The daughter of king Oeneus of Calydon and Althaea, but sometimes it
was whispered that Dionysus was her real father. Deianeira had many
sisters and brothers: Toxeus, Agelaus, Thyreus, Clymenus (or Periphas),
Meleager, Gorge, Eurymede and Melanippe.
Althaea died of grief when Meleager died, still a young boy, and his sisters turned into guinea hens out of sorrow. Dionysus then intervened and spared Deianeira and Gorge.
Deianeira was very beautiful, and both Heracles and the river god Achelous wanted to marry her. A fight broke out between the two, and Achelous transformed himself into a snake and then a bull.
Heracles managed to break off one of the bull's horn, and so won the battle.
The couple lived in Calydon for a few years, but when Heracles killed a
local boy by mistake, they were forced to leave. When they reached the
Euenus river they met the Centaur Nessus. When he saw the beautiful
Deianeiera he tried to rape her after he had carried her across the
river, but Heracles killed him with an arrow, its tip had been dipped in
the blood of the Hydra. The dying Centaur gave Deianeira a piece of
cloth soaked with his blood, and told her to keep it. With it, he said,
she would have Heracles' love if she ever came near to losing it.
Heracles and Deianeira settled in Trachis where they had several children: Hyllus, Ctesippus, Glenus, Hodites and Macaria. Heracles often went away on various adventures, but he always came back.
After many years, Deianeira was horrified to hear that her husband had taken a young wife, and that he was coming back with her. The young bride, Iole, was also rumoured to be very beautiful, and Deianeira was at her wits end. When she had made sure her husband was really coming with Iole through a servant, she put the Centaurs cloth in a barrel of water, and then put a shirt in it that she sent to Heracles.
When Heracles put the shirt on it stuck on his skin and caused him great pain. When he tried to take it off, pieces of his own flesh came with it. He made it to Trachis, only to find that Deianeira had hung herself when she had realised what she had done.
Heracles made a funeral pyre for himself by Mt. Oeta, and then ascended it. himself by Mt. Oeta, and then ascended it.