Hera, whose name means "Great Lady" was originally the goddess of the heavens and earth. She was responsible for nurturing the whole world. Her beautiful eyes, associated with the large eyes of cows and the "eyes" on peacock tail feathers, were meant to symbolize nurturing watchfulness. She accompanied women through every stage, protecting their marriages and granting fertility and wealth.
Her beauty naturally attracted the eye of Zeus, and he tried to seduce her by changing his form to a wounded bird that she cuddled to her breast. Then he changed form back to a man. She was a powerful goddess in her own right, however, and resisted him until he agreed to marry her. Their liaison was the most powerful, and she became queen of Olympus.
Although he had married her, and although their honeymoon lasted a whopping three hundred years, Zeus had trouble changing his faithless ways. Even after marriage, Zeus continued to dally with other women, both goddesses, and mortals. Worse still, he would treat the sons and daughters from these affairs with more favor than Hera's children. This enraged the goddess. Even though it was Zeus who did the seducing and raping, she chose to remain faithful to him. Instead, she took out her anger on the objects of Zeus's affection, targeting her rivals with horrible punishments.
Once, she tried to get her own back on Zeus by conceiving a child on her own. The result was the god of the forge, Hephaestus. Unfortunately, he was horribly deformed, and neither Zeus nor Hera felt anything for him. The former sent him away from Mount Olympus and he was forced to live on the earth with the mortals.
Hera didn't always choose to defy Zeus. Tired of his antics, sometimes she would simply abandon Mount Olympus and return to her beloved earth, roaming it alone during the night time until she reached her old home. Because he truly loved Hera, Zeus would then miss her, and try to woo her back.
Once, when Hera showed no signs of returning, Zeus played a trick on her. He invited her to a wedding near her home, where he stated he would be marrying a princess. When Hera arrived, she saw that he was in fact only marrying a statue, not a princess. Her laughter mended their bond, and she went back with him to Mount Olympus.
In modern times, Hera is unfortunately only remembered for her jealousy and pettiness, instead of her strong will, her faithfulness and her nurturing nature. This may be because of Homer, who was himself bullied by a nagging wife. His negative depictions of the goddess in Greek literature had long-lasting effects.
Even taking that into account, we can look at Hera as representing the dual nature of humans, and our ability to be both generous and small-minded. It reminds us that even the most affectionate and loyal among us have blind sides and negative natures, and that we need to watch out for the pettiness in us all.