For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have chosen to discuss Megara, wife of Hercules. In particular, I will be looking at her Disney version! The Disney film Hercules takes a variation on the traditional Greco-Roman myths. In order to make the myths palatable for younger viewers, they had to make the myths less frightening, and certainly less of a grey area! This included making Hera Hecules’ mother and making Hades a villain. Now the subject of today’s post is Megara who is the romantic lead in the Disney film.
She is based on Hercules’ wife from the original myths. However, in the myths, she did not have a happy ending, as their marriage (and the downfall of it, is what led to the famed Twelve Labors of Hercules! In the myths, Hera, who is not Hercules’ mother to be clear, hated her husband’s bastard son so much she made him go mad. In this madness, Hercules murdered his wife Megara and their children! This is what led to Hercules needing to atone for his sins, even if they were caused by temporary insanity. After all, the insanity was caused by the Queen of the Gods, and few would defy her!
Now that we have covered a little background on the origin of Meg in the myths it is time to look at her character in the Disney version! Megara is called Meg throughout the Disney animated film. She is a beautiful and sassy woman whom Hercules falls in love with quite quickly after first meeting her. It turns out that she is serving a debt to Hades due to a troubled past. Hercules is very innocent when he meets Meg, as his developmental years had been spent in the company of only Phil and Pegasus. Meg softens her cynical view the longer she is around Hercules.
She is a character who begins as a jaded woman because of being burned by love and is slowly healed by the love of an innocent young man. This made for an interesting layer to this particular Disney film. Meg’s sassy and sexy disposition draws people to her quite easily, and until Hercules, she had been keeping them at a distance. The writers of this film chose to reinvent a tragic character as a fun and snarky character that could easily hold her own with the boys. This made her a character that could inspire little girls to stand up for themselves! At least that was the case for me, as I admired her for being brave and not taking shit from people, even with a life debt on her hands! A little attitude can go a long way, and it is unsurprising that supposedly the writers based her personality on Barbara Stanwyck’s characters in the 30s and 40s films.
This is another case of Disney giving a character a happy ending that they did not have in the source material, and like last week’s Femme Fatale Friday subject Esmeralda, I like the ending Disney afforded Megara! As a lover of the original myths, I am sometimes annoyed by the divergence from the source material. However, it is a fun and sweet little film, and I genuinely like what they did with Megara’s character here. I hope you have enjoyed this look at both the mythic figure and the Disney character of Megara. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Disney’s Meg. I found the image on https://disneyprincess.fandom.com/wiki/Megara.