The Story of Hercules
Vocabulary – Write down your understanding of the following words. Then, as
the story of Hercules is read aloud, note your understanding of the meaning of
the word in the context of the story. Some of the words have unexpected
1. wrath (noun) -
2. of noble birth -
3. lyre (noun) -
4. atone (verb) -
5. hind (noun) -
6. dale (noun) -
7. girdle (noun) -
8. mete (noun) –
9. ford (verb) -
Places – Research the location of these places. Have you ever come across
these places in another class or another context? Explain.
Pillars of Hercules –
Figures – Identify the following figures from Greek mythology. What are their
defining characteristics? Do they appear in other stories that you've come
1. the oracle of Delphi
2. the old man of the sea
7. a centaur
9. the Fates
The Labours of Hercules
As you listen to the story, try to reorder the following challenges:
_____ the boar of Mount Erymanthus
_____ the golden girdle of Hippolyta
_____ the red cows of Gerydo
_____ the man-eating mares of King Diomedes
_____ the lion of Nemea
_____ the swarm of birds of Stymphalian Lake
_____ Cerberus of the underworld
_____ the fire-breathing bull of Crete
_____ three golden apples from Hera's secret garden in Hesperides
_____ the nine-headed Hydra of Lerna
_____ the stables of King Auglas
_____ the sacred hinds of Artemis
Idiom "Take the bull by the horns!"
What does this expression mean? What figure of speech is used in this idiom?
What does this idiom have to do with the story of Hercules?
Literary Terms – Look up the definitions of the following terms in a handbook of
literary terms. (A dictionary is not sufficient at this level.)
pathos – How can you apply this term to the story of Hercules?
antagonist – Who are the antagonists in this story of Hercules?
theme – Define this term, and see the question below.
symbol – Define this term. How is a symbol different than a metaphor?
Theme and Meaning
1. Select an object or a figure from the story, and explain how this object
or person can be viewed as a symbol.
2. What does Hercules learn by the end of this story? Have you come
across this moral in other stories?
3. Besides the lesson Hercules learns, what other themes are evident in this
story of Hercules? Review the definition of theme in order to properly
answer this question.
Questions on index cards for small groups to tackle.
1. 1. To "take the bull by the horns" is an idiom or common expression. What
does it mean? 2. Who was Hera? 3. What is a lyre?
2. 1. Who was Zeus? 2. Who was Prometheus? 3. What is a "dale"?
3. 1. Who were the Amazons? 2. What was a centaur? 3. What does the word
"ford" mean when it's used as a verb?
4. 1. Who were the Fates? 2. Who was Apollo? 3. What does the word "mete"
5. 1. Who was Atlas? 2. Who was Artemis? 3. What is a girdle when this word is
used in archaic literature?
6. 1. Where is Crete, and what can you tell us about this place? 2. Who was
Hercules? 3. What does it mean when someone is "of noble birth"?
7. 1. Where was Thebes? 2. What is the Milky Way? 3. What is heteropaternal