In Greek mythology a hero was originally a demy-god, the offspring of a deity and a mortal. Hero (male) and heroine (female) came in to characters that, in the face of adversity and danger or from a position of Achilles’ heel, display bravery and the spirit for self-sacrifice, what you call heroism, for some greater good, originally of martial bravery or superiority but extended to more general moral brilliance. But more often than not, the topic of Greek myths is heroic. In recurring arguments as the severance from the mother, the finding and supplanting of the father, and the overcoming of difficulties, the role of the hero is plotted out. Who lives conform to this prototype include Perseus, Theseus, Jason and Oedipus was the great heroes.
More often heroes in myth had close but clashed relationships with the gods. Thus Heracles’s name means “the glory of Hera”, although all his life he was besieged by the queen of the gods. This was even truer in their alternative appearances. But the Athenian king Erechtheus is the most outstanding example, whom Poseidon killed to prefer Athena over him as the city’s patron god. When the Athenians worshiped Erechtheus on the Acropolis, they summoned him as Poseidon Erechtheus.
In spite of this, we can see Perseus as the most flawless of the Greek heroes. He accomplishes his pursue early on in his life probably due to a combination of the aid of the gods and his own proficiencies. Then he virtuously gives away his kingdom and rules elsewhere after winning his bride Andromeda. After this by accident he kills his grandfather and through an audition of skill. In this he fulfils the oracle, but acquires no penalty.
I think hero is basically defined as somebody who does something outstanding with full of bravery to help somebody else and the heroes of Greek mythology do not qualify it. They were a something selfish bunch, often with additional rebellious tendencies thrown into the bargain, in other words, not accurately role models for the younger era of today. But to know their names and exploits is necessary for understanding references in literature and more popular culture nowadays. So Hercules and Perseus and the others let be considered and celebrated by their proper dictionary meaning: “In mythology and legend, a man or woman, often of divine extraction, who is gifted with great strength and courage, celebrated for his or her brave exploits, and favored by the gods.”
Heroes in Greek Mythology
Against the Trojans in the Greek war, Achilles was the most fearless and strongest warrior. As an early age his mother dipped him into the River Styx, which made him impenetrable everywhere but the heel by which she held him. In the Trojan War, for ten years, Achilles was a great hero. But son of the Trojan king, in the end Paris, incurably wounded Achilles in the heel. Today, the ligament that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone is called the Achilles ligament, and a small but very dangerous weakness is known as an “Achilles heel.”
Jason was the chief of the Argonauts, the 50 heroes who navigated in search of the Golden Fleece. Pelias, Jason’s uncle, had claimed the kingdom that should belong to Jason. He agreed to return it if and only if Jason would bring home the Golden Fleece—the fleece from the magical winged ram that became the assemblage Aries. Jason and the Argonauts faced down such dangers as the noxious singing Sirens in their journey. They finally got the fleece with the help of the sorceress Medea, who later became Jason’s wife.
Perhaps the most loved of all Greek heroes is courageous and powerful Hercules. Heracles, the son of Zeus and Alcmene (a granddaughter of Perseus), grew up to become a famous warrior. But Hera, Zeus’s jealous wife, made him insane for the short term, and he killed his wife and children. Heracles performed twelve seemingly impossible labors as punishment, which has been about the countless works of art and drama. Heracles is often illustrated wearing a lion skin and handled a club.
Odysseus, the king of Ithaca and a celebrated warrior, helped the Greeks conquest in the Trojan War. Afterward to return home to Ithaca and his wife Penelope, he traveled nearly for ten years. Along the way Odysseus’s cleverness and courage saved him and his men from such massive as the Sirens, the Cyclops Polyphemus, and Scylla and Charybdis. After returning in Ithaca, Odysseus proved his identity to Penelope and once again ruled his kingdom. These adventures are told in Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey.
Perseus, the son of Zeus and Danaë, completed dangerous feats with his quick thinking and abilities as a warrior. Most famous was his killing of the Gorgon Medusa. Because looking directly at the monstrous Medusa would turn a man to stone, Perseus killed her while she was watching her reflection in a mirror. After decapitating the Gorgon with his sword he kept her head in his satchel. Afterwards, to save the princess Andromeda from being eaten by a sea monster, Perseus pulled out Medusa’s head and turned the creature to stone.
Theseus, the son of either Aegeus, king of Athens, or the sea god Poseidon, was known for his triumph over a number of monsters, especially the Minotaur, which lived in a labyrinth on the island of Crete. People of Athens had been forced to send fourteen young people for the Minotaur to eat alive every year. But using a ball of magic thread from the princess Ariadne, Theseus got his way in and out of the labyrinth and killed the monster. Afterwards in his later life he became a famous warrior and the king of Athens.
- “Greek Mythology Information Quest”, www.sowashco.k12.mn.us/CGJH/Dept/English/Myths/Greek%20Mythology%20Information%20Quest.pdf
- “Greek Myths”, www.lovatts.com.au/pf4k/pdfs/worksheets/GreekMyths_Worksheet.pdf
- “The Truth about Myths”, media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/28/07645543/0764554328.pdf
- maria catergari, “Greek Gods and Heroes in the period of Rubens and Rembrandt”, www.acci.gr/trade/No19/94.pdf
- John Porter, “The Legend of the Trojan War”, homepage.mac.com/bmulligan/classics/roots2004/handouts/Shorter_Troy_Legend.pdf