Themes In Greek Play 'Heracles'
Jupiter, like Mercury is disguising himself as someone he isn’t. Jupiter pretends to be Amphitryon and it’s under this façade that he woos Alcmena. Jupiter is very meticulous with his plan, making sure that he has Mercury distract the slaves, perfectly times his exits and returns and steals the bowl for Alcmena to prove his authenticity. He realizes that his actions have consequences and that he must not cause too much chaos in the mortal world. Instead of fleeing as in his original plan he tells himself, “I have to rescue poor Alcmena, from all those charges that her husband makes; what justice would there be for her to suffer grief from this little joke of my invention?” (Plautus 908-911) This decision from Jupiter displays his concern for Alcmena’s wellbeing, not wanting her to pick up the pieces of his mischief. Their conversation for her forgiveness following this statement allows the audience to see his affections towards her. Jupiter’s affection is not an aspect that is usually associated with the story. If told the myth, it is assumed that Jupiter lusted after Alcmena because of her beauty, yet because Plautus decided to give Jupiter an active role, the reader is left to reconsider previous notions and perhaps consider that Jupiter actually loved her. With this thought in mind, Hercules’ birth could be taken as the result of a loving relationship that was unfortunately illegitimate because Alcmena was married. This counters the first view of Hercules being the result of a scandal which would be inferred if the reader was only given the perspective of Mercury. However, because Jupiter equally contributes to the play, we are able to see how these deities amplify the drama with their