Hercules as an Epic Hero

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Greek Mythology: The 12 Labors of Hercules


Herakles Epic Hero

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Activity Overview


Hercules is as "epic" as heroes can get. Hercules is thought of by some as one of the greatest heroes of all time, and may have been one of the original archetypal epic heroes as defined by the ancient Greeks. He had extraordinary strength, completed impossible tasks, was beset by many obstacles, and had the ultimate reward of eternal life on Olympus.

Have students identify and depict the elements of an epic hero as they relate to Hercules.


Hercules Epic Hero

ATTRIBUTEDESCRIPTIONExample from Hercules Myths
Noble BirthUsually a king, prince, demi-god, or nobleman of some capacity. Hercules' father is none other than Zeus, king of the gods and lord of the sky.
Superhuman CapabilitiesThe warrior has the potential for greatness based on their attributes. Hercules has superhuman strength that he uses regularly. For example, he defeated the invulnerable Nemean Lion with his bare hands.
Vast TravelerAn epic hero is known for making travels to exotic locations by choice or chance, usually to battle against evil. Hercules literally travels to the ends of the earth to accomplish his tasks. He also journeys to the Underworld and back again.
Unmatched WarriorThis hero typically has a reputation for being a great warrior, even prior to the beginning of the story. Hercules is skilled with club, bow, sword, and unarmed combat.
Cultural Legend Before an Epic Hero can be universally known, he must first be a legend in his culture. Hercules is easy to recognize with his armor made from the Nemean Lion's invulnerable pelt.
HumilityThe hero performs great deeds for their own sake rather than glory. To atone for the death of his family, Hercules completes the Labors given him by a lesser man.
Battles Supernatural FoesThe opponents and obstacles the hero faces are usually supernatural beings. Hercules defeats many monsters before, during, and after his Twelve Labors, and he is often overcoming the obstacles sent by Hera. Monsters include the Lernaean Hydra, Kerberos, Geryon, and Nessos the centaur.


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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Hercules can be considered an epic hero.


  1. Identify events of the story or characteristics of Hercules that fit into attributes of an epic hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Noble Birth, Superhuman Capabilities, Vast Traveler, Unmatched Warrior, Cultural Legend, Humility, and Battles Supernatural Foes.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Hercules as an epic hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.

Characteristics of an Epic Hero Template Worksheet

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Greek Mythology: The 12 Labors of Hercules






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