The Story Behind the Myth of Samson and Hercules

   The Story of Heroes and Gods


  In Hebrew biblical stories, Samson the Hercules was designated to be a Nazarite of God from his mother's womb (those who return to the Lord must strictly abide by certain rules and regulations). "The angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, 'You have been barren and barren, but now you will conceive and bear a son. Be careful, therefore, drink neither wine nor strong drink, nor anything unclean Eat. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you shall not shave his head with a razor, for the child will be a Nazarite for God from the womb. 'He will be the first to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines." All of this is destined that Samson is not a common man, but a man who is to be converted to the Lord, shouldering a great historical mission: to rescue the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines. He had an extraordinary life because of God's choice. His greatness was doomed by God's other eye. "The child grows up, and the Lord blesses him. It was in Mahanidan, between Zorah and Ishtao, that the spirit of the Lord moved him." Because the spirit of God moved him, he had infinite power and extraordinary power, Because of this special relationship with God, he was destined for a career. But Samson must dedicate his life to the Lord; he must obey the commandments that Nazarites must obey: renounce the tempting wine, and never cut off the hair that came out of his mother's womb. Only in this way can he be accepted and graced by God, and the Spirit of God will be with him, giving him a strong body and extraordinary arm strength. If he does not keep his covenant with God, all this power, merit, and glory will be taken away from him in an instant. Samson is God's tool to demonstrate the mighty power of God to the world. It can be seen from this that although Samson could tear a lion apart with his bare hands, break the seven ropes tied to him, kill 1,000 Philistines with a wet jawbone of a donkey, and walk away from the city gate, He can even knock down the pillars of the main hall, but once the spirit of God leaves him, he is just a stinky sack, unable to do anything, and the heroism of the past will be gone. Later, Samson inadvertently had his hair shaved off, thus breaking his covenant with God and being rejected by God. God gave him no more strength, and made him weak as a little lamb: his eyes were gouged out, he became a slave of the Philistines, he was grinded like an animal in a prison for people to drive, slaughtered, bullied, Persecuted, tortured and powerless to fight back. This shows the relationship between man and God in the ancient Hebrew ideology: man is completely dependent on God and has no autonomy at all. God is omnipotent and the source of strength, and God can determine all the blessings and misfortunes of man.

  On the one hand, the ancient Greek hero Hercules had a close relationship with the gods: he was the son of Zeus, the main god, and the human queen Alcmene. . And also has many gifts from God. On the other hand, he is very autonomous. He is free to choose his life path. "Hercules left the shepherds and their herds to a place of silence, and pondered what the course of his life ought to be." "Depraved Pleasures" and "Virtues" each state what they can give him , let him choose and judge for himself. Not only that, but God will turn to man for help at critical moments. When the new generation of gods headed by Zeus and the giant gods headed by Gaia were dueling, an oracle had warned the new generation of gods that they could not kill any giants unless there was a human being fighting alongside them. So Zeus ordered Athena to summon his son Hercules to fight. The status of man at this time is to fight side by side with God, and it is also the most critical factor. When Hercules fought against the poisonous dragons and beasts of nature, he relied entirely on man's proficiency and ingenuity, and hardly had to resort to God.

  In comparing the relationship between the two great heroes Samson and Hercules and the gods, we have a glimpse of the human and god views of ancient Hebrews and the primitive peoples of ancient Greece. In the beliefs of both ethnic groups, gods are superior to humans, they are more powerful and wiser than humans, and they can control nature by calling for wind and rain. Man is mortal, but God can live forever. Humans can only live with dozens of flowers blooming and falling, but God can live in eternity. Heroes can only achieve their great deeds because of a relationship with God. This is the place where the two nations have similarities in their views of man and god. However, the differences between the two ethnic groups in the view of man and god are more significant. The gods of the ancient Hebrews were accommodating and amiable at first, and Jacob even competed with the gods and won the victory, but in the period of the judges (the leaders of the Hebrews before they had a king, they were marshals). and judge—author’s note), the authority of God is fully established. God is severe, harsh, solemn, and sits upright, like a traditional feudal patriarch. In the face of such divinity, human nature can only continue to shrink and dwarf, and man eventually becomes a dwarf standing at the feet of a huge god. In comparison, the gods of ancient Greece are more humanized, they are "happy and immortal gods" who have the same face, body and emotions as people. By and large they are naive and even childish. Their conduct was rather bad, and their dignity was not without problems. This is more like a democratic parent, who can allow children to bargain and tolerate children's coquetry and petty indulgence. "In the human world and in the world of Olympia, there is only a relaxed and unified discipline." The gods of Olympus are independent and free from each other and restrict each other, and the authority of Zeus is only a superficial phenomenon. The gods of ancient Greece were not one god but many gods, and they fought and restrained each other. Their attitudes, roles and influences on people are also different. Man is free in the presence of such a god. He is an independent individual. It is entirely up to him to decide whether he will enjoy his old age in idleness or enjoy great joy in toilsome adventures. This shows an important feature of ancient Greek culture: a strong sense of individuality. In the consciousness of the ancient Greeks, human beings were not completely inferior, helpless and helpless, but could only rely on God, but could "with the help of God, maximize human intelligence and ingenuity, do everything possible to achieve self-determination and positive The attitude of seeking and forging ahead, never turning back, until victory is won.”


