Heracles and rape

#1 Posted by seekquaze (606 posts) - - Show Bio

One thing I have often admired about Hercules even mythological is his his generally more morally upstanding character than many Greek heroes or gods.

With that in mind with Marvel's Herc:

1. Do you think it ever bothers Herc that from a, perhaps modern, point of view Zeus raped Alcemne? True, it wasn't though force but trickery. She thought Zeus was her husband Amphitryon. This has always been one of the biggest blots on mythological Zeus to modern eyes. For all his good, even the most lenient interpretations of some of his stories have him be a serial rapist. Or does Zeus get a pass considering Zeus was top god in the culture of the time and because Zeus did it it was alright?

For that matter, how do you think Herc rationalize behavior like this? Does he just ignore it? Or do you think in the MU it is something Zeus did in the distant past but has since outgrew? Something Herc is forced to accept when weighing it against the "good" of Zeus? Ugly question better off not asking? In a past discussion that was somewhat touched on by Zeus being Herc's father and king, Herc being raised to respect him, and there being no better alternative to rule Olympus.

Contrary to Zeus, I am not aware of any stories of Hercules doing anything similar.

2.Would anybody like to see the return of Heracles? In the "Trial of Zeus" arc Heracles was the mortal shade cast down when Herc's divine half was lifted up. Pluto had been torturing it for eons as punishment for Herc's offenses in life. Would anybody like to see a return of this character?

I found him interesting due to his radically different outlook on life. Was he right to blame Hercules for his suffering? Did Herc escape justice when Zeus ascended him to godhood? Or was Pluto lying and torturing Heracles in violation of the ancient codes? For that matter, if Heracles is the mortal half and Hercules the divine why does Heracles have super-strength at all? Wouldn't that be lost with his divine half?

#2 Edited by PowerHerc (81623 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze:

I think Hercules probably judged what Zeus did to Alcmena by ancient standards based on his own religious beliefs of the time. In the time of Hercules early life, death and apotheosis to immortality Zeus was considered by Greeks to be the ultimate universal power and authority over everything and anything. Considering this, I think it's reasonable to assume Hercules probably accepted what Zeus did to his mother, not to mention many other women, as his divine right no matter what anyone thought or felt. It's highly unlikely and unreasonable to assume Hercules would judge this matter using our modern western standards of right and wrong.

As for any future use of 'Heracles' - I feel Hercules' mortal shade is just that; a shade existing only in Hades with no physical form of it's own - I don't find this mortal aspect of Hercules' being all that compelling and wouldn't care to see it again.

Also, he was wrong to blame Hercules for his suffering. The torture was Pluto's doing and him being sent to Hades was because Zeus didn't allow his aspect to remain part of Hercules and thus he went the way of other Greek mortals upon death. Could Pluto have been lying? Yes, but we may never know for sure. I do find it reasonable for Heracles to have super-strength because the very reason for Hercules/Heracles existence was to do, as a mortal, what the gods themselves could not; defeat and slay the gigantes (giants).

#3 Posted by LeeSensei (385 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze said:

One thing I have often admired about Hercules even mythological is his his generally more morally upstanding character than many Greek heroes or gods.

With that in mind with Marvel's Herc:

1. Do you think it ever bothers Herc that from a, perhaps modern, point of view Zeus raped Alcemne? True, it wasn't though force but trickery. She thought Zeus was her husband Amphitryon. This has always been one of the biggest blots on mythological Zeus to modern eyes. For all his good, even the most lenient interpretations of some of his stories have him be a serial rapist. Or does Zeus get a pass considering Zeus was top god in the culture of the time and because Zeus did it it was alright?

For that matter, how do you think Herc rationalize behavior like this? Does he just ignore it? Or do you think in the MU it is something Zeus did in the distant past but has since outgrew? Something Herc is forced to accept when weighing it against the "good" of Zeus? Ugly question better off not asking? In a past discussion that was somewhat touched on by Zeus being Herc's father and king, Herc being raised to respect him, and there being no better alternative to rule Olympus.

Contrary to Zeus, I am not aware of any stories of Hercules doing anything similar.

2.Would anybody like to see the return of Heracles? In the "Trial of Zeus" arc Heracles was the mortal shade cast down when Herc's divine half was lifted up. Pluto had been torturing it for eons as punishment for Herc's offenses in life. Would anybody like to see a return of this character?

I found him interesting due to his radically different outlook on life. Was he right to blame Hercules for his suffering? Did Herc escape justice when Zeus ascended him to godhood? Or was Pluto lying and torturing Heracles in violation of the ancient codes? For that matter, if Heracles is the mortal half and Hercules the divine why does Heracles have super-strength at all? Wouldn't that be lost with his divine half?

