Theme of Jealousy in Heracles (Hercules): Later Adventures and Death
From his birth to his death, Heracles has been plagued by jealousy. As a mortal son of Zeus, Hera has seen him as a hated reminder of her husband's cheating ways. She has hounded the hero for years. (Be sure to check out our thoughts on jealousy in our guides to Heracles' birth and early adventures and his Twelve Labors.) In Heracles' later adventures, another lady in his life has some jealousy issues: his wife Deianira. Worried that she's going to lose Heracles to a pretty, young girl, Deianira poisons her husband with a potion that she thinks will make him love only her. Though Heracles' mortal self dies as a result of his wife's jealousy, he's made a god on Mount Olympus, where he finally reconciles with Hera and even marries her daughter, Hebe.
Questions About Jealousy
- We find it interesting that Heracles dies as a result of his wife's jealousy. Is Deianira much like Hera? And is Heracles like his cheating dad, Zeus?
- Is Deianira justified in being jealous? Why or why not?
- Why do you think that Hera got over her jealousy of Heracles?