A Comparison of the Disney movie Hercules and the actual MythThe story of Heracles has always been a popular one. Heracles is considered to be one of the best heroes of all time, even over Jason and Achilles. He is so popular and the story is so well known that Disney decided to make a movie. In the movie Disney made some changes that worked and they made some changes that could have been left the same as the original myth.
In the Disney version they make Zeus? wife Hera to be the mother of Heracles?. This was probably to make is acceptable for children to view, since the truth is something that parents probably would not want their children seeing, also since it was a cartoon Disney was focusing on making the movie acceptable for the age range of viewers that would more than likely be attending the movie. They also had Heracles born on Mount Olympus and all the Gods celebrating the birth of the baby boy. Hera was not Heracles? mother in the original myth. His real mother was Alcmena, a woman that Zeus had an affair with. Alcemena didn?t know this was what was happening thought.. The way Zeus got away with this was he disguised himself as Alcemna?s husband Amphitryon and went and visited her. She conceived twins one from Zeus and one from Amphitryon. Alcemna however, noticed that one was stronger than the other. It was revealed to her later on of what had happened. Hera was never fond of Heracles because he was a result of one of Zeus? affairs that she could not prevent from being born. Hera sent two serpents to kill the newborn Heracles the moment both twins were born, but Heracles strangled the snakes and survived. This is something that Disney did get partly right. They did not mention that there was another baby that was born but Disney did have the snakes. In the movie after pain and panic kidnap the baby, Heracles, they give him a potion that they were ordered by Hades to give to him that takes away his god like powers. The baby does not drink the entire potion however, so he is left with his strength. Once Pain and Panic leave a couple finds the baby, and notice that he has the sign of the gods around his neck. While the couple is looking at Heracles, Pain and Panic come back as serpents and try to kill Heracles; he takes them and beats them up. The only twist that Disney puts on this is that Hera actually loves Heracles and doesn?t want to hurt him.
The god that does want to hurt him is Hades. He wants to rid of Heracles because of the prediction of the Fates, three sisters who can tell the past present and future, they tell Hades that if Heracles fights him then Heracles will ruin Hades chances in taking over Mount Olympus and ruling the world. Hades himself was portrayed as Evil and conniving this was not how he had been portrayed in the original myths. He was just the ruler of the underworld because his brother Zeus put him there.
In the myth of Heracles he was taught by several people different things he would need to know to be a hero. Those people were Amphitryon for chariot driving, wrestling by Autolycus, archery by Eurytus, and music by Linus. Heracles also even ended up killing Linus by striking him with the lyre; this was not shown in the movie. None of the teachers were shown in the movie there was only one. His name was Philatedies he was half goat half man. He was also said to have taught other heroes such as Achilles and Jason. This however, isn?t true because those heroes were after Heracles so Philateedies couldn?t of taught them.
Another thing that Disney put a twist on was the love story between Heracles and Megara. In the movie Heracles meets Megara as she is being harassed by the river god Nesus, and Heracles tries to save her. Megara is actually working for Hades and is trying to get the river god to be on Hades team, which consists of Hades and soon to be the Titans, to take over Mount Olympus. Time goes on and Hades finds out that Pain and Panic didn?t take care of Heracles when they were suppose to so Hades wants Megara to help break down Heracles to find out his weaknesses so Hades can use them again Heracles and rid of him so the prediction from the fates doesn?t come true. After everything that happens between Heracles and Megara they still end up falling in love and Heracles gives up his chance to go to Mount Olympus to stay with Megara. In the real myth Megara is the daughter of Creon. Creon gives Megara to Heracles as gratitude for leading the Theban army into battle and this is how the two are married.
Disney despite putting a couple twist in the movie to make it acceptable for children did a good job at getting things right. Heracles in the movie fought several creatures to prove to Thebes that he was a hero. This was a twist that Disney made. It also however, was true in the myth because he did fight each of those creatures as his twelve labors to make himself immortal. In the movie they didn?t show him do all twelve of the labors but the ones they did show were the Nemean Lion,The Lernaean Hydra, The Erymanthian Boar. Disney did mention the Gorgon and The Girdle of Hippolyta, . Even though the love story between Megara and Heracles wasn?t one hundred percent accurate it was true that they were married. They mention that Heracles was a demi god which would explain his strength, and they did have him live with mortal parents.
Between the movie and the myth I think that Disney made the right amount of changes. I think that they are justifiable because it is Disney and the audience that would most likely be watching the movie would be younger children. In the real myth there are things that should not of been put on screen for younger children to view. Such as the rape of Alcmena, or the fact that Heracles was allowed to be with all 50 of Thespius? daughters. I do think though that they should of kept some of the real myth such as all of Heracles teachers, so that way there could have been more of his life in there. Due to these changed I do not feel that this movie is updated enough for modern viewers because it does not follow the exact myth and it mixes to many things into it to be accurate. I also think that Disney does understand the underlying theme to the myth. Zeus in the movie tells Heracles that even though he has done all the labors that were assigned to him and that he was loved by everyone in Thebes to become a true hero he needed to be able to find it in himself. This is always a lesson Disney is trying to teach kids to be oneself and not to be selfish. Once Heracles did this he would be given him immortality and would be able to live amongst the gods. Heracles in the original myth did all of the labors to purify himself after Hera sent him into a fit of madness that made him kill Megara. This is kind of like the theme Disney is making because he feels the guilt for killing them and is trying to be unselfish and to make it right.