The Birth of Hercules 赫拉克勒斯的诞生
Michael Fontaine (Cornell University): Hercules is the son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Alcmene.
Peter Struck (University of Pennsylvania): Classical mythology is loaded with stories of gods who 1)impregnate mortal women, and give birth to gods or 2)demigods.
Author: So this demigod idea means that this person has some features that are very godly, some 3)divine powers; but, at the same time, he is mortal, he can die. I suspect that the Greeks invented this idea because they wanted to reach the gods as much as possible, to create images of themselves that are closer and closer to the gods.
Hercules would grow up to be Greece’s model hero, but he has one powerful enemy who wants to see him destroyed: Zeus’s wife, the Goddess Hera.
A Terrible Incident 可怕劫数
As the story continues, Hercules comes of age – a man-god 4)straddling two worlds: the human and the supernatural.
Greek Historian: He was unable to form emotional contacts with anyone. In fact, there seems to…have been a kind of 5)schizophrenic quality to his 6)make-up. He was half human and half divine. And yet he had a father who would not protect him from the terrible 7)trials and tribulations that Hera 8)inflicted upon him. He was left alone, 9)suspended between heaven and earth, and having nowhere to go.
Desperate for some 10)semblance of 11)normalcy, Hercules marries a beautiful princess who bears him two sons, but his domestic 12)bliss is short-lived. His 13)nemesis, Hera, soon returns, determined to make sure he never knows happiness.
Expert A: She sends madness to him as he sleeps. And he, in his madness, believes that his wife and his children are his enemies.
Expert B: When Hercules wakes up from this madness, from this 14)ravenous madness, he finds himself covered in the blood of his own family.
Struck: He doesn’t really even know that he’s the one that did it, but nevertheless he has the blood stains on him. It is the physical mark of guilt, and this is the guilt he must bear. And it’s from this horrible incident that the rest of Hercules’s story unfolds.
The Labors of Hercules 赫拉克勒斯的苦役
At Delphi注1, the 15)oracle tells Hercules that only a terrible 16)penance can 17)absolve him of his crimes. To receive that penance, he must go to his cousin and archrival, King Eurystheus注2. But it’s a trick. Hera is using the oracle and King Eurystheus to crush Hercules.
Eurystheus assigns Hercules 12 challenges, all designed by Hera. They will forever be known as the Labors of Hercules. In them, the hero is challenged to rid the Greek world of its greatest evils, to confront its most 18)savage beasts, forces of nature, evil 19)tyrants, and monsters. No man could be expected to survive even one of these challenges, but Hercules must overcome twelve.
Struck: Myths reflect historical events that have long since been past, so…they are a kind of code and a…ancient history that gets passed down from generation to generation. The stories of Hercules come together from people getting together in different cultures, and sharing their own tales of local heroes that they know who overcome great difficulties. And as they share these stories, they start to realize, “Wait a minute, our strong man seems to be a little bit like your strong man.” And then the…the traditions all weave together.
Joining the 20)Olympians 登上神山
At last, Hercules has completed his penance. He has conquered every obstacle that has been put in his path, and endured physical and mental 21)torment beyond measure. By all rights, he should finally be at peace.
Hera holds an undying 22)grudge against Hercules for being Zeus’s 23)illegitimate son. There is only one escape from her curse: death. He builds a huge funeral 24)pyre. His life on earth ends just as he endured it – in torment.
Struck: And at the very end of it all, Zeus says, “Okay, Hercules, you’ve suffered enough, and you’re so great, I’m actually gonna go ahead and just make you a god.”
This is the myth of Hercules – a timeless story of strength, suffering and 25)redemption.
Struck: It’s the kind of story people like to hear.
Fontaine: Because everyone has experienced trouble, and 26)toil, and suffering in their lives. They’ve all faced monumental tasks that they don’t think they’ll be able to…to complete.
Struck: And they want to hear a story of someone who’s been through such things, but has still gotten through, and made it into the end. That Hercules can achieve success at the end points out to us that there’s a kind of…always a possibility of success, no matter how difficult our life might seem.
● 杀死涅墨亚的狮子（Slay the Nemean Lion）
● 消灭勒耳那的九头蛇许德拉（Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra）
● 生擒月神阿尔特弥斯的金角牡鹿（Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis）
● 活捉厄律曼托斯山的野猪（Capture the Erymanthian Boar）
● 在一天之内把奥革阿斯国王的马厩打扫干净（Clean the Augean stables in single day）
● 砍杀斯廷法利斯沼泽的食人鸟（Slay the Stymphalian Birds）
● 捕捉克里特公牛（Capture the Cretan Bull）
● 偷走狄俄墨得斯国王的食人马群（Steal the Mares of Diomedes）
● 得到阿玛宗女王的腰带（Obtain the Girdle of the Amazon Queen）
● 夺取巨人革吕翁的牛群（Obtain the Cattle of the Monster Geryon）
● 偷取赫斯珀里得思姐妹的金苹果（Steal the Apples of the Hesperides）
● 捕捉冥府看门狗刻耳柏洛斯并将其带到凡间（Capture and bring back Cerberus）