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University of Toronto Scarborough
Laura Jane Wey

Lec12_oct22 What is a Hero?  A name given (as in Homer) to men of superhuman strength, courage, or ability, favoured by the gods; at a later time regarded as intermediate between gods and men, and immortal. The later notion included men of renown supposed to be deified on account of great and noble deeds, for which they were also venerated generally or locally; also demigods, said to be the offspring of a god or goddess and a human being; the two classes being ot a great extent coincident. (Def. 1, OED)  A man distinguished by extraordinary valour and martial achievements; one who does brave or noble deeds; an illustrious warrior. (Def. 2, OED) The Age of Hearoes  “Heroic age” falls at end of Bronze age; sometimes listed as its own period in the Five (as opposed to Four) Ages of Man  Approximately 6 “generations” of heroes: o Generation before Argonauts  Perseus; Aegeus  Aegeus is Theseus’ mortal father o Generation of Argonauts  Heracles; Jason; Theseus; Medea; Orpheus; Peleus; Castor & Pollux  Peleus is the father of Acheles  Zeus is the father of Castor & Pollux (Gemini twins); mother is Leda  Castor & Pollux are suppose to be siblings of Helen but they were cast into the second generation o Generation of Oedipus  Oedipus; Atreus; Thyestes  Father of the greek expedition o Generation of Seven Against Thebes o Generation of Trojan War  Agamemnon; Achilles; Odysseus; Hector; Ajax o Generation after Trojan War  Orestes; Iphigneia; Telemachus; Neoptolemus After the Greek came back from war Perseus Heracles Jason Theseus Parentage Zeus, Danae Zeus, Alcmene; Aeson; ?? Poseidon’ Amphitryon Aethra;: Aegeus Main Killing of Twelve Labours Quest of the Killing of the Adventures Medua; Golden Fleece Minotaur rescue of Andromeda Human Acrisius, Eurystheys Pelias Minos antagonist polydectes Opposing deity ------- Hera Zeus Hades Aiding deity Athene; Hermes Athene; Hermes; Hera; Athene Poseidon Zeus; Helios Death --------- Shirt of Nessus Struck by piece Pushed over cliff and fire of the Argo by friend of enemy Other Great- Has twin Aided by Medea Aided by grandfather of brother Iphicles Ariadne; Heracles Medea’s stepson Common Elements Found in Stories about Heroes  Hero has one divine parent  Hero has unusual/ miraculous birth  Hero is endangered in infancy/ early childhood o Heracles get the snake’s den o Perseus gets his mother overthrown to the sea  Hero has great physical strength o Very often we don’t know anything about them growing up  Hero compelled to perform impossible tasks  Hero goes on a quest, even to the underworld (Often combined with previous)  Hero has close relationship (whether positive or negative with god(s)  Hero rewarded with something of great value – kingdom; beautiful princess; immortality; etc.  Hero immortalized in legend after death; may even get transformed into a god (apotheosis) Heracles/ Hercules/ Alcides  Conception of Heracles and Iphicles (one divine, one human father)  Hera tries to obstruct the birth  Hera sends snakes to kill the babies o One maid tricks her by saying “oh the baby is a boy” and she get surprised and forgets about her trap and the goddess of childbirth comes and does her job and they’re born A
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