Heracles the Strong
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This is a historical novel about famous Greek hero Heracles, written by Ian Serraillier in 1971. The act takes place in Thrace. The author provides more comprehensible motivation for the mythological characters in dramatic and funny way. There are fifteen chapters from the Heracles birth to the death of Heracles; he is a central figure in this novel.
This is a story about Heracles life, how he done his twelve missions that his cousin King Eurystheus ordered to him. In slavery way for twelve years he will be made immortal and live for ever with the gods. Also problems in family life are the reason for slavery; he would be purified of his sins.
I choose this book because I do not know anything about this hero who is so popular at historical legends and his name is used in many films, also games. This is a book from the Heinemann’s Educational Books in London. This fact makes an impact. Book is instructive in history.
Heracles was the son of Zeus, the Father of the gods, but he was born into the mortal family of Amphitryon, the warrior Prince of Thebes. His mother was Alcmena, the wisest and most beautiful woman of her day. Her other son, whose father was Amphitryon, was called Iphicles. He was only a day younger than his brother. When they were barely ten months old, they had an adventure which brought them face to face with death and showed their different natures.
At midnight, two monster snakes came gliding over the entrance, over the marble floor towards the nursery. Their eyes were shooting flame; deadly poison dripped from their fangs. Hera, Queen of the gods, had sent them. Because Heracles was Alcmena’s child and not her own, she was violently jealous of him and meant to kill him. Suddenly the room was flooded with mysterious light. It was Zeus who had done this, for there is nothing however secret that he does not see and know. The snakes were entwined about Heracles body, tightening their scaly coils, trying to hug him to death. But Heracles had seized the snakes by the neck. His eyes were shining, as he held out the loathsome creatures for his father to see. Then, laughing and rejoicing in his strength, he squeezed with all his might. At last the snakes lay slack and lifeless in his chubby hands, and he tossed them down in triumph at his father’s feet. His mother could not sleep. She sent a servant to fetch old Teiresias, the blind prophet who used the song of birds to read the future. Teiresias assured her that she had nothing to fear and he said: “Noble lady, your people love you. Your son Heracles will be a hero without rival, master of the wild beasts and of all mankind. And when his mortal days come to an end, he will climb to the starry sky and live in the house of Zeus.
Heracles was taught to read and sing and play the lyre, to study the wisdom of the past and the language of the stars, music, medicine, and archery. Heracles learnt how to shoot, hoop the bow. Boxing became a favourite sport. He took instruction in war-fare and learnt how to protect himself against the cut. He learnt how to drive a chariot. His dinner was a plate of roast meat and a basketful of black bread; for supper he ate only plain uncooked food. Deeply attached to his father, he slept in a bed next to his, with a lion skin for coverlet. This was not the same lion skin as he wore during the daytime.
Heracles was the bravest and strongest man on the earth; King of Thebes gave him his daughter Princess Megara for wife. They had three sons. The marriage brought him great happiness. But it also brought him suffering and tragedy.
One day, the goddess Hera, in her spite and jealousy, drove him blindly mad. Without knowing what he was doing, he killed two of his sons. Megara snatched the youngest one away and ran with him to her room and locked the door. But Heracles smashed the door-posts and with a single blow killed them both.
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