All cultures have heroes and heroines who are present in a variety of myths and legends. But what exactly does it take to be a hero? A hero is a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities. Thor and Hercules are both perfect examples of heroes. Both heroes are from completely different cultures. Thor is from Norse mythology and Hercules is from Greek mythology. Despite their different cultures, they share many similarities. Although Hercules is from Greek mythology and Thor is from Norse mythology, the two heroes have many legends about their lives that make them heroic, reveal their culture, and exhibit similar archetypal elements.
Hercules led a very different childhood from the very beginning. When he was born, Zeus was his father and his mother was a mortal woman giving him the title of demi-god. Since Hercules was half mortal, he could not live on mount Olympus, and had to live on earth. Hera, Zeus’ wife, became very jealous of Hercules because Zeus had had an affair with another woman. She did not accept him, and that is another reason Hercules could not live on Mount Olympus. When Hercules was still just an infant, Hera sent two very large snakes to try and kill him. However, since the other half of Hercules was immortal, he had an abnormal amount of strength. Hercules strangled the two snakes with his bare hands, upsetting Hera very much. Hercules’ mother saw this, and knowing he was different said, “Hercules shall become a hero to all people” (Richardson and Baxter 5).
As Hercules reached adulthood, according to Richardson and Baxter, “He made a huge club that was so heavy that no one could lift it off the ground. But Hercules could swing it around as if it were a thin stick” (7). This became Hercules’ main weapon. Hercules became the strongest man on earth, his strength and courage made him unbeatable. He was known by everyone, and indeed, was a hero to all people. Hercules married the daughter of King Creon of Thebes, Megara, and had three children. It was a very happy marriage, and Hercules and Megara were deeply in love. One day Hera, still wanting to wreak havoc upon Hercules’ life, influenced Hercules to kill his own wife and children. When Hercules came to his senses and realized what he had done, he was overcome with grief. He immediately went to the oracle at Delphi and asked how he could cleanse himself of his sins. The Oracle replied, “You must go to Mycenae and serve King Eurystheus for twelve years. Only by doing this will you ever be free of your pain and guilt” (Richardson and Baxter 10).
When Hercules went to Eurystheus, the king eagerly started to think of twelve labors for Hercules. What Hercules didn’t know was that Hera was influencing the king to think...