Hercules is the son of Zeus and constant reminder to Hera of her husband’s infidelity. Ironically, by constantly throwing obstacles in his path, she, more than anyone mortal or God, is responsible for creating his legend.
According to Greek myths, Hercules killed his own children in a fit of madness courtesy of Hera. It was a huge mistake to alter that. Hercules was a tragic hero in the truest sense, with innocent blood on his hands. The Twelve Labors were his penance for this heinous crime. Eaten by guilt and haunted by his deeds, he spent the rest of his life seeking redemption. It does not matter he was not in control; he murdered them and he took responsibility. Staying with the myths, he died a horrible and painful death. Hard life and dramatic death; Hercules was the classic Greek hero.
Once Xena finds his weakness, she exploits it. She puts him on the path where, once again, he has a choice to take the life of a child. This is brilliant and way evil. If he does order it, she asks Iolaus to kill him. There is a valid reason she is tormenting Iolaus as well – she wants him to know that Hercules is the one behind the killings. Either Iolaus kills his best friend to save the child or she destroys them both with its execution. Win, win; villains’ schemes don’t get better than that.
Keep in mind there is the very real threat of Xena simply slaughtering everyone once Hercules refuses to go along and expires. After all, what are a few more lives to her? Hercules does not have any good options here, only bad and worse. What Xena did to him is wrong and reprehensible yet he forgives her. Iolaus does not. It is telling that throughout the entire time they are together during the rescue, not once does Xena apologize and express sorrow over her actions. Hercules shines in the past and present, a good man facing a difficult trial and passing it with his head held high. For what it is worth, he did the right thing. What if the child dies? Up to that point, I understand and agree with his actions. If he takes that final step: no. Discuss in FORUMS.
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