Hercules : The Greatest Greek Hero

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Hercules is considered the greatest Greek hero of all. Unlike Theseus, who was both very strong and thoughtful, Hercules simply is strong. In fact, he is the strongest man who has ever existed, and therefore he considers himself something of a god. Indeed, he is half-god, a son of Zeus. Supremely confident, Hercules showed his brute force from a very early age, when he wrestled a snake that had slithered into his baby cradle. The saddest incident of his life occurs after he has married Princess Megara and had three children with her. Hera, Zeus's jealous wife, cannot forgive her husband for having had Hercules as an illicit son, so she sends Hercules into insanity. One night Hercules goes mad and unwittingly kills his three boys. When he realizes what he has done, he almost kills himself, but Theseus persuades him to go on living; that is the heroic option.To cleanse himself, Hercules visits the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle tells him to go to Eurystheus, who sends him on almost impossible challenges. Hercules completes all of his twelve labors: killing the lion of Nemea, killing a creature with nine heads called the Hydra, capturing a stag with horns of gold, killing a boar, cleaning the thousands of Aegean stables in one day, exiling the Stymphalian birds, going to Crete and retrieving the beautiful savage bull that Poseidon gave Minos, retrieving the man-eating mares, bringing back the girdle of Hippolyta, returning the back of the cattle of Geryon (a monster with three

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