“The process of identifying as belonging to a particular generation
It must be tough being queen of the Greek gods. Your sons and daughters are constantly killing things and impregnating others, and your husband is almost always off with the random hussy du jour. Really, it’s just a job that is bound to make you bitter.
Maybe that’s why Hera’s punishments were so insane.
Trapped in cow form
A lot of Hera’s wrath is focused on her husband’s lovers. Such was the fate of poor Io. When Hera found out about the two of them, she came down to catch them, but Zeus turned Io into a white cow to protect her (somehow ending up and more suspicious than if he had simply been caught in a love nest with a woman). Hera then demanded the cow from Zeus, keeping her trapped, both physically and in cow form. Io only returned to human shape after being freed, driven mad by a gadfly (sent by Hera) and walking all the way from Greece to the Nile in Egypt.
Thebes, as the Disney film accurately put, was a troubled place. Apparently, when a man named Lains carried off a girl from Pisa, the people of Thebes collectively decided “meh” and didn’t punish him. In anger, Hera sent the Sphinx, a monster who preyed on the youths of Thebes who couldn’t solve her riddle.
Literally thrown into the Underworld
Most everyone knows Orion the Hunter – his Belt is made up three of the brightest stars in the night’s sky. However, lesser known is his first wife Side. This is probably because the only thing we do know about her is that she tried to be as beautiful as Hera. So Hera, taking the “she wore the same dress as me” anger to extremes, threw Side into Hades – a.k.a. the Underworld.
Boy, Hera loved to drive people nuts. While she enjoys creativity, she drives people mad as a punishment over and over. For example, there are the Proetides – three sisters who slighted a wooden carving of Hera. Hera simply drove them mad and left them to wander Argos. The bigger example, however, is Hercules himself. Hera hated Hercules (again, thanks to Zeus), so when Heracles had children, she drove him mad, which made him kill every single one of them.
Turned into a bird
It seems that if you were beautiful in Ancient Greece, it would be a good idea to spend every moment you could in worship. Otherwise, you might end up like Oinoe – she was a flawless beauty (although apparently kind of rude). Oinoe didn’t care about or praise Hera, so Hera turned her into a crane. To really add spiteful icing to the evil cake, Hera caused Oinoe’s people to try to kill her.
Turned literally into an echo
Few people know that the word “echo” as we know it comes from a story. A nymph named Echo (which means “sound” in Greek) would cover for Zeus while he was off meeting with one of his many lady friends by sitting and talking to Hera for hours. When Hera found out the treachery, she took Echo’s voice away, except that she could only quietly speak the last word anyone spoke around her.
Delayed a birth
Zeus’ mistresses had it tough. If it weren’t enough to be turned into cows or be tricked into burning yourself to death, if you were a Zeus mistress Hera might prolong your labor like she did to Leto. Leto was the first of Zeus’ mistresses, which left her pregnant with twins. In her anger, though, Hera prolonged her labor and sent emissaries to prevent any city from allowing Leto to settle down to give birth. Eventually, Leto gave birth on an island (which itself was a transformed near-Zeus-mistress named Asteria).
Deformed a baby
Zeus really got around. He even had a child with his sort-of half sister Aphrodite. Hera, in a jealous rage, tricked Aphrodite into letting her put her hands on Aphrodite’s stomach, at which point she turned the baby ugly – according to Suidas, a Greek writer, “shapeless and ugly and over-meaty.”
One day, Hera became fed up with Zeus having all these babies with other people. So, presumably with a rude gesture to Zeus, she decided, “forget you guys, I’m going to make my own dang baby by myself.” The result was Hephaestus, the Greek god of the Forge. However, there was a problem. Hephaestus, being a child born of spite, was crippled and walked with a limp. So, probably with the mindset of “Eh, I can make another one,” Hera threw him off the side of Mount Olympus like yesterday’s garbage.
Creative, horrible destruction
No matter what you do, if you ever are transported to Ancient Greece, never say your love is better than Zeus and Hera’s. Whether or not it is true, nothing good can come from it. Just ask (or rather, don’t, since they meet a grisly end) Polytechnus and Aedon. After they made this careless remark (and probably smashed like five mirrors, crossed paths with a dozen black cats and walked under 13 ladders), Hera caused a fight between them in the form of a competition. Aedon was weaving a web, and her husband was making a chariot standing board. They agreed that whoever lost should give the winner a female slave. Hera helped Aedon, and she won. Polytechnus was furious. He went and found Aedon’s sister, raped her, disguised her as a slave and gave her to Aedon. When Aedon figured it out (because duh), she and her sister killed Polytechnus’ son and fed him to Polytechnus. The whole horrible episode ends with the whole of both families being changed into birds.
Just don’t compare your love to Zeus and Hera’s.