Disney’s Hercules, while not entirely true to the scripture he was first conceptualized in, is rife with the same heroic traits as his definitive counterpart. Throughout the course of the film, Hercules faces a series of challenges and events which test his strength and ability. Subsequently these events fulfill the majority of his heroic archetype. By Hercules’ masculine nature, divine parent, divine helper, trip to the underworld, and fulfillment of kleos (his immortal quest for glory), Hercules would have been considered a hero in Ancient Greek society despite the archetypical traits left unfulfilled in the film.
Hercules’ masculinity becomes majorly evident as a physical aspect after undergoing training with Philoctetes (Phil). His muscular personage is representative of man in a direct way. While he does not dominate his relationship with his love interest, Megara (Meg), by physical means he overshadows her and asserts masculinity. Hercules is also masculine in his bravery by the way he confronts challenges head on. In one instance, Hercules literally bashes the centaur, Nessus, with his head. In Hercules’ muscular build and his courageous albeit headstrong tendency, he is personified as a masculine hero.
Hercules actually has two divine parents, Zeus and Hera, in Disney’s rendition as opposed to only one in Greek myth. In this way the heroic notion of having a divine parent is fulfilled perhaps to a greater extent. Hercules’ father, Zeus, also plays a role as his divine helper, another trait of the hero archetype. Zeus fulfills this by revealing Hercules’ past to him and his relation to the gods, setting him off on his journey to heroism. In addition to Zeus, Hercules’ winged horse, also serves as a divine helper throughout the film. Pegasus assists Hercules in nearly all of his battles and takes his abilities to new heights.
Hercules makes his trip to the underworld in an attempt to rescue Megara from death itself.
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