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Theseus vs. Hercules

A hero comparison between the two greatest heroes of Greece.
by

Drew C. A.

on 15 April 2011

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Transcript of Theseus vs. Hercules

Theseus
vs.
Hercules Perseus and Hercules are both
archetypal heroes. Theseus Theseus was the son of the king of Athens. He grew up in southern Athens, away from his father, with his mother. His mother told him that when he could roll a boulder nearby his house and retrieve what lay beneath it, he could travel to Athens and meet his father. When he moved the boulder,
his mother and grandfather
had a ship prepared for his
journey tp Athens. In his
eagerness to become a hero, he
refused the ship and journeyed
by land. One of his greatest achievements was killing the minotaur. He went to Minos as a sacrifice. The king of Minos had instructed Daedalus, a great architect, to build a maze that was impossible to navigate. At the center of the maze he placed the Minotaur, and every 9 years seven maidens and seven youths were sacrificed to it from Athens. When Theseus reached Minos, a
girl named Ariadne fell in love with
him literally as soon as he saw him. She
went to Daedalus and asked his help so
Theseus could navigate the maze. He said
for Theseus to use a ball of thread to mark
where he had been. He found the Minotaur
and beat it to death. When he was leaving, he told his father he would use a white sail on his return to show he was
alive. For whatever reason, he forgot to put up
the white sail. His father threw himself from a cliff in despair, thinking his son dead. Theseus took the role of King of Athens, but convinced the to create a government to rule themselves, but remained as Commander in Chief. Theseus was the reason that Hercules didn't kill himself after Hera drove him mad and he killed his wife and children. When all others were afraid of him, Theseus offered him a place in Athens, not believing he could be blamed for something he did while insane. Theseus had a son with an Amazon
warrior, and named him Hippolytus.
His wife, Phaedra, sister of Ariadne,
fell in love with him, a trick by Aphrodite. Hippolytus ignored women, and loved only Artmeis and the hunt. Phaedra killed herslef, leaving a note saying Hippolytus was to blame for her death. Artemis showed at Hippolytus deathbed to prove his innocence to Theseus. Theseus died at the hands
of his friend
Lycomedes, when he
killed Theseus for an
unknown reason. The Athenians
honored him with
a great tomb, that was to
be a sanctuary for the
for all helpless, as
Theseus was the great defender
of the helpless. Temple of Theseus, Athens Hercules Hercules was the son of Zeus, and the strongest
man in the world. He was raised by a general and his wife in Thebes. While still an infant, he strangled two poisonous snakes that snuck into
their nursery in the middle of the night. His parents realized then he was destined for greatness.
Even as a young child,
he showed a rage that
was uncontrollable. He killed
his music teacher while in
school. Hercules was always
apologetic and would accept
any punishment given to him
without argument. When only 18,
he went into the wilderness and killed the a Thespian lion, alone.
He used its fur as a cloak for the rest of his life, with the head as a hood. Hercules conquered the Minyans shortly afterwards
and won Princess Megara for his wife. When they had
three children, Hera drove him mad in vengeance for
the offspring of one of Zeus' affair. He killed his entire
family in his insane rage. When he came to his senses,
he had no idea what had happened, and his adopted father
was forced to tell him. He was going to kill himself in grief
and guilt, but Theseus told him
he couldn't balme himself for something
he didn't realize he was doing, while
driven insane. While everyone else
considered him defiled for killing his family,
Theseus invited him to Athens, disagreeing
that he could defile others. To redeem himself and make himself pure again,
the Oracle of Dephi told him to visit King
Eurystheus and do whatever he was told. The
king, being a smart man, knew that having the strongest man in the world was an invaluable asset. He assigned twelve tasks to Hercules, which
became known as he 12 Labors of Hercules. They are as follows:
1st: Kill the invincible lion of Nemea
2nd: Kill the 9-headed hydra in Lerna
3rd: Bring back the stag with golden horns, sacred to Artemis
4th: Capture the great boar on Mount Erymanthus
5th: Clean the Augean stables in a single day
6th: Drive away the Stymphalian birds
7th: Bring the bull Poseidon had given Minos
8th: Claim the man-eating mares of Diomedes
9th: Bring the girdle of the Queen of the Amazons
10th: Bring back the cattle of Geryon
11th: Bring back the Golden Apples of Hesperides
12th: Bring Cerberus up from the underworld

All of these tasks were near impossiblefor a normal man, but
Hercules completed all without much diffuculty. Another of his great adventures was his staying with
Admetus, King of Thessaly. Admetis' wife had recently
died, and they were holding the funeral when Hercules
arrived, hoping to find a place to stay for the night.
Admetis, being a good host, told him it was the death of
a servant girl and not to consider himself a nuisance. So
Hercules dined alone, and got drunk. The servants then
told him how it was actually the Queen who had died, and
Admetis was just being hospitable. So Hercules went and
wrestled death, retrieving the Queen and returning her. Hercules died at his own hand after his wife gave
him a cloak with a love charm in it. It tortured him, and his wife killed herself when she heard of what she had done to him. He had himself burned on a great pyre on Mount Oeta. He was brought to heaven where he was forgiven by Hera and married to her daughter, Hebe. How were the two heroes alike? Both of them were loved by their people. Even though the Athenians preferred Theseus for his intelligence, they were both considered great heroes. They both had a calling to adventure,
even though Hercules' happened at a
much younger age, when he killed the snakes,and Theseus when he lifted the boulder. Both heroes had an initiation
to begin their legendary journeys.
Hercules was initiated when he killed
the lion alone in the wilderness, and
Theseus when he traveled to Athens
by land, ridding the countryside of
bandits on his way. Niether of these heroes really
had a return home. Hercules
came home to his wife dead and
killed himslef soon after, and
Theseus was killed in the palace
of another country. Both heroes were given a grand
funeral, Theseus a tomb and Hercules a huge pyre on Mount
Oeta. How were they different? Hercules never had a true reconciliation with
his father. Theseus, on the other hand, traveled
across Athens to meet his father. Hercules never had a mentor, but
in a way, he was Theseus' mentor because
Theseus looked to him as the great hero
he wanted to be like. Hercules was well known for his skill
with the bow and his supernatural
strength, but Theseus never had a special
weapon he was adept at or known for carrying. Hercules was a hero
that acted and thought
of consequences later.
Theseus was very thoughtful and
somewhat cautious. Theseus remained a steady residence
in Athens to come home to after each
adventure, living in both worlds. Hercules
had many wives and many different homes.
Full transcript