Thursday, November 10, 2011

The 10 Labors of Hercules

I know, you're thinking that I can't count, but trust me, this series of posts should be titled the 10 Labors of Hercules.  You'll see as this theme progresses.  Before we start, we need to give a little explanation.  It all starts with Zeus being a little horny (as many Greek myth do).

Zeus was sitting on his Olympus throne one day, looking down at the many people traveling to and fro when he noticed a beautiful young lady and decided that it was his sworn duty, as a god, to bless this young woman.  However, since his sister/wife was a jealous sort, he decided to take a disguise.  He ran through a list of options: bull, rain shower, swan...  No.  These just would not do.  He needed something different.  The it came to him and off he went.

Meanwhile, the young woman was going about her household chores to get the house prepared for when her husband came home from battle.  Suddenly the door opened and she heard, "Alcmene!  I'm home!  I missed you so much, let's [hold hands]."

She was surprised to see him home so early but very pleased by the best [hand holding] she ever had.  Then he abruptly got up and said, "well, I must be off."  Just like that he left.

Shortly after, she heard, "Alcmene!  I'm home!  I missed you so much, let's [hold hands]."  Alcmene was a smart woman and realized that the man who just came to her house was not her husband after all.  She kept her mouth shut to avoid attracting Hera's attention.  This would have worked, however, when she gave birth, she gave birth to twins.  One was a scrawny little kid.  The mid-wife named him Iphicles.  Then out came another baby.  The mid-wife remarked how big and healthy this one was.  She said that they should praise Hera for such a healthy baby.  She named him Herakles (we know him better by his Roman name of Hercules).  Alcmene knew it was all over then.  Sure enough, this got the attention of Hera and she vowed to destroy the baby.  This proved harder than it looked.  She sent snakes to kill the infant, but he just picked them up and tied them in knots.  Hera, however, was patient.  She waited for the right time to strike.

That time was after Herakles was married and had a few kids.  One day he just went berserk and thoguht he saw enemies all around trying to hurt his family.  Herakles tore them apart.  Then his madness went away and he saw his family in a bloody mess.  He had killed them.  Now Hera was responsible for this madness and she wasn't through playing with him yet.

After trying to come to terms with his guilt in various fashions, Herakles finally goes to an oracle.  The oracle, unfortunately, was mislead by Hera to reveal the wrong thing for him to do.  She said that he must report to the King of Tiryns, who just so happened to by Herakles' half brother who also hated him.  She said that Herakles must serve him for one full year.  Herakles, intent on getting forgiveness for his murderous behavior, goes willingly.

Once there, Eurytheus gets all excited and with the help of Hera, comes up with ten impossible tasks that Herakles must do to save his soul.

That, my friends, is where we stop for today.  In this series of posts, we will look at each labor and see how much fun Hercules had.  Oh, and I'm writing Hercules from now on because I like it better than Herakles.  So there.  I know I'm mixing Roman names with Greek, but hey!  Call it Blogger License.