Ch14HeraclesPart1a-1

Ch14HeraclesPart1a-1 - Classics 10: Chapter 14: Fall 2011...

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Classics 10: Chapter 14: Fall 2011 Heracles (Hercules): Part 1: Early Life and Labors [Perseus video] I. The Birth of Heracles II. Early Adventures III. The Twelve Labors SECOND EXAM ONE WEEK FROM TODAY
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Heracles Greatest Greek hero: Hercules in Latin, common oath, By Heracles! = by God! 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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Heracles: Themes He shares much with the Centaurs, often depicted spending time with them He shares their mixed nature Human and divine vs. human and beast Because he is so powerful he is a threat to gods as well as dangerous ogres—often hated by a god—tries to shoot Helius! Because of his strength he is able to overcome powerful enemies and rid humanity of dangerous beings, but, paradoxically, he also brings harm to people because of strength: (cf. Gilgamesh, Achilles, etc.)
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The Heroic Pattern: elements common to Heracles and other heroes Hero’s mother is a royal virgin His father is a king Circumstances of his conception are unusual Reputed to be a son of a god At birth an attempt is made to kill, often by father or grandfather He is spirited away Raised by foster parents
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Heroic Pattern On reaching manhood, travels to his future kingdom Often journeys to the Underworld After triumph over king/giant/dragon/beast He marries a princess He becomes a king Loses favor with the gods/subjects Meets a mysterious death His body is not buried/he has one or more tombs
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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 sons killed by pirates
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Heracles’ family tree
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The Birth of Heracles Electryon entrusts Alcmena to his nephew Amphitryon in order to 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 dead brothers Amphitryon departs to kill the pirates, and is soon successful
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This note was uploaded on 11/30/2011 for the course CLA 10 taught by Professor Traill during the Fall '08 term at UC Davis.

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Ch14HeraclesPart1a-1 - Classics 10: Chapter 14: Fall 2011...

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