Zeus was never good, by any means. He was a Jerkass. Almost every Greek God and hero was jerkass in some way. The only reason, he's often portrayed as a good guy in modern media is because it works better for the stories. Just like Hades being turned into an evil God. Going by the myths, Hades was one of the nicer Gods.

#4 Posted by PowerHerc (81623 posts) - - Show Bio

@lykopis said:

@LeeSensei said:

Zeus was never good, by any means. He was a Jerkass. Almost every Greek God and hero was jerkass in some way. The only reason, he's often portrayed as a good guy in modern media is because it works better for the stories. Just like Hades being turned into an evil God. Going by the myths, Hades was one of the nicer Gods.

Actually, Hades kidnapped Persephone (Demeter's daughter) and then tricked her into staying with him part of the year by having her eat pomegranate seeds. There are various forms of this myth, I simplified it, but the true accounting was much more vicious and in line with other gods selfish and cruel behaviour. I wouldn't count him as one of the nice Gods (my opinion) but he certainly was one of the most compelling.

Good point.

The abduction of Persephone was quite cruel indeed.

Hades/Pluto was certainly no exception to the capricious, selfish nature of the gods.

#5 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

Apollo was the only good greek god.

#6 Posted by seekquaze (606 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc said:

As for any future use of 'Heracles' - I feel Hercules' mortal shade is just that; a shade existing only in Hades with no physical form of it's own - I don't find this mortal aspect of Hercules' being all that compelling and wouldn't care to see it again.

Also, he was wrong to blame Hercules for his suffering. The torture was Pluto's doing and him being sent to Hades was because Zeus didn't allow his aspect to remain part of Hercules and thus he went the way of other Greek mortals upon death. Could Pluto have been lying? Yes, but we may never know for sure. I do find it reasonable for Heracles to have super-strength because the very reason for Hercules/Heracles existence was to do, as a mortal, what the gods themselves could not; defeat and slay the gigantes (giants).

I get what your saying about Zeus. I wonder if Hercules would feel the same way if Zeus pulled the same crap in modern times. Herc has sort of adapted to the morals of the modern day. Do you think Hercules would feel any different about it if Zeus acted such a way in the modern era?

As for Heracles, I can see why he would be pissed at both Zeus and Hercules. Zeus let him to rot and Herc either did not know baout him or did not care that he was suffering for crimes they had both committed. Regarding super-strength I can see arguments both for and against it. On one hand it is his birthright. Part of Hercules is intrinsically godly. When Zeus strips him of his godhood it is immortality, but at least some strength is left. ON the other, if the strength is from the divine half and Heracles is the "mortal" half I can see why it would be a weak as a normal human because Hercules is the divine half.

@LeeSensei said:

Zeus was never good, by any means. He was a Jerkass. Almost every Greek God and hero was jerkass in some way. The only reason, he's often portrayed as a good guy in modern media is because it works better for the stories. Just like Hades being turned into an evil God. Going by the myths, Hades was one of the nicer Gods.

I would not say this is entirely true. A large part of this is radically different morals. The mythological Heracles has many traits not admires in today's society. He could be highly vindictive holding grudges for years and laying waste to entire cities for the crimes of a few. Zeus was overall viewed as a upholder of law and justice. He could be a fair a good leader and fair arbiter. Many of the people he did torment in some way deserved it for either committing injustice or defying his kingly authority, but from the point of view of a very different moral code and type of justice. The Iliad is a good example of this. Zeus has to balance the different sides and a lot of the time only acts when some side has committed a wrong. On the other, there are many tales where he is just a massive a-hole because he can be. Even the ancients sometimes called him out on this. Of course, with true believers this would be excused because as a god the morals that apply to him would be different. Afterall, he is not human.

Zeus does rightly get a bad rap nowadays for several reasons. One is the different morals and idea of justice. Another is he did pull a lot of crap that left even some of the ancients scratching their heads. Part of it is his faults are overblown and people forget he was also a god of law and civilization.

@PowerHerc said:

Good point.

The abduction of Persephone was quite cruel indeed.

Hades/Pluto was certainly no exception to the capricious, selfish nature of the gods.

Some articles I've read indicate the Hades/Persephone story is not quite as cut and dry as this. Again, a large part of it was due to the different values. Some interpretations I've read state the abduction was more in line with an arranged marraige than outright kidnapping. Hades god Zeus' permission first after all. The opinion of the mother and would-be bride did not matter that much. The father had total mastery including matters of life and death in a house. The only reason the mother's opinion mattered this time around was she as a powerful goddess who could starve the Earth.

In myth, Hades is actually one of the nicer gods. He generally leaves mortals alone unless they bother him. I don't recall any tales of him being nearly as vindictive or capricious as his brothers. He was quite willing to allow Orpheus to return his wife to life and allow Ascelpius to heal people. He only got mad at the latter when he started ressurecting people going against the natural order. And even then in some versions only when Ascelpius selected who he would raise based on who paid the most.

