Hercules and batman

There have been hero’s since the beginning of time. A hero is what makes up a great story. A hero, made up or not is someone who has the courage to stand up for the little guy.    Go beyond the call of duty. Not because they have to but because they want to. Most see hero’s as a fearless figure, a person who is skilled in combat as well as a great leader. The society in where the hero is, is molded by their presence.

In myths the hero is the person who crosses the boundaries from our world to the world of the Gods. Batman and Hercules are both mythological hero’s. Batman a hero that started off as comic book story in 1964 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for DC comics . Batman is a human, Bruce Wayne  born in to money. He sees both of his parents shot to death  right in front of him. Since then he has trained his mind and body to absolute perfection becoming a skilled martial artist and the world greatest detective.  Batman is the figure of the night that protects the people of Gotham city taking down petty thugs and the  crime kingpins. What make the myth of Batman so legendary is that he does not kill, it is his golden rule. He will brake bones, and torture people to get the information he needs but he will not kill anyone. The fact that he is only human and does so much good for the crime rotten Gotham city with out killing is why the myth of the Batman so appealing.

 Hercules started out as an ancient Greek myth. Hercules being Half god and half human. His father is Zeus the ruling king of the gods on Mount Olympus, he wanted great lasting eternal fame for his son but to please Hera a great goddess he was going to have to earn this fame. Hera had sent two snakes to Hercules while he still a baby to his nursery kill him. Hercules  grab the two snakes one in each hand and strangled them to death. That was where the heroic myth of Hercules starts. He then goes on to marry a princess and follows out a pre determined destiny by completing twelve labors for Eurystheus then finally earning immortality and his eternal fame. The myth of Hercules shows the world that everyone has challenges in their own life that they must over come. They may not become a famous hero but a hero to ones own private self.

The family life style of these mythic hero’s defines their character, the actions they make in their life. Batman the only family he has was murdered right in front of him. Yes he has a tight nit circle of people who he allows into his life that you can consider his family. Alfred Pennyworth his butler in my opinion his father figure/ best friend. He is the person who raised him since the day his parents where killed. Batman as Bruce Wayne does not want the complications of having a wife or a girlfriend. Tho at one time he was engaged. He feels as if it would distract him from being the Batman. He does date to keep up apperences as Bruce Wayne but he does not take any of them that serious. Part of that is also is because if any of his enemies found out about her they would use that against him and the Batman does not allow for unneeded weakness. There is the series of Robins, Dick Greyson and Jason Todd both had their parents killed in front of them by mobsters. They both had a similar origin story as Batman. The series of Robin continue with Tim Drake who is an amazing detective, with skills that Batman admits himself that may one day surpass his own. The final Robin is his actual son Damian Wayne. He does not find out about Damian until the boy is a young teenager. Raised under his grand father Ra’s al Gual, the terrorist leader of League of Assassins.  he is placed under his fathers, Batman’s care and is from there on to be raised by him.

              Knowing the people close to Batman people that he may consider as family is important because having these boys close to him he must look out for them. Batman is their role model a father figure their trainer. Batman must train them all both physically and mentally lead them in the right direction, down the right path. That is not an easy thing to do due to the fact that they have all been raised differently each containing internal anger due to their situations that have brought  them to Batman. Especially with Damian, ever since his birth he was born to be an assassin. If Batman was not such a great leader these boys would be out in the streets of Gotham killing the villains instead of bringing them to justice. In the society that Batman is seen in, he is not the killer he is the protector of the weak. If the city saw the people affiliated with him his mythological status of being a hero would change from that to mythological villain. No one would be capable of seeing the Batman in the same positive light that see him in now.

