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Theme of Jealousy in Heracles (Hercules): Birth and Early Adventures

Jealousy is a major theme in Heracles' life, just like in pretty much every story featuring Hera. From even before Heracles is born, Hera is out to get him because she's jealous of Zeus' constant affairs. Hera's jealousy causes her to try and kill Heracles before he is born, to rob him of his birthright, and to put snakes in his cradle. (Yeah, that's pretty jealous.) Throughout Heracles' life, Hera's jealousy will be the biggest obstacle that the great hero will have to face. In a way though, heroes are nothing without obstacles to conquer.

Questions About Jealousy

  1. Is it right for Hera to take out her jealousy on Heracles? Why, or why not?
  2. Do you think Heracles' brother ever got jealous of his massive strength? Why, or why not?
  3. What do you think makes Hera so much more jealous of Heracles than she is of some of Zeus' other illegitimate children?
  4. Why is it that Alcmene's husband does not seem to be jealous that his wife slept with Zeus, but Hera is? What does this tell us?
  5. Why does Athena help Heracles?

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