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Heracles in Euripides: Hero or Villain - Essay Example

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His is a familiar name in Greek mythology. Generally, he is famous for doing great things that required wisdom. He is a character in a play written by Euripides. The play is a tragedy revolving around his family and a tyrant named Lycus. The…
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Heracles in Euripides: Hero or Villain
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Heracles in Euripides: Hero or Villain

Despite the misdeeds he commits in the play, Heracles is still a hero. Heracles is rumored to have a god as a father. In the beginning, he returns to Thebes after completing the 12 Labors. Only a hero could have completed these tasks. Just like other heroes, he has a noble character. He shows mercy to others, he is just and is remorseful for his mistakes. The murder of his wife and three sons in the play does not undermine his status as a hero. In fact, the murder of his family further reinstates his status as a hero. He kills his family as a result of opposition from his enemies.
Another fact that leads many to believe that his father was the King of the gods was the fact that Hera, Zeus’ wife, loathed Heracles from the day he was born. His pseudo-father, Amphitryon also suspects that the murder of Heracles’ family was a plan made by Hera.
Heracles had great strength. His strength enabled him to complete the 12 Labors and return to his family. The last one, in particular, involved going to the Underworld to capture Cerberus. The source of strength to capture this beast is believed to have come from the fact that his father was Zeus.
Heracles, just like other heroes, completes tasks that are not humanly possible. The 12 Labors that were assigned to him were hard. For any normal human being, they were virtually impossible to complete. For example, in order to complete the last labor, he had to go to the Underworld and capture Cerberus. He is a creature with three heads and a serpent for a tail. His main task was to ensure that no dead person escaped from the Underworld and no living person entered (Papadopoulou 34). For any rational person, this would have been the most dreadful task to complete. Heracles was able to defeat the beast and even imprison it elsewhere. He returned home and saved his wife and three sons from where they sort refuge, the altar of Zeus. This proves that he was a hero.
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