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Who Was the Wife of Hercules?

Hercules, the famous hero of Greek mythology, had not one, but multiple wives. The number of wives Hercules had varied depending on the source, but most Greek writers claimed that he was married a total of three times. Each of his brides impacted his story in different ways.

One of Hercules’ wives was Megara, the daughter of King Creon. She bore Hercules several children, but their happy life was cut short when Hera, the wife of Zeus, drove Hercules mad and he killed Megara and their children. Another wife of Hercules was Deianira, the daughter of Althaea and Oeneus or Dexamenus, king of Olenus. Hercules defeated the river god Achelous in order to marry Deianira. However, she mistakenly believed that Hercules was in love with another woman and gave him a tunic that was poisoned with the blood of the centaur Nessus, which ultimately led to his death.

Hercules’ third wife was Hebe, the goddess of youth and daughter of Zeus and Hera. According to some sources, Hercules was granted immortality and married Hebe after completing his labors. However, other sources state that he married her before completing his labors and was granted immortality as a reward. The story of Hercules and his wives is a fascinating aspect of Greek mythology that sheds light on the complex relationships between gods and mortals.

Mythological Background of Hercules

Hercules, also known as Heracles in Greek mythology, was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Alcmene. He was known for his exceptional strength and courage, which he used to complete various tasks and challenges throughout his life.

As a demigod, Hercules was often the subject of jealousy and hatred from others. His stepmother, Hera, was particularly hostile towards him and made it her mission to make his life difficult. Despite this, Hercules remained determined and persevered through all obstacles.

One of Hercules’ most famous feats was his completion of the Twelve Labors, a series of seemingly impossible tasks given to him by King Eurystheus. These tasks included slaying the Nemean Lion, capturing the Erymanthian Boar, and cleaning the Augean Stables in a single day.

Throughout his life, Hercules was married multiple times and had many children. His first wife was Megara, daughter of King Creon of Thebes. However, due to a fit of madness caused by Hera, Hercules killed Megara and their children. He later remarried to Deianira, daughter of King Oeneus, but their marriage was also plagued with tragedy.

Despite his flaws and struggles, Hercules remained a beloved figure in Greek mythology and continues to be a popular subject in modern culture.

Hercules’ Marriages

Hercules was known for his many marriages throughout his life. Each of his marriages played a significant role in shaping his story.


Megara was Hercules’ first wife. After defeating the Minyans at Orchomenos, King Creon offered his eldest daughter, Megara, to Hercules as a bride in reward for his prowess in battle. They had children together, but unfortunately, Hercules killed them in a fit of madness sent by Hera. This tragic event caused Hercules to become the servant of Eurystheus.


Later in his life, Hercules married his second wife, Deianira. When a centaur attempted to steal her away, Hercules shot him with an arrow that he had soaked in the poison of the Hydra. The centaur, before dying, gave Deianira a vial of his blood, claiming it was a love potion. However, the blood was actually poisonous and caused Hercules great pain and suffering.


After Hercules was made a god, he married Hebe, the goddess of youth. This marriage was seen as a way for Hercules to redeem himself after his past mistakes. Together, they had two children and lived happily ever after.

Overall, Hercules’ marriages were a significant part of his story and helped shape the mythological figure we know today.

Deianira’s Role in Hercules’ Myth

Deianira was the second wife of Hercules, the Greek hero and demigod. She was the daughter of King Oeneus and Queen Althaea of Calydon. According to Sophocles’ account of Deianira’s marriage, she was courted by the river god Achelous, but was saved from having to marry him by Hercules, who defeated Achelous in a wrestling contest for her hand in marriage.

Deianira played a significant role in Hercules’ myth, as she was the one who unwittingly caused his death. According to the myth, Hercules was in love with a woman named Iole, and Deianira became jealous. She decided to use a love potion to win back Hercules’ affections. However, the potion turned out to be a poison, and it caused Hercules great pain.

Deianira was devastated by what she had done, and she took her own life. Hercules, on the other hand, was unable to die because he was a demigod. He was eventually taken to Mount Olympus, where he was granted immortality and became a god.

Overall, Deianira’s role in Hercules’ myth was a tragic one. She was a woman who loved her husband deeply, but her jealousy and desire to win him back ultimately led to his downfall.

