Hercules Myth Extra Credit Journal for Latin 2 1/16/2006
What I Learned
Hercules was the strongest man on earth. He was born to Zeus and Alcmena. While he was laying in a cradle, he strangled a snake that was going to kill him. He also killed music teacher accidentally. In fact, he killed a lot of people by accident.
Four of these people were his wife and three children. However, the fault was not entirely his. Hera had put madness upon him. When he learned that he killed his family, he tried to kill himself. However, Theseus talked him out of it. Instead he went to Eurystheus, who sent him on twelve almost impossible tasks, the “Labors of Hercules.”
Most of these tasks one needed smarts and strength to complete. While Hercules was not smart at thinking before he acted, he was good at think up ways to kill monsters. In the first task he strangled the monster that no weapon could wound. In another, he cleaned out thousands of cattle stalls by using his strength to divert a river to clean it.
After he finished the tasks and made up for killing his family, he went on more journeys. These are varied, but most were similar to his 12 great tasks. Also he helped in other stories; he freed Prometheus and killed the vulture that was eating his flesh.
Along the way, he sometimes made mistakes. He killed a boy who was serving him at a feast. To make up for that, he had to degrade himself by serving Queen Omphale, who made him dress up like a women. In another one of his journeys, his wife thought that he was seeing another woman. Therefore, she made a cloak to stop him. However, the cloak caused Hercules great pain. His wife, angered with what she subjected her husband to, killed herself. Hercules, knowing that he caused many to die, also committed suicide. He had his friends tie him to some wood and light it on fire. So ended the great Hercules’s life; a hero.
Hercules was a great hero. He overcame fear to have great courage to overcome whatever would come his way. He encountered many test in his life, and always seemed to overcome them. However, he was brash. He acted many times without thinking of the consequences. This got him into trouble many times. However, he always punished himself or let someone else punish himself with a great deed or humiliating work. He always carried out his punishments with honor. (Anyway he had to. All of our stories about Hercules are about his punishments.)
I found it interesting that he killed his music teacher because he didn’t like him or the subject. I don’t think he killed him maliciously, on purpose, I think it was accidental. You always had to watch out around Hercules.
Hercules, like many others in Greek mythology, was born to Zeus or another god. He had magic powers that made him the strongest person alive. However, this alone did not make him a hero. He also had great courage, to accomplish all of those tasks.
Hercules may not have been the brightest person in the world, but he was the strongest.