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Hero and Leander

In a Nutshell

Hero and Leander might not be muses, but their story has inspired all kinds of artists and adoring fans for thousands of years. Why? For starters, it's a super romantic love story—full of big emotions, searing passion, and secret rendezvous. (Steamy!) Even if you don't like this kind of stuff, all you have to do is check out 99% of TV and film ever created—like ever—and you'll see that it's drenched in this kind of passion.

Not satisfied with love and romance? How about some tragedy for you? We humans like watching people fall in love, sure. But for whatever reason, we also like crying with them when it all goes wrong. Don't believe us? Then you tell us why Romeo and Juliet is one of the most beloved stories of all time. Just sayin'.


Shmoop Connections

Explore the ways this myth connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop

Though Hero's namesake in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing is accused of sleeping around, she does a much better job of holding on to her chastity than the original Hero.

Check out Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to compare the story of those famous star-crossed lovers to Hero and Leander.

The two gentlemen of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona namedrop Hero and Leander in a little witty banter in scene one.

Dante spots a beautiful woman across a stream in his Purgatorio and compares the situation to Leander straining to see Hero across the Hellespont. How poetic.

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