Hercules (HUR-kyew-leez), the son of Jupiter and Alcmena. He is a mortal. As a child, he is the object of Juno’s jealousy. Through her influence, he is commanded to carry out twelve labors, in hopes that he will be killed in accomplishing one of them: (1) he must strangle the Nemean lion; (2) he must kill the nine-headed hydra; (3) he must capture the dread Erymanthian boar; (4) he must capture a stag with golden antlers and brazen feet; (5) he must get rid of the carnivorous Stymphalian birds; (6) he must cleanse the stables of Augeas; (7) he must capture the sacred bull of Minos; (8) he must drive away the carnivorous mares of Diomedes; (9) he must secure the girdle of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons; (10) he must bring back the oxen belonging to the monster Geryoneus; (11) he must bring back the golden apples of the Hesperides; and (12) he must bring back Cerberus, the three-headed dog of the Underworld.
Jupiter (JEW-pih-tur), king of the gods, Hercules’ father.
Alcmena (alk-MEE-nee), a mortal woman, Hercules’ mother.
Juno (JEW-noh), Jupiter’s wife. Jealous of mortal Alcmena, she hopes to cause Hercules’ death and thus be avenged.
Eurystheus (yew-RIHS-thews), Hercules’ cousin. Acting for Juno, he assigns the twelve labors.
Rhadamanthus (rad-uh-MAN-thuhs), Hercules’ tutor, killed by Hercules when he punishes the boy.
Amphitryon (am-FIHT-ree-on), Hercules’ foster father. He rears the boy as a shepherd, high in the mountains.