Hercules family situation is much different from Batman, Bruce Wayne’s. Hercules as he grew older he married the beautiful princess Megara. They had three children together all males. Hercules was happy as a family man but one day Eurystheus became feared of Hercules and his strength. When Hercules refused to become his servant Hera mad him insane in his fit of madness he took his bow and arrows and shot all three of children and his first wife. When he regained control of his mind not knowing what he did he retreated from society. Hercules became lost without his wife and children. He did not know what to do, half bent on taking his own life he set out and found advice from the oracle of Delphi.

Hercules once again got married to Deianira (Name meaning “man destroyer” or “destroyer of her husband”). There are two stories to as how these two became married. Deianira was suppose to be married to Achelous the river god but Hercules once again comes in and saves the day by defeating Achelous in a wrestling match for the hand of the “beloved” Deianira. The other story is Hercules comes and rapes her tells her that he will come back and marry her. He comes back to marry her but Deianira father is afraid of the centaur Euryton and gives her off to marry him. Hercules comes before the marriage and kills the centaur. Then making Deianira his second wife. The second wife of Hercules is also the cause of his death. And upon his death Hercules meets his third and final wife Hebe on Mount Olympus.

Batman and Hercules both use fear to their advantage. When becoming the Batman Bruce Wayne wanted to strike fear in his enemies. What scared him where bats. So over time Bruce Wayne came up with the Batman. The thought of the batman being around deters some villains from doing evil acts of crime in fear that they may get be caught and brought to justice. The myths of Batman always have him close to the under world, the darkness, crime ally, abandoned warehouse the places where fear lingers.

Hercules is also feared by his appearance. Not intentionally is he trying to be feared. In the first labor of Eurystheus he commands Hercules to bring him the skin of the lion Nemea. Hercules did just that he tricked the lion into a cave with no escape and choked it to death. Hercules came out of the cave wearing the lion Nemea skin as a trophy. Hercules returned to the city of Tiryns wearing his trophy.  Eurystheus was so frightened by the sight that he order Hercules to remain outside the city gates his only communicating with him was though servant messengers.

These myths of Batman and Hercules, these are hero’s. The society in which they are in need them around. The myths of these two talk about how they make the land a safer place. In the 2005 movie “Batman Begins” there is this petty drug dealer who is about to make a sell. But before he does he looks up and sees the bat symbol in the sky. The dealer then says  “Naa man not tonight the bat is out.” The drug deal was then abandoned. The thought of the Batman being around strikes fear in to criminals making them think twice before beginning in an illegal activity. The thought of Batman also makes the major player in the crime would move out of Gotham because it is smart business for them . They will lose money but they will not have to deal with the Batman. Gotham City is Batman’s turf, criminals are not welcomed their.

The Greek land in where Hercules has most of his adventures, the labors that he must complete to gain his eternal fame in history has him defeating many monsters. If these monster where not killed they could have made it to the towns and home of people that he cared about or the innocent people who do not deserver horrible things to happen to  them. Hercules goes about protecting his land much differently than Batman but they both do the same thing. Stop the evil and protecting the good the innocent.

The myths and stories of Batman and Hercules are very different but in the aspect of being a hero they are very important and enduring. The hero’s in these myth are teaching lessons no matter where you are from no matter your situation you to can achieve greatness you to can also make a difference in this world. Maybe as small a doing something heroic within your own home but that is how becoming a hero starts. The hero’s in society are the people who are not out there seeking fame and glory. They out to make a positive  different in the world that they live in.

“A key ideological myth of the superhero comic is that the normal and everyday enshrines positive values that must be defended through heroic action…“

  -Roger Reynolds, Superheroes: A Modern Mythology

 

“The myth is the public dream, and the dream is the private myth.”

  -Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth 

 

References

  1. http://thesupersagaofsierra.blogspot.com/2011/02/wives-of-hercules.html
  2. http://www.ancient.eu/article/733/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_(comics)
  4. World Mythology: Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. 3rd edition

BY Donna Rosenburg

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman
  2. Mythic Symbols of Batman John J. Darowski Brigham Young University – Provo
  3. http://www.popmythology.com/batman-movies/

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