Mythological Heroes


Mythological Heroes


The subject of mythology deals mainly with the notion of battle, or
good
versus evil. In this struggle many individuals are singled out for either the
evil
they cause, or from the good they bring to people. When you mention heroes
in mythology, there are two distinct names that a majority of people bring up,
those names are Achilles and Hercules.

Achilles was born to King Peleus and the sea-nymph Thetis. Soon
after
Achilles was born his mother dipped him in the River Styx, she was told, by

doing this, that the water would make every part of his body that it touched
invincible. Little did she know that the one part of his heel which he was
held
by would not touch the water.

When Achilles mother found out about the war in Troy between the
Greeks and the Trojans she did not want her son to fight because she knew
that he would eventually be killed there. The way that she tried to prevent
him
from going into the army was to hide him among the women of the court so
that
he could not be persuaded by his close friend Odysseus to join the Greek
forces. While trying to find Achilles, Odysseus easily spotted him among the
women, and persuaded him to join the Greek army.

After many years of battle with the Trojan forces, Achilles ended up in
a
famed duel with Trojan hero Hector, over the slaying of Achilles close friend
Patroclus. After killing Hector, Achilles tied his dead body behind a chariot
and
dragged around the walls of Troy seven times to show his hatred and anger
towards the Trojans and their hero. Shortly after the famed battle, Achilles
was
killed when he was struck, with a poisonous arrow, in the one small spot on
his
heel which was vulnerable. The arrow was fired by the Trojan prince Paris
and
was guided by the sun god Apollo.

Hercules was the strongest and swiftest man ever to walk the earth.
As
the son of Zeus and mortal woman Alcmene, Hercules was destined to be a
hero. This destiny was shown before he was one year old. Enraged at his
affair with a mortal woman, Zeus\' wife Hera set out on a plot to kill Hercules.

One night after Alcmene put her children to bed, Hercules\' twin brother
Iphicles was awoken by two huge serpents that were sent by Hera to kill the
son of Zeus. When Hercules awoke he grasped the two snakes in order to
play with them, and squeezed the life right out of them. When Alcmene
awoke
to see what all the commotion was about, she was amazed at the sight of her
infant son holding two snakes that he had killed with his bare hands.

When Hercules grew to manhood, he married and had six sons, and
again fell victim to Hera\'s hatred towards him. What Hera did was send a fit
of
madness upon Hercules who mistook his wife and children for enemies and
killed them. When his sanity returned he realised what he had done he shut
himself up from the world for a long time. After a long time in seclusion
Hercules finally emerged and went to the Oracle of Delphi to beg for
punishment for his crime. Hercules was sent to King Eurystheus and told
that
the king would assign a punishment to Hercules. The punishment was to
perform twelve nearly impossible tasks which are known as the twelve
labours
of Hercules.

The first of these tasks was to kill and skin the Nemean Lion, whose
skin could not be punctured by any weapon. His second labour was to kill
the
Hydra of Lerna which had numerous heads, one of which was immortal.
Every
time one of the mortal heads was cut off two or three new heads would grow
in
its place. The third of his tasks was go to the Ceryneian Hill and capture a
beautiful bronze-hoofed hind without spilling one drop of its blood. For his
fourth task Hercules was to capture alive a huge wild boar which often killed
humans and lived on Mount Erymanthus. The fifth task assigned to Hercules
was to clean the filth of many years out of the stables of King Augeias of Elis.
The sixth labour of the great Greek hero was to get rid of a flock of birds
which