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Megara (Hercules)

Megara (Hercules)

Megara, also known as Meg,[1][2][3] is a fictional character in Disney's animated film Hercules (1997). Voiced by actress Susan Egan, Meg is introduced as a cynical young woman enslaved by Hades, god of the underworld. Hades forces Meg to uncover Hercules' weaknesses by seducing him in return for her freedom, only to develop genuine feelings for the character instead. Loosely based on Megara and DeianiraHercules' first and second wives in Greek mythology, directors Ron Clements and John Musker adapted Meg into a morally conflicted con artist, while basing her role and personality on 1940s screwball comediennes, particularly actress Barbara Stanwyck's performance in The Lady Eve (1941).

Egan had already been starring as Belle in the stage adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1994) when she learned of auditions for Hercules. Despite campaigning heavily for the role of Meg, Disney initially prevented Egan from auditioning because the studio felt that Meg and Belle's personalities differed too greatly, doubting that the actress could voice the former convincingly until she ultimately proved capable. To prepare for both her audition and the role, Egan drew inspiration from several classic Hollywood actresses, including Joan CrawfordBette Davis and Lauren Bacall, in addition to Stanwyck. After opting not to draw the character realistically, supervising animator Ken Duncan decided to incorporate elements of Greek pottery into Meg's hair, body and clothing, while borrowing some of Egan's own mannerisms.

Reception towards Meg has been positive, with critics welcoming her independence, wit and complexity as a departure from previous Disney heroines, as well as praising Egan's performance. The character is considered to be underappreciated by contemporary critics, with several media publications ranking her among Disney's most underrated heroines. Meg has made subsequent appearances in the film's sequel, television spin-off and video game adaptations, as well as a live-action version in Once Upon a Time, portrayed by Kacey Rohl.

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