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Macpherson-The Heroes- Lec 12.docx

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Laura Jane Wey

Macpherson: “The Heroes” th Wednesday October 24 , 2012 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 to a great extent coincident. (Def.1, OED) o A lot of the time, heroes and demigods overlap  A man distinguished by extraordinary valour and martial achievements; one who does brave or noble deeds; an illustrious warrior. (Def.2, OED) The Ages of Heroes  “Heroic age’ falls at the 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 o Generation of Argonauts  Heracles; Jason; Theseus; Medea (step-mother of Theseus); Orpheus; Peleus(father of Achilles); Castor & Pollux (twins; sons of Zeus)  Castor & Pollux were supposed to be brothers of Helen (cause of Trojan War) o Generation of Oedipus  Oedipus; Atreus(father of Agamemnon); Thyestes o Generation of Seven Against Thebes  After Oedipus blinds himself … two sons… Fight with each other over who will rule Thebes o Generation of Trojan War  Agamemnon; Achilles; Odysseus; Hector; Ajax  Fought in Trojan War o Generation after Trojan War  Orestes; Iphigeneia; Telemachus (son of Odysseus); Neoptomlemus (son of Achilles)  *** Mythology is inconsistent …. Sometimes the time will not match each other Perseus Heracles (Glory of Jason Theseus Hera) Parentage Zeus; Danaë Zeus; Alcmene; Aeson; ?? Poseidon; Aethra; demigod Amphitryon Aegeus demigod demigod Main Adventures Killing of Medusa; Twelve labors Quest of the Killing of the Rescue of Golden Fleece Minotaur Andromeda Human Antagonist Eurystheus – has Minos (King and (enemy) – hope to serve him father of hero gets killed Acrisius because he killed Pelias (father’s Minotaur) – while completing (grandfather); his wife and brother) – sends person who makes the task Polydectes (sends children/ Zeus him to get Golden the quest him to get boasts Heracles Fleece in hopes necessary (stop Gorgon’s head) will have dominion Jason will die annual tribute of over all men sacrificing Athenian youths) Opposing Deity Hera (hates Hades (tries to ------ Heracles because Zeus kidnap he is Zeus’ love Persephone from child) the underworld) Aiding Deity Athena; Hermes; Hera (was kind to Zeus; Helios (may her); Athena Poseidon – his Athena; Hermes have even more father help – did a lot of tasks) Shirt of Nessus Struck by piece of Pushed over cliff and fire (glorious, the Argo (death by friend of enemy Death ----- but bloody death) was not very (not a glorious – reason why he heroic) death) became immortal Has twin brother Aided by Medea; Aided by Ariadne Other Great-grandfather Iphicles (all helped by princess (princes of the of Heracles human) of the land land); Medea’s stepson; Common Elements Found in Stories about Heroes  Hero has one divine parent o father  Hero has unusal / miraculous birth o Perseus – born from a shower of golden rain o Zeus appears to mother in form of father; Hera tries to stop Heracles birth  Hero is endangered in infancy / early childhood o Snake sent to Hercales o Perseus thrown in chest with mother to drown o Jason sent away to be raised by centaur o * No nothing about hero as they are growing up  Hero has great physical strength o Theseus - Lift gigantic rock  Hero compelled to perform impossible tasks o Not voluntary  Hero goes on a quest, even to the underworld (Often combined with previous) o Have to journey to other places; not local  Hero has close relationship (whether positive or negative) with god(s)  Hero rewarded with something of gr
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