Of all Greek heroes that have been brought to our attention by ancient scholars and mythological text, Hercules proves to one of the most noticeable and fascinating of the bunch. Considered to be Greece's greatest hero, he chief standouts were unyielding courage and tremendous strength and physical ability.
The primary purpose of this resource is to examine why Hercules has resurfaced in the 90's as a cult hero in the US and why is he quickly gaining popularity as days go by. Hercules has a hot TV series bearing his namesake and movie from Disney due out this summer. In order to answer the question above, a fundamental underlying question needs to be answered: What qualities does Hercules posses that make him a hero for our time?
To prepare the information necessary to answer this question, there are a number of links throughout the page to various 'Herculean' sites. An excellent site for general background information and events in his turbulent life can be found at http://www.windsor.k12.vt.us/myth/hercules.html
For information more detailed and several nice sculptures and paintings regarding the hero and objects in his life, one can link to http://ralph.southwestern.edu/academic/classical.languages/grkciv/grkciv0305.html
Hercules does indeed fit into the modern definition of a hero, mainly because he is fallible. In this day and age we trust no one with a squeaky clean past. Society tends to look toward more realistic heroes that have to deal with their flaws and mistakes that give them a inherent human approachability. We look for heroes that have the same struggle everyday people carry, rising above challenges or learning to live with what they cannot rise above.
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The series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" has caught the imagination and minds of many. Many thanks go to its star Kevin Sorbo, who has swooned the hearts of many female viewers. The show has its own web page with useful information to fans and those curious to take a peak at the show and its cast. The site can be found at: http://www.mca.com/tv/hercules
|Also, there is a site dedicated to pictures of Hercules and his best friend Iolaus. This site can be located at: http://www.greggo.com/~vbird/web/ros_iol.html. Confused by the complex Greek family trees? Don't understand how Hercules and Iolaus are related? There are tons of wonderful family trees on Greek mythology at: http://diogenes.baylor.edu/WWWproviders/thorburn/|
Bruce Springsteen quoted it best when he refereed to characters that he wrote about in his songs on a album entitle Darkness on the Edge of Town. I took a look around me at my family and people in my community. Every day they struggle to live their life, they get up go to work, and come home to try and take care of their families. There is something heroic in that everyday struggle. Hercules is caught in this same situation, trying to live a normal life, but having to rise to challenges and obstacles in his way. His feats are superhuman at times but his intentions could not be more human.
On a personal note, I sense the same thing in my own father. He has worked in a factory for 35+ years in hellish conditions. I worked in that same factory the past two summers and I came away at the least with newfound respect for him. I cant imagine the toll and will it must take to force yourself into that kind of job every day for over thirty years of your life, so that your family could enjoy a better life. The fact that Hercules has submitted himself to trials that are similar makes him a true hero, not a unrealistic super hero that never fails or makes a mistake.