Firstly, as Friberg-Harnesk points out in some detail, the transference of the Theban wars to an Irish setting is a fundamental adjustment, as is the re-naming of some of the central characters: "Amphitryon and his wife Alcmene
, of Kleist's play, become the English General Ashburningham and Lady Minna; the servant Sosias and his wife Charis become Souse and Kitty" (73).
Zeus' interlude with Alcmene
never shows the god -- only her seeming ecstasy.
But at the last moment, and to my relief, there came the famous son of Zeus and Alcmene
, who contended him in battle and released me.
Son of Zeus and mortal Alcmene
, Herakles might have enjoyed the privileged life of a demigod.
In Greek lore, Hercules was the product of an illicit liaison between Alcmene
, his mortal mother, and Zeus, grand chief of the Greek Gods.
Actor Julyana Soelistyo (The Golden Child) doubles as the young maiden Macaria and the elderly Alcmene
. The final chilling scene, when the fallen head-of-state Eurystheus, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, is brought in chains to a microphone behind clear Plexiglas, deliberately resonates with echoes of the war crimes tribunals in Nuremberg and at The Hague.
The deferral of dawn for which the poet wishes in the last stanza may refer to Jupiter and Alcmene
and their conception of Hercules, but neither Muret nor subsequent French commentators have shown any interest in this allusion.
Zeus stopped the sun to lie with Alcmene
, not primarily for sexual pleasure, but to produce his son Heracles.
Heracles' mortal part is burnt away by the fire, but his divine part triumphs over the flames, and he enters Olympus.(21) The fire therefore reveals the essence of his existence as child of Zeus and Alcmene
. It separates the mortal from the immortal, and thereby highlights his true greatness as a hero.(22) It reveals vividly the fact that he has a fundamentally different nature from ordinary mortals.
Having accidentally killed his uncle Electryon, king of Mycenae, Amphitryon fled with Alcmene
, Electryon's daughter, to Thebes, where he was cleansed from the guilt by Creon, king of Thebes.