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Theme of Strength and Skill in Heracles (Hercules): The Twelve Labors

If there's one theme that keeps popping up throughout Heracles' life, it's "Strength and Skill." In pretty much every story, he performs some kind of superhuman act, which shows off how awesome he is. We're going to go out on a limb and say that the Twelve Labors show Heracles at his most strong and skillful. He's so strong that he can hold up the entire sky. He's so skilled at fighting that he takes out everything from a lion to a hydra, and even wrestles Cerberus, a three-headed dog with a mane of snakes. We have to say, Heracles, we're still impressed.

Questions About Strength and Skill

  1. Which of Heracles' labors do you think requires the most skill? Why do you think so?
  2. Which labor shows Heracles at his strongest? Why do you think so?
  3. Where does Heracles show that he's more than just a big hunk of muscles? Where does he use his cleverness as well?
  4. When does Heracles use his charm in order to complete a task?
  5. What does it mean to be "strong" in Greek culture?

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