stand the pain any longer, Hercules built a funeral pyre, climbed onto it, and ordered his friends to set it on fire. His friend Philoctetes obeyed. (Hera later punished Philoctetes for putting Hercules out of his misery by causing a viper to bite him. He survived, however, and fought in the Trojan War.) Proud of Hercules for dying so nobly, Zeus made him immortal. Somehow he even convinced Hera to let Hercules marry her daughter Hebe. Hercules became the porter of Olympus, where he remained forever. However, since Hercules was half mortal, a part of him went to the underworld, to spend eternity in the Elysian Fields with other great heroes.


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