Heroism • What is your definition of a “hero”? • What do our modern day heroes look like? • How do heroes play a part in shaping one’s individual identity?
The 9 Qualities of a Greek Hero 1). Born under unusual circumstances 2). Father was often immortal, while the mother was often mortal 3). Born into royalty – mother was a queen or a princess 4). Prophecies were made about their births 5). Faced abandonment and adopted by a family of lower social status or by an animal that reared them secretly
The 9 Qualities of a Greek Hero (continued) 6). An early childhood accomplishment indicated their potential 7). Improved civilization through protection and guidance 8). Faced dangerous adventures far from home during adulthood, culminating to one, last heroic deed 9). Died from unusual or violent circumstances
Purposes of Greek Mythology • To Entertain (Oral Tradition) • To Explain and Teach: • The Creation of the World and Man • Natural Phenomena • The Establishment of Order • A Moral Lesson
The “Golden Mean” • What do you think the “Golden Mean” is? • How well do you live the “Golden Mean?” • How do you think our world would be if everyone lived by the Golden Mean? Give some specific examples.
Heracles The Immortal Son of Zeus
Heracles failed to live by the “golden mean.” • Excessive – extreme, unnecessary, or severe • Punishment • Emotion • Strength
Except “Hybris” – excessive pride
“Arete” – best qualities of mankind • Warm, loving, and compassionate toward family and friends • His humanity and imperfections were endearing to both mortals AND gods • Only Greek hero whom Zeus rewarded with immortality.
The 12 Labors • Performed for the honor of a sacred king or queen • Heracles accomplished them: • Because it was his fate and obligation, not for fame or glory • With little help from the gods/goddesses • With great intelligence and creativity
After Heracles’ Labors • Heracles killed children, not wife. • Became a slave to be cured from disease • Fought off enemies and defended earth • “killed those who insulted him and rewarded those who defended his integrity” (233). • Fought alongside Olympians against battle * Developed Olympic Games in honor of Zeus
Towards the End • Nessus attempts to rape Deianeira • Nessus is poisoned by Hydra-arrows • Offers love potion to Deianeira • D. mixes Nessus’ blood in Heracles’ shirt unknowingly placing Heracles in danger. • Heracles is burned, and after suffering, Zeus claims his son
The Significance of Heracles • Hera turns from jealous to loving > Heracles = “Son of Hera” • Heracles is parallel to afterlife myths - our body dies, but our spirit becomes immortal Heaven