Chapter published in:The Hero Reloaded: The reinvention of the classical hero in contemporary mass media
Edited by Rosario López Gregoris and Cristóbal Macías Villalobos
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 23] 2020
► pp. 19–50
Metamorphosis of the Mythical Hero in Disney’s Hercules
This essay analyzes the metamorphosis undergone by the ultimate Greek hero, Hercules, in the Disney film of that name (1997). Such a transformation is a keen example of the reworking of mythical hero figures in present-day popular mass culture. The essay focuses on the creative process behind the Disney film, its structure, the adaptation of classical sources, and on borrowings from earlier mythological films, from blockbusters such as Superman and Star Wars, and from Disney’s earlier movies. Also analyzed are the ways in which Hercules may be seen as a parody of the conventions of Greek tragedy, the influence of this film on later cultural products (novels and movies), and the ways in which the intended audience may have influenced plot differences with the canonical versions of the life of Hercules.
Keywords: Hercules, Disney, classical tradition, popular culture, Superman, Harry Potter
Published online: 10 March 2020