Term Paper: Heroes Hercules

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Heroes

Hercules

Hercules is known as a hero in the Greek mythology. He is famous for his bravery and strength with which he carried out his adventures. The Greek hero Heracles is known as Hercules in the Roman language. Hercules had a human mother, Alcmene who was the wife of the general of Theban, Amphitryon, but his father was god Zeus. Hera was the wife of Zeus and she was very jealous of Hercules. Therefore, after the birth of Hercules she sent two serpents to kill him, but those serpents got strangled by Hercules.

Later on a tribe was also conquered by Hercules, this tribe was asking for money from Thebes. Due to this act of bravery by Hercules, his marriage was finalized to Megara who was the princess of Theben. He had three children from the marriage. However, Hera still hated him and therefore as revenge made Hercules go mad. Due to this madness he killed his children and wife and when he couldn't live with the guilt of what he had done he was about to kill himself as well but at Delphi he was told by the oracle that if he wants to purge himself he can do that by becoming a servant to the king of Mycenae, Eurystheus who was his cousin. Hera urged Eurytheus to give Hercules 12 impossible tasks to perform as a punishment. These tasks are called "Labors of Hercules."

Hercules had to kill the lion of Nemea for his first tasks. There wasn't any weapon that could hurt the lion but Hercules made the lion unconscious by hitting him with his club and then killed it by strangling it. Later on he wore his skin and head as a trophy.

He had to kill Hydra for his second task. It lived in a swamp that was in Lerna. It has nine heads and one of them was immortal while the rest could be chopped off however whenever one was chopped off 2 heads would grow in its place. Hercules used a burning torch to scorch every neck of the Hydra so that it won't grow a head back and the immortal head was buried by him beneath a rock. Hercules also dipped his arrows in the blood of the Hydra as, it was poisonous.

His next task was to capture a stag that had bronze hoofs and golden horns. He had to get it alive and this stag was very precious to the goddess of hunt, Artemis.

His fourth task was to capture and kill the boar that lived in Mount Erymanthus. He killed that boar with the help of the poisonous arrows.

His fifth labor was to clean the stables that belonged to king Augeas and which had filth of the last 30 years from the thousands of cattle that lived there. He did this by turning the direction of two rivers so that they flew through the stables.

For his sixth task he had to get rid of the huge flock of birds that lived nearby Lake Stymphalus and ate humans. He shot all the birds down with the help of his poisonous arrows.

He had to catch the mares which belonged to the king of Thrace, Diomedes. These mares ate humans. The king was killed by Hercules and later on the mares were driven to Mycenae by him.

For his ninth task he had to get the girdle which belonged to Queen Hippolyta. Hercules got the girdle but killed the Queen in the process.

When he was on his way to his next task of capturing the oxen which belonged to Geryon, the three headed monster, he placed two huge rocks which are the mountains of Gibraltar and Ceuta as memorial of the journey that he made in order to capture the oxen.

For his 11 thlabor he had to get the golden apples which grew in Hesperides and were a wedding present for Zeus and Hera from the Mother Earth. He took them with the help of Atlas. However, later on he gave them to Athena to return to Hesperides.

The last task was the most difficult one. Hercules had to bring back the three headed dog, Cerberus from the underworld. He completed this task like the rest.

Years later Hercules killed himself by wearing a tunic which had the poisonous blood of the centaur Nessus which caused him a lot of pain and in order to stop the pain he took his life. After he died he went to heaven and got married to the goddess of youth Hebe by the approval of Hera.

Greeks worshiped him as a mortal hero as well as a god while in Italy he is believed to be the god of trades and merchants and there are still others who pray to him for good luck and salvage from danger. National Museum in Naples has the most popular statue of Hercules.

Jason

Even though Jason was a mortal he lived a heroic life. He was born in the royal family as he was born to the king and queen of Iolclus. Although we do see that his life does become complicated when he marries Medea but overall if we look at his life and what he accomplished in it we can see that he did live a heroic life.

Jason had royal blood which is believed to be an essential characteristic for a hero. Jason was given the magical powers throughout his life and on his way to get the Golden Fleece he was given a power by Juno which allowed him to control the wind. He met Medea on his way to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Medea had a lot of strong magical powers as well and these powers helped Jason in accomplishing his goal. It was her power which made the dragon that was guarding the Fleece fall asleep as a result of which Jason was able to retrieve it.

Jason got many amulets throughout his life but the one that was very important was a figurehead that could talk and was placed on the front of Jason's ship. This amulet was called Argo. Argo was really essential for Jason's journey.

One of the first steps that a hero has to take in order to begin his journey is to enter the new world. Same was the case with Jason, he crossed the threshold by navigating Argo through the Symplegades which were two rocks blocking Jason's way in the water. There were a lot of enemies that Jason fought with on his way. All these enemies were supernatural and only a hero can fight with such creatures. He also defeated giants on his journey by making use of quick thinking. What he did was he threw sand into the eyes of the giants so that they won't be able to see and in this way the giants killed each other in confusion. Jason was taught by Chiron who had taught Hercules as well. Like most of the other heroes Jason too had people in his journey that helped him in finding and getting the Golden Fleece.

One of the most important accomplishments for a hero is to do something that would change the fate of the people. This is exactly what was done by Jason when he took back the thrown which was stolen from his parents by his uncle Pelias. Later on when he realized that his father was now very old to rule the kingdom Medea used her power on the king and he was restored. In this way the fate of the whole city as well as the king was changed by Jason.

Although overall Jason can be thought of as a good hero even though he did have his weaknesses such as when he married Medea and later on cheated on her with Glauce because he got bored of Medea. Due to this we see that Medea not only kills Glauce but also the two sons that she had with Jason which leaves no one to carry the throne after Jason. Medea also prophesized before leaving that it will be Argo that will kill Jason. He gets so worried due to this prediction of Medea that he would sit by his boat all the time until one day when a beam fell on him and he got killed.

Conclusion

We see that the two heroes that have been discussed in this paper have got royal blood which is considered to be a very important characteristic for a hero. In my opinion this is because then people feel that they are worthy of being followed and worshipped. We can see a lot of similarities between Hercules and Jason such as both of them possessed the traits of bravery, strength and courage. But we also see that both these heroes have got weaknesses as well and in case of Hercules as well as Jason, it's their weaknesses that result in their downfalls and ultimately deaths.

In case… [END OF PREVIEW]

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