@TheCrowbar said:

Apollo was the only good greek god.

I would have to disagree with that. He one tale he and a satyr were in a music contest: Apollo's lyre vs the satyr's flute. The first round was a draw so depending on the version Apollo demands the next round they either play their instruments upside down or sing and play at the same time. Needless to say Apollo asking the impossible of the satyr wins and then flays him for daring to challenge a god. I think most people would say that is an unfair contest, but in ancient times Apollo would sort of been in his rights to punish the satyr's hubris of challenging a god. There are several other tales as well of Apollo being about as vindictive as the other gods.

About the only Olympian with absolutely unquestionable behavior is Hestia, goddess of hearth and home. She does not appear in many stories.

#7 Posted by PowerHerc (81623 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze:

Yes, I do feel it is quite likely that Hercules would feel differently about it if Zeus behaved the same way in modern times as he did in ancient times.

#8 Posted by LeeSensei (385 posts) - - Show Bio

Another thing is that just because of morals dissonance, it doesn't make the things that they did any mroe right.

#9 Posted by Enyalios (141 posts) - - Show Bio

There were no wholey good or wholey evil gods in Greek Mytholgy. Athena, considered by most as the most just, was the biggest hypocrit in the pantheon. One need only look to the Illiad to see that, not to mention what she did to Medusa and Arachne. On the flip side to that, Ares, probably considered the least moral of all the gods, was the only one (at least in his Greek side) to consistantly come to the aid of his children (first murder trial in Greek myths is Poseiden wanting to prosecute Ares for killing his son after his son raped the daughter of Ares). As for the heroes, Hercules is far from good in the myths, and has his share of rape and pillage. He carted off the sister of Priam and gave her to his friend after the king of Troy didn't give him some horses. The only hero I've read that I could never find any sort of variation to the myths where he behaved in an otherwise unheroic fashion is Perseus, though one could argue that killing a woman who was cursed by the gods for allowing another god to have sex with her in a temple was not all-together 'good' either.

#10 Posted by seekquaze (606 posts) - - Show Bio

@LeeSensei said:

Another thing is that just because of morals dissonance, it doesn't make the things that they did any mroe right.

This is a slippery slope. Even today you have people from the same culture that can widely disagree on issues of morality. Once it was almost universally agreed that the death penalty was an appropriate form of punishment for capital crimes. It still is considered so in many parts of the world. It gets more complicated when you try and apply human morals to a being who is not human. In Zeus's case, one reason it more justifiable to condemn him due to his acts being called out as highly questionable if not outright wrong even in ancient times and his crimes being against many of his fellow gods as well.

#11 Posted by Nerx (15088 posts) - - Show Bio

Back then rape is okay dude because the laws are malestream, and screw moral decency they are gods

#12 Posted by joshmightbe (24601 posts) - - Show Bio

@Enyalios: Actually Medusa didn't allow anything she was straight up raped by Poseidon and then Athena punished her for being raped and then helped Perseus kill her.

#13 Posted by joshmightbe (24601 posts) - - Show Bio

Lets be honest here the Olympians were a bunch of pricks, basically a reflection of the harsh times of the world the Ancient Greeks lived in.

#14 Posted by PowerHerc (81623 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

Lets be honest here the Olympians were a bunch of pricks, basically a reflection of the harsh times of the world the Ancient Greeks lived in.

By and large; yes. Self-absorbed pricks at that.

#15 Posted by SamRevlon (134 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah I’m gonna have to say I don’t see this as rape. Rape in itself implies force and usually there are a lot of other factors included: hate, lust, and obsession. In this case it was trickery, but you could say a man could trick a woman into believing he’s a billionaire / last man on earth and they need to save the world… That doesn’t make him a rapist, just dishonest.

#16 Posted by Nerx (15088 posts) - - Show Bio

News Flash

Rape whistles don't work on Gods

#17 Edited by PowerHerc (81623 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nerx said:

News Flash

Rape whistles don't work on Gods

Note: This is not the Marvel Hercules/Heracles.

This is the DC "Heracles" from the post-Crisis revamp of the DC Universe which occurred in the mid-late 80's.

This image is from "Wonder Woman" #1, 1987. Story and art by George Perez.

#18 Posted by LeeSensei (385 posts) - - Show Bio

^I never liked how they made Hercules a rapist in the DCU. Hopefully that changes when he's reintroduced to the DCnU.

#19 Posted by PowerHerc (81623 posts) - - Show Bio

@LeeSensei said:

^I never liked how they made Hercules a rapist in the DCU. Hopefully that changes when he's reintroduced to the DCnU.

100% agreement from me.

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