ch14heraclespart1

ch14heraclespart1 - Classics 10 Chapter 14 Spring 2010...

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Classics 10: Chapter 14: Spring 2010 Heracles: Part 1: Early Life and Labors I. The Birth of Heracles II. Early Adventures III. The Twelve Labors
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Heracles Greatest Greek hero: Hercules in Latin Warning: I often switch between Heracles (the Greek name) and Hercules (the Roman name) Very common subject for Greek art and literature; most popular of all heroes A hero for all Greeks (“panhellenic”) Adventures throughout Greek world and beyond Early labors center about Argos and Mycenae Enormous body of myth and tales Complete picture must be pieced together from many sources, no one dominant account
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Heracles: Themes Used strength to overcome scary things Force for good, civilizing force, yet barbaric with force Nature vs. culture Progression from one to other? Simple weapons to improve the life of men? Clumsy big lug or clever trickster? Success through bodily and mental strength Tragic or comic hero? Great deeds, suffering, recognition Yet great appetites, comic indignities
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I. The Birth of Heracles Complicated but ultimately humorous story Perseus, founder and king of Mycenae, has son Electryon, who has 9 sons and a daughter named Alcmena Electryon’s brothers and nephews Alcaeus, who has son Amphitryon (good) Sthenelus, who has son Eurystheus (bad) Electryon’s 9 sons killed by pirates
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The Birth of Heracles Electryon entrusts Alcmena to his nephew Amphitryon in order to go fight the pirates But Amphitryon then quarrels with Electryon and kills him Amphitryon banished for blood guilt, flees to Thebes, where he is cleansed Amphitryon there marries Alcmena, but she won’t have sex with him until he avenges her 9 dead brothers Amphitryon departs to kill the pirates, and is soon successful
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The Birth of Heracles Amphitryon returns in triumph and takes Alcmena right to bed Then Amphitryon returns in triumph and takes Alcmena right to bed (?) Turns out the first Amphitryon was actually Zeus disguised to look like Amphitryon (!) Alcmena’s night of two lovers makes her pregnant with twins Heracles, seed of Zeus Iphicles, seed of Amphitryon
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The Birth of Heracles When Alcena due to deliver the babies, Zeus boasts that a child of his seed would be born who would rule all the surrounding lands Zeus then tricked by Hera, who makes him swear that the son born that day would be king Hera then stops Alcmena’s labor and induces the birth of Alcmena’s nephew Eurystheus (grandson of Perseus, son of Zeus) Zeus angry but acknowledges Hera’s success: Eurystheus will rule and not Heracles
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The Birth of Heracles Story of Heracles’ birth thus comical Alcmena’s two Amphitryons Hera’s trick upon offspring of Zeus’ lover Perhaps a comic downgrading of Egyptian myth Son of a pharaoh is divine, because the god also comes to the queen in the form of her husband Queen thus has paired lovers
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2011 for the course CLA 10 taught by Professor Traill during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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ch14heraclespart1 - Classics 10 Chapter 14 Spring 2010...

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