Hercules: The Life of the Greek Hero


Reading — Advanced Level
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Heracles – or Hercules as he has been more popularly known ever since the Roman times – was the greatest of all Greek heroes, “one who surpassed all men of whom memory from the beginning of time has brought down an account.” A half-god of superhuman strength and violent passions, Heracles was the epitome of bravery and masculinity in the ancient world and the most notable champion of the Olympian order, which he staunchly protected from various chthonic monsters and earthly villains. Even though his short temper and lack of composure did cause both him and quite a few innocent mortals undeserved trouble, the magnitude of his labors was of such an order that it earned him the prize of immortality. The protagonist of hundreds of myths – the chronology of which is impossible to figure out – Heracles is undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures in all of Greek mythology.

Birth and Childhood
A demigod sired by Zeus, Heracles showed immense promise ever since birth: he strangled two snakes sent by Hera in his cradle. He had the very best teachers in his childhood, and by the time he reached his teenage years, he had already outdone all of them in both stature and strength.

As is almost typical in the case of heroes, Heracles was the product of a union of a mortal woman (Alcmene) and a god (Zeus). In Heracles’ case, even his mother was of a noteworthy parentage: Alcmene was the granddaughter of Perseus, possibly Greece’s greatest hero before Heracles.
  1. Who is considered the freatest of all Greek heroes?

  2. Heracles is considered as the   .

  3. What earned him the prize of immortality?

  4. Who are the parents of Hercules?

  5. Who was the Greece's greatest hero before Heracles?


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. Are you familiar with Greek mythology? What do you know about it?

  2. Who is your favorite character in Greek mythology? Why?


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