In the Disney film Hercules, Hercules makes a agreement with Hades; Hercules rescues Meg from the underworld and he takes her place. As Hades puts it:

you get her out - she goes, you stay.

It's an agreement; the two even shake on it.

Hades, it turns out, is hoping both will end up trapped, since Hercules will likely die before reaching Meg. This however doesn't change the deal - If Hercules save Meg, she goes and he stays. Hercules does end up reaching Meg because his act of heroism granted him immortality. But that only means they aren't both trapped there, now Meg can go free. Hercules agreed to stay so Meg could leave, regardless of whether he was immortal, mortal, or dead. So why then does he just march out of there with Meg, when he agreed to stay there in her place?

  • I would guess that immortals aren't allowed to hang around with the dead. Sort of a demarcation thing. (Insert HHGTTG quote here, if you like.) May 4, 2016 at 3:55
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    Considering Hercules gives up his divinity at the very end, an even better question is why didn't Hades come back to collect?
    – Ellesedil
    May 4, 2016 at 4:04
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    Here's a video of the scene: youtube.com/watch?v=Ts_WDlgNMoo This brings up an interesting, yet unanswerable question: how can Hercules plunge his hands into the underworld-lake-thing, yet does a high-dive shortly thereafter with a drop of easily 50 feet?
    – Ellesedil
    May 4, 2016 at 4:11

3 Answers 3


By "stay," Hades may have meant "die"

The full context:

Hercules: You like making deals. Take me in Meg's place.

Hades: Oh, well. The son of my hated rival trapped forever in a river of death.

Hercules: Going once!

Hades: Hmm. Is there a downside to this?

Hercules: Going twice!

Hades: Okay, okay, okay, okay. You get her out - she goes, you stay.

It seems as the bargain Hades was talking about was for Hercules to be "trapped forever in a river of death," i.e. to die. Once Hercules became a god, of course, he no longer qualified for death, and so the conditions of the deal were no longer valid. Hades could have pressed the point, but with Hercules now a god, he probably could not keep him there. Besides, he really wanted a dead mortal Hercules, not an immortal Hercules following him around and making snide comments.

In addition, Hades broke his part of the deal

Hades never intended to let Meg go, as evidenced by the fact that it "slipped his mind" that Hercules would die before he could help Meg out of the water. Hercules may well have felt that there was no reason to keep his end of the bargain, since Hades had already reneged on it.

Hades: Okay, okay, okay, okay. You get her out - she goes, you stay.

[Hercules dives]

Hades: Oh, you know what slipped my mind? You'll be dead before you can get to her. That's not a problem, is it?

[Hercules swims, turning older and older. Atropos goes to cut the thread of life, but it suddenly shines and the scissors don't cut it.]

This could also explain why Hades didn't try to claim Hercules later: there was no deal, since he had already gambled on getting both Hercules and Meg. Hades gambled, "all or none," and lost.


The Disney Young Reader book "Disney's Hercules", written to accompany the film, describes the event in some detail. In short, Hades broke the terms of the deal because he knew full well that Hercules (as a mortal) wouldn't have the ability to rescue Meg without dying himself.

Hercules burst into Hades' Underworld. "You like deals," he said. "Take me in Meg's place. Hades had to think about it— for about a second "Okay," he said. "She goes, you stay." Hercules plunged into the swirl of spirits. Right away, he started aging. He was nearly ancient by the time he found Meg's spirit.

Then a funny thing happened...only it wasn't very funny to Hades. Hercules began to glow with the brightness of a god. Hades tried to keep him from leaving with Meg's spirit, but Hercules flung the lord of the Underworld down into a bottomless pit. Hades would never trouble either mortals or gods again.

It would seem logical that if the person you're dealing with reneges on their part of the deal, that no-one's going to expect you to honour your side of the original bargain.

  • Hmm, Hades doesn't physically attack Hercules in the film. He does lay a restraining hand on his shoulder to get his attention. But that seems more of a "stay and talk to me" rather than an assault of any sort. If anything, Hercules is actually the one to attack Hades when he takes offense to Hades manipulation of Meg's spirit head. So, I'm not sure that the novel is actually equating "Hades tried to keep him from leaving with Meg's spirit" as an attack, since Hades seems more interested in negotiating with words.
    – Ellesedil
    May 4, 2016 at 17:17
  • @Ellesedil - That's a fair point. I've re-worded.
    – Valorum
    May 4, 2016 at 17:25

They didn't even shake on it because Hades knew he wouldn't make it out alive. So, no deal.

  • Welcome to SciFi.SE! I'm afraid I don't see what this adds to Adamant's answer from four years ago.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 28, 2020 at 10:49
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    @F1Krazy It appears to be approaching the answer from a different point that hasn't been mentioned before, unless I'm missing something: that they didn't shake on the deal and so it was never an official deal in the first place.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 28, 2020 at 10:56
  • It seems pretty official to me
    – Valorum
    Jul 28, 2020 at 11:51

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