If your only knowledge of Hercules is from the Disney movie in 1997, there are a lot of details missing.
Hercules (or Heracles) had a pretty miserable life. His father (Zeus), was always visiting Earth, often in disguise, and having sex with whoever he wanted. He fathered numerous children and understandably he was infuriating his wife Hera, who also happened to be his twin sister!
Hera, angered by yet another illegitimate offspring by Zeus, decided to make life a living hell for Hercules. She even tried to have him killed whilst he was still a child!
He grew up to be incredibly strong, and despite a few setbacks (ie killing his music teacher), he got on with his life.
As an adult, he got married and had children. Life was pretty good, and this angered Hera again, and she was far from ‘letting it go’.
One day as he returned home, his front door had been kicked off, and upon entering his family where nowhere to be seen. Instead, he was approached by monsters. Hercules flew into a rage and killed them all.
Only then, Hera lifted her spell. Hercules realised he had in fact murdered his own family.
He was devastated and sought advice from the Oracle of Delphi. She advised he give his services to a king as an act of penance, and only then would he be free from his punishment. Hercules agreed and these became the ten labours of Hercules. However, due to a breach in the rules, he actually ended up completing twelve.
Years later, he was accidentally killed by his second wife, who then committed suicide when she realised what she had done.
You can probably see why Disney missed certain details out!
So, what lessons can we learn from Hercules?
Listen to this podcast episode to find out.
If Mythology interests you, I would recommend a book as a great starting point. It is called ‘The Dictionary Of Mythology’. It is really comprehensive, super easy to read, and gives lots of detail too.
If you would like to watch a Youtube version of this podcast, click on this link.