Hercules was the son of Greek God Zeus and a human woman named Alcmene. Zeus fell in love with Alcmene, but Zeus being an unfaithful husband to his wife Hera, Alcmene conceived Hercules which angered Hera. Hera attempted to kill Hercules, but he escaped her attempts.
Hercules grew up to be a famous warrior. He fell in love with a woman called Megara with whom he began a family. Hera, however, did not like this. She vowed to bother Hercules throughout his lifetime, so she tricked him into a wild rage and Hercules killed his wife and children. Hercules prayed to Apollo to take away his mistake in which Apollo gave him twelve tasks of great labour in order to purify his soul.
The Delphic oracle then sent Hercules to Tiryns where Hercules was expected to serve King Eurystheus for twelve years fulfilling tasks for the king. Hera was still attempting to make Hercules' life as horrible as possible, but Hercules pulled through and finished his term of service.
Hercules' Twelve Tasks
Hercules was to perform twelve tasks for King Eurystheus during his twelve year term of service to this king. The first of Hercules' tasks was to peel off the skin of the Nemean Lion, a vicious monster, after capturing it. The second task was to kill the Lernean Hydra, which was a serpent with nine heads. The third task was to bring a Hind (a sacred red deer) who was sacred to Artemis, goddess of the hunt, from Ceryneia to the king. The fourth task was to bring a live Erymanthian boar, a giant creature of the wild who lived on Mount Erymanthos, to the king. The fifth task was to clean out King Augeas' stables in one day, which held the greatest number of cattle in the country. The sixth task was to force out Stymphalian Birds, an enormous flock of man-eating birds. The seventh task was to capture the Cretan Bull, in which Hercules wrestled to capture making it an easy catch for Hercules because he was one of the strongest of the gods and humans. The eighth task was to bring the man-eating horses of Diomedes to the king. The ninth task was to acquire the belt (or girdle) of Hippolyte, the Amazon Queen. The tenth task was to bring the cattle of the monster Geryon, who was a fearsome giant. The eleventh task was to get the apples of Hesperides. Hercules found out that Atlas, who was a primordial Titan who held the globe on his shoulders, had to retrieve the apples, so Hercules held the globe while Atlas retrieved the apples. The king did not want Hercules to achieve the last task so he sent Hercules to capture Cerberus, a three-headed hound, who guarded the gates of the underworld.
As a reward for finishing his tasks successfully, he was given a place among the gods on Mount Olympus after his mortal death. Hercules is known as a great figure of valour and muscle strength.