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Strength. Masculinity.  Courage. When thinking of those characteristics, many heroes can easily come to mind, but who can be more befitting to depict those descriptions other than Hercules? His story is explored throughout various texts and movie interpretations that show case his strength, masculinity, and courage.

Hercules is a well-known hero depicted in the Greek and Roman mythology.  He is known to be the son of Zeus, ruler of the Gods in Mount Olympus and Alcmene. But life for him as a son of an almighty God was not an easy task. He faced challenges even before his birth. His stepmother Hera sent snakes into his crib to kill him, made him mortal, and casted a spell on him which made him temporarily insane; it was not long before this led him to killing his own family. He had much remorse for his behavior and asked Apollo to punish him for his sins. In turn, this life-long journey of repenting for his sins is now known as the“12 Heroic Labors.”

Hercules’ heroism is so well known to the public that there are now many literary novels and films based on his life. Starting as a childhood hero, Hercules is used as a reference of strength and undoubtedly there are not many people who do not know his name. Although they are all different interpretations of the origin of his life, they still continue to showcase his strength and ability to endure against all odds. His life set an example of fighting for justice and accomplishing feats that seemed impossible for any mortal such as killing the Lernean Hydra, a snakelike creature whose head grew back an extra head if one got chop off; capturing the Cretan bull that was said to be insane and breathe fire; capturing Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the underworld just to name a few.

The reward for completing the various tasks he was assigned ultimately helped him to become a hero. His masculinity, determination, and sense of vitality are what cause the people to recognize him as such as significant figure in Greek and Roman mythology.

 

--Paul Hoang