Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Hercules Character Analysis

Hercules is Jupiter and Alcmena’s son. He becomes famous for many deeds, but Juno detests him because he is her husband’s bastard son. In her fury, Juno tells Hercules’s wife Deianira that Hercules is being unfaithful to her with a woman named Iole. Distraught, Deianira decides to give Hercules a cursed shirt that Nessus had given her saying it would excite Hercules’s lust. Hercules puts on the shirt and it burns his flesh. Hercules runs into the woods, begging Juno to kill him. He builds his own funeral pyre, lies down, and dies. Jupiter transforms him into a god.
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Hercules Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Hercules appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 9: Achelous and Hercules
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
...enters Deianira’s father’s palace and asks for Deianira’s hand in marriage. At the same time, Hercules asks Deianira’s father the same thing. Hercules explains that Jupiter is his father and that... (full context)
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Angry at this accusation, Hercules says that Achelous can win with words, but he, Hercules, can win with physical strength.... (full context)
Book 9: Hercules and Nessus
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Unlike Achelous, Nessus the centaur is fatally wounded trying to compete with Hercules for Deianira. After defeating Achelous, Hercules travels home with his new wife Deianira. They come... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
When Hercules reaches the opposite bank, he hears Deianira scream. Hercules screams that Nessus is a monster... (full context)
Book 9: The Death of Hercules
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Many years later, the stories of Hercules’s deeds spread through the world, and he becomes famous. The fame of her husband’s bastard... (full context)
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Finally, Deianira decides to give Hercules the blood-soaked shirt Nessus gave her in hopes of rekindling his lust towards her. She... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
In his agony, Hercules runs around the mountainside. He finds one of his servants and begs the man to... (full context)
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
The gods watch as Hercules—Earth’s greatest hero— burns to death. Seeing their anxiety, Jupiter says that he is glad the... (full context)
Book 9: Alcmena and Galanthis
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
When Hercules becomes a god, Iole marries his son Hyllus on Hercules’s instruction, and she becomes pregnant.... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
When Alcmena went into labor with Hercules, the pain was unbearable. Alcmena prayed to Lucina, the goddess of childbirth, begging for assistance.... (full context)
Book 9: Iolaus and Callirhoe’s Sons
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
...man who was restored to youth by Hebe, the goddess of youth and one of Hercules’s wives. After Hebe had answered Hercules’s prayer to restore youth to his son, she swore... (full context)
Book 12: Periclymenus
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
While Nestor is telling his story, Hercules’s son interrupts Nestor to accuse him of forgetting to praise Hercules’s part in the battle... (full context)
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
One of these brothers, Periclymenus, had been given the power of metamorphosis by Neptune. When Hercules killed his brothers, Periclymenus changed into a bird and attacked him with his talons. Hercules... (full context)
Book 15: Myscelus
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
...asks an elder who founded this Greek city on Italian land. The elder answers that Hercules once took refuge in Croton with his cattle and prophesied that the land would one... (full context)
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
The elder says that Hercules appeared in the dream of a man named Myscelus. Hercules instructed Myscelus to leave Argos... (full context)