Differences in Hercules
Hercules is the story of a demigod, who is the son of the Olympian god, Zeus. The two versions of the story of Hercules that we have seen in class differ greatly, and I have written this paper to explain the major differences. In the story we read in class, Hercules faces 12 Labors, which greatly differs from the storyline that Disney created in their animated movie “Hercules.”The biggest variance that I noticed between the two stories is that Hercules in the Disney version was born a god to Zeus and Hera, which in the real mythology, is completely opposite. In the story that we read in class, Hera disliked Hercules because Zeus had an affair with a mortal, and evidentially impregnated her. The Disney version portrays Hera as a loving mother which is not so accurate. During the beginning, Hercules is fed a bottle of potion, which changes him from god into mortal. However, the last drop of potion was not consumed by Hera, so he kept all of his godly strength. However, Zeus was still forced to send him to Earth because mortals were not allowed on Mount Olympus. Hercules eventually decides he wants to return to Olympus after he meets real father in the Temple of Zeus, and in order to do so, he must make himself a “true hero.” He is trained by a small goat-guy called Phil, who claims to have trained other failures who wanted to become heroes, which is not in any way similar.
Hercules also gets a horse called Pegasus at birth and the two reunite after Hera’s training; Pegasus did not exist in the original mythology. The main story behind the Disney film is that Hades is trying to take over Mount Olympus and he must kill Hercules in order to do so. The titans are summoned by Zeus during a planetary alignment, which was described as a complete inaccuracy of the story. Of course good triumphs over evil and Hercules restores order to Olympus and everyone goes home happy. One major contributing factor that led to such large-scale differences between the two stories is the fact that the animated Disney movie had to be viewable to children. Disney could not depict Zeus having an affair with another woman and they had to make it somewhat comical and musical so that it would appeal to parents as a family movie. Also, Disney probably didn’t think that the original tale would come off as interesting. So they added Pegasus, Phil, and gave a new personality to Hades. There is a ton of other things they added and removed also. I personally like the Disney version better; partly because that was the first Hercules film I had seen. Prior to that, I had no mythological knowledge whatsoever. In addition to that, I am a comical person, and I appreciate a good laugh every now and then. Though both stories interest me now, I still have to stick with Disney. Though they grossly misrepresented Hera, I think we can excuse them for it, and appreciate the great film they produced for the family to watch.
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