The Tragic Fate of Hercules and Deianira

Deianira was one of the wives of the Greek demigod Hercules. She was a princess of the Greek city of Calydon in ancient Aetolia. The story of Hercules and Deianira is one of the most tragic stories in Greek mythology.

Hercules and Deianira were happily married until one day, Hercules fell in love with another woman named Iole. Deianira, feeling betrayed and hurt, decided to take revenge. She asked the centaur Nessus for help, who gave her a potion that he claimed would make Hercules fall in love with her again.

Unbeknownst to Deianira, the potion was actually a deadly poison. When Hercules put on the robe that Deianira had coated with the potion, he was consumed by an excruciating pain that no medicine could cure. In his agony, he built a funeral pyre and asked his friend Philoctetes to light it.

As he lay dying, Hercules realized that he was the one who had caused his own downfall. He forgave Deianira for her mistake and asked Philoctetes to take care of her. Deianira, overcome with guilt and grief, committed suicide soon after.

The tragic fate of Hercules and Deianira serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of jealousy and revenge. It also highlights the vulnerability of even the strongest and most powerful demigods in the face of love and betrayal.

Hebe: Hercules’ Wife in Immortality

Hebe was the daughter of Zeus and Hera, and the goddess of youth. She was also known as the cupbearer to the gods, responsible for serving them nectar and ambrosia.

After Hercules completed his twelve labors, he was granted immortality and became a god. He was then married to Hebe, who was also granted immortality. Together, they lived on Mount Olympus and had two children, Alexiares and Anicetus.

Hebe was known for her beauty and grace, and was often depicted in art as a youthful maiden. She was also associated with the renewal of life and the spring season.

As the wife of Hercules, Hebe was a symbol of his redemption and new beginning. Their marriage represented a fresh start for Hercules, who had previously suffered from great tragedy and loss.

Overall, Hebe played an important role in Hercules’ life and was a beloved figure in Greek mythology.

Cultural Impact of Hercules’ Marital Life

Hercules’ marital life was a central theme in many of the myths and legends that have survived to this day. His marriages to several women had a significant impact on his story and the way he was perceived in different cultures.

In Greek mythology, Hercules was married to Megara, whom he killed in a fit of madness. This event was seen as a symbol of the destructive power of jealousy and rage. Later, he married Deianira, who unwittingly caused his death by giving him a poisoned robe. This tragedy was seen as a warning against the dangers of impulsive actions and the consequences of trusting the wrong people.

In Egyptian mythology, Hercules was said to have had four wives, each of whom had a different impact on his story. These marriages were seen as symbolic of the different phases of his life and the challenges he faced at each stage.

Overall, Hercules’ marital life has had a lasting impact on Western culture, inspiring countless works of art, literature, and film. His story has been retold in many different ways, highlighting the universal themes of love, betrayal, and redemption that continue to resonate with audiences today.

Literary References to Hercules’ Wives

In Greek mythology, Hercules, the son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Alcmene, had several wives throughout his life. The wives of Hercules are often mentioned in various literary works, including plays, poems, and epics. Here are some literary references to the wives of Hercules:

  • Megara: Megara was the first wife of Hercules. According to the play “Heracles” by Euripides, Megara and her children were killed by Hercules in a fit of madness induced by Hera, the wife of Zeus. This tragedy led Hercules to undertake his famous twelve labors as a form of atonement.

  • Deianira: Deianira was the second wife of Hercules. In the epic poem “The Trachiniae” by Sophocles, Deianira accidentally causes the death of Hercules by giving him a poisoned robe as a gift. This tragedy occurs after Deianira learns that Hercules has fallen in love with another woman.

  • Hebe: Hebe was the third wife of Hercules. According to some sources, Hebe was a goddess and the daughter of Zeus and Hera. In the play “Hercules Furens” by Seneca, Hebe is depicted as a loving and faithful wife who tries to comfort Hercules in his moments of despair.

  • Other wives: In addition to Megara, Deianira, and Hebe, Hercules had several other wives, including Omphale, a queen of Lydia, and Iole, a princess of Oechalia. However, these wives are less well-known in literary works compared to the first three wives.

Overall, the wives of Hercules played important roles in shaping the story of this legendary hero. Their tragic fates and complicated relationships with Hercules have been immortalized in various literary works, making them some of the most memorable characters in Greek mythology.