  Stories of Heroes and Tragedy


  In the biblical story, Samson is very affectionate, and his will is not strong enough in front of women to withstand temptation. Samson's tragedy is caused by this character weakness, so we call it "character tragedy". The first woman he loved drowned his reason with tears and cried in front of him for 7 days, forcing him to tell the mystery. However, he did not learn his lesson in this matter, and was deceived by the second woman he loved. A weak will propelled him into the abyss of disaster, and he was shaved by the Philistines on his lover's lap, and "his strength left him." "The Philistines took him, and gouged out his eyes, and took him to Gaza, and held him with a bronze chain, and he was grinding in prison." Great hero, an honest boy, Israelite taxi In this way, the teacher was captured, made a slave, persecuted and insulted because of his unsteady will. This is in line with Aristotle's requirement for tragic characters, that they are trapped in doom not because of sin but because of their own faults and defects. There is nothing more tragic than the transformation from the free and invincible strong man to the object of the Philistines to play and abuse. And a hero is a hero after all, and the sublime is that he has a strong soul and can endure the disaster that the Philistines have imposed on him. Slowly and patiently waited for the hair to grow back to him, so he could be driven, enslaved, and played by the Philistines. And once his strength was restored he resolutely chose to perish with the Philistines.

  "Tragedy of Destiny", that is, a mysterious and unpredictable force that people can't control, prompts people to commit crimes. Such is the tragedy of Hercules. He shot his own son, he threw his loyal friend over the city head. All these sinful behaviors are completely out of his control. His individual will has fallen asleep, and he is in a state of madness. It was the invisible god who made him make such crazy actions. He was of noble birth and had been "educated to be a hero". "All the Greeks praised him for his extraordinary bravery. In return for him, King Creon of Thebes made his daughter Megara his wife, and she bore him three sons." Everything was so beautiful, everything was It happened so naturally and rationally, but the goddess of fate brought a series of disasters on him. When Hercules was troubled by an oracle, "Hera took the opportunity to change his melancholy into wild madness. He became so utterly mad that he wanted to murder his beloved nephew Iolaus, and when When the nephew managed to escape, he shot the children that Megara bore to him, and imagined that he was shooting giants." The king's son was received at Hercules graciously and offered to join him in the search He lost his mind again because of Hera's wrath and jealousy of the lost herd. "He took his loyal friend Iphitos as a malicious accomplice of Eurytus, and threw him from the city head." Hercules was completely innocent at this time, he was even more than Oedipus is also innocent. He did not commit this crime because of his own impulsiveness or recklessness or other character flaws. He had no fault of his own, but was completely manipulated by a pair of invisible hands of God. In the face of a powerful destiny, people are insignificant. The sin had been committed, and although it was a crime committed in madness, he still felt a heavy burden in his heart, and the next thing he could do was to resolutely take on the sin that should not belong to him," he said. pure sin". To serve King Eurystheus, to serve those inferior to him, to do what was thought to be "a detriment to his pride and an injury to his dignity". "The soul who can endure great suffering is enduring suffering." He has a strong soul, does not succumb to the blow of fate, challenges the limits of life, and embarks on a perilous journey full of death.

  Both Samson and Hercules are tragic heroes, but their tragedies embody two different national spirits. No matter how much difficulties and misfortunes the two strong men encountered, they dared to fight to the death, fought to the death, and dared to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. It shows tenacious vitality and lofty personality and spiritual strength. Their tragedies echoed a noble spirit of struggle. The difference is that Samson is fighting against people (Philistines - author's note) while Hercules is fighting against gods (Hera - author's note). Although they suffered and were destroyed, they dared to love, hate, and dare to die. They insisted on fighting against the object of resistance according to their own will and determination. spiritual strength and extraordinary vitality. The Hebrew people are deeply religious and believe in a single supreme god. Believe that all causes can be attributed to the Lord, believe that everything is arranged by the Almighty God, God's will is omnipresent, and therefore God is responsible for everything that happens in the world. Since God will inflict suffering on you, you can only bear it. There is no unexplained fate without cause, so Samson's tragedy can only be a tragedy of character and cannot be a tragedy of fate. Although the Greeks also worshipped gods, they did not reach the pure and absolute level of the Hebrews. Therefore, there were many inexplicable and irrational disasters that neither gods nor people could explain, but could only be attributed to the fickle fate. This gave rise to the most famous "tragedy of fate" in ancient Greece.



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