Seamus Heaney - North Part 1 - Poetry Analysis

Hercules and Antaeus

Hercules and Antaeus As predicted in the very first poem of the collection Hercules has invaded Antaeus’ space; they meet in single combat: superman versus child of earth, brain versus brawn. Antaeus’s fate will be the repeated fate of Ireland. Hercules is the golden boy with the god-sponsored future: Sky-born and royal. He comes fresh from Labours fulfilled: snake-choker (the nine-headed hydra); dung heaver (the Augean stables). He is preoccupied (his mind big) with his next challenge: to steal the golden apples of the Hesperides from the north-African Atlas range. Legend has already ordained that Antaeus (Ireland’s ‘champion’ figure) will be no match for him. Hercules, his future hung with trophies, will not lose: Hercules has the measure, already knows how to overcome his opponent’s resistance, by thwarting him of the black powers that enable him to regain strength by rolling in the earth (feeding off the territory): Antaeus the […read more….]