Study Guide

Heracles (Hercules): Birth and Early Adventures Strength and Skill

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Strength and Skill

If there's one theme that keeps on popping up throughout Heracles' life, it's strength and skill. In pretty much every story, he performs some incredible superhuman act. In this origin story, we get to see some explanations as to why he's so amazing. Not only is he the son of Zeus and great grandson of Perseus, he's also suped up on Hera's amazing breast milk. (They should bottle and sell that stuff. They'd make a fortune.) We're guessing the incredible popularity of Heracles, is probably directly linked to his superhuman strength. Hmm, what do you think that says about us? Why is it that we admire physical strength so much?

Questions About Strength and Skill

  1. What feat of strength does baby Heracles perform in this story?
  2. How did Heracles get so strong?
  3. What other characters show themselves to be strong or skillful in this myth?
  4. How does Heracles compare to his great grandfather, Perseus, in terms of strength and skill?
  5. OK, if the Incredible Hulk decided to wrestle Heracles, who do you think would come out on top?
  6. Why do you think the ancient Greeks' favorite hero was super strong instead of, say, super smart? What doe sit say about their culture? What does it say about our culture that we still love Heracles?

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