“He was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow—a sort of Hercules in strength, and also in weakness.” (13).
Hercules is a well-known figure in Greek mythology known for his superhuman strength and courage, and the challenging labors he completed to gain immortality. Hercules’ weaknesses were his low intelligence, his gluttony, and his lust. Dickens compares Joe to Hercules because Joe is also strong and courageous, though on a more human scale, and he has a low intelligence, like Hercules. Juxtaposing Joe and Hercules suggests that Joe is not as simple as he appears and that he is a hero in his own way.
Works Cited: Regula, DeTraci. "Fast Facts On: Hercules." About.com: Greece Travel. 14 Dec. 2008
Photo Credit: http://www.logoi.com/pastimages/img/hercules_3.jpg