"The celebrated athlete Polydeuces, whose story will be told later, trained him in the use of arms; from Autolycus, a son of Hermes, he learned to wrestle; and from Eurytus, grandson of Apollo, he learned to shoot with bow and arrows. He was instructed in the arts, too, and became a fine lute player."
"Their names were Pleasure and Virtue, and they offered him a choice. Pleasure offered a life of ease and plenty, Virtue a life of toil and struggle and some sorrow, but with the promise of glory at the end of it."
" ... and Hercules, grief-stricken, journeyed to Delphi to ask the oracle how he could atone for what he had done."
Read the story again from pages 2 to 8.
6a: "... an enormous, fire-breathing bull which was running free on the island of Crete (p.5)
6b: "People said that when one head was cut off another at once grew in its place so that the monster was as strong as before" & "Hercules advanced and struck at the Hydra with his sword. A head flew through the air, but instantly another began growing in its place." (p.3)
6c: "A savage boar of enormous size has reduced the whole province to a state of terror. Its tusks are said to be the length of a man's arm, and it fears neither man nor beast." (p.4)
6d: "The birds, which were rather like storks, had claws and beaks of brass and could shed heavy, brass feathers from their wings at will." (p.5)
i: "She decided to put two posionous serpents in his cradle." (p.1)
iii: "Hera saw her chance to strike once more and she drove Hercules mad, so that he imagined that Megara and his children were his enemies. In a terrible rage, he killed them all." (p.2)
v: "She caused two giant crabs to crawl ... their armored claws closed on Hercules's bare ankles." (p.3)
vi: "Hera decided to interfere once more. She spread a rumor that Hercules's true purpose was seize Hippolyte herself and carry her off." (p.7)
- "He told her (Athene) about his problem and she produced for him a huge brass rattle, which had been made for her by Hephaestus." (p.5)
- "Hercules, with Hermes as his guide, soon came to the dark, swirling waters of the River Styx." (p.8)
i: Hera drove Hercules mad and made him kill his family out of rage.
ii: They story does not show his regret over choosing Viture.
iii: Gods and goddesses (e.g. Athene and Hermes) helped him along his way.
iv: His success came with great pain and challenges.
What is the most admirable quality of Hercules? Was he rich, lucky, in need of help or strong and determined?
The Labours of Hercules
Extension: Think and Share
11. Hercules' labours can be seen as metaphors for difficulties and adversities in our life. What tactics or lessons did you learn about handling challenges in your life from Hercules' story?
12. What are the qualities of heroes? Would you consider Hercules a hero? Can you think of another figure who also demonstrates immense strength and courage in today's world?