Heracles 12 Labors Analysis

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The great warrior Heracles is the subject of a large range of myths and legends, representing the heights of masculinity, heroism, and strength, Heracles and his myths are dominant forces in Greek mythology. The story of Heracles’s twelve labors is an important component of both the life of Heracles and Greek mythology. In the myth, Heracles completes seemingly impossible tasks and encounters the greatest creatures and monsters of all Greek mythology. The tale of Heracles’s twelve labors is the story of a mortal hero proving his might and elevating himself to Mount Olympus as an immortal god. He is a champion of Greek civilization, as he conquers the great beasts and performs tasks only gods can, he is demonstrating the power and value of…show more content…
Eurystheus wanted to get rid of Heracles against the immortal creature with the expectation that he would be killed in battle. After traveling to the Hydra with his charioteer Iolaos, Heracles engaged the beast in combat. Heracles was able to use his club to sever the heads of the hydra; however, from each stump two new heads would sprout. Realizing that he could not defeat it through sheer force, Heracles “summoned assistance on his own account by calling Iolaos, who set fire to part of the neighboring forest, and using brands from it, burned out the roots of the hydra’s heads to prevent them from regrowing.”. After cutting off all the hydra’s mortal heads one by one, Heracles removed the immortal head of the hydra, buried it under a heavy rock. Eurystheus denies this labor, as Iolaus had assisted Heracles in the battle. During his fight with the Hydra, Heracles’ strength gave him the power to sever the heads of the Hydra and he also used it to completely crush the Crab. This fight not only reflects his physical strength but also shows off his intuition, and emphasizes his cleverness more than his strength, although they were both necessary for this battle. It also demonstrates self-sufficiency, bravery, and presence of mind in dangerous situations as he was able to strategize…show more content…
The Stymphalian birds were able to eat men and were very large in size and had been causing immense trouble for the people of nearby towns. The number of Stymphalian birds also reflects to the difficulty of this labor. This labor is one of the foremost examples of divine goodwill, which is the reward for piety, intuition, and is one of the few labors where Heracles’ enormous strength takes a backseat to strategy and cleverness. Needing a way to dislodge the birds from the swamp so he could kill them, Heracles was given bronze castanets by Athena. He shook the castanets that made a noise, “unable to endure the noise, they flew up in alarm and in that way Heracles was able to shoot them down with arrows.”28. The labor represent an attempt by Eurystheus to diminish Heracles’ glory through demeaning him with sub-human tasks. sixth Labor forced Heracles to deal with giant ugly birds: neither of these tasks held any glory intrinsically. However, through these demeaning and anti-glorious tasks, Heracles is able to increase his own glory this through a combination of strength in the first labor and divine favor in the second labor, and intelligence in both. These labors illustrate one’s ability to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Although Heracles is the “supreme champion of justice; Heracles is still a man and his actions do not always neatly fall into the category
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