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Ancient Hero Motifs
Mythology predominantly deals with the basic idea of battle, or the combat between good and evil. In this fundamental battle between good versus evil, many individuals are categorized based on their actions of either being the cause of evil or displaying bravery and bringing in good fortune to the common public. Greek mythology defines heroes as humans of either gender who hailed from the isolated past and are conferred with mystic capabilities and are also regarded to have descended from the eternal gods. Apart from this, the Greek mythology also strongly holds a belief that for a person to be called as a real hero, he must possess the below listed four characteristics.
- “fighting precision which makes him stand out above others
- high-quality leadership which demands the allegiance and loyalty of his men
- bravery which inspires others to do brave acts not rash and childish acts of braved
- possess good ethics and morals which also inspired others to emulate him”
Stories in mythology are as old as the human civilization. Besides, the most interesting element in mythological stories is they are typically the tales of heroes. Mythology is probably the oldest and the exact framework of tales of heroism.
Heroes of ancient literature have always been given importance in various stories and poetries throughout history. Every author creates and presents his hero in a distinctive style, bonding together facts, projection, tone and a variety of other evocative techniques of writing in order to portray the persona of a hero. For instance, in Homer’s Iliad, the author develops two old-style heroes who are certainly unalike at the initial glimpse, but a closer examination of these two characters discloses that both of them are very much similar in their fundamental individualities.
Almost all the different global cultures have produced myths about heroes. For instance, Greek hero like Achilles is believed to have one mortal parent and the other divine. While this is one instance, there are also various other heroes who are completely human but are bestowed with eternal and supernatural powers and strengths. The countless myths about heroes is more about basically the various phases of the hero’s life and career, like for instance, the birth of the hero, the quest upon which he embarks, his virtues, and finally his victory.
Modern day heroes are certainly different from the ancient heroes due to the fact that they still remain human beings and are not bestowed with any kind of supernatural powers like the ancient heroes. Modern day heroes are not fictional like the ancient heroes but rather evolve from popular culture like music etc. The kind of attention and money that is devoted towards such modern day heroes (celebrities, or prominent figures from any kind of popular culture) highlights the fact that these people are highly influential and can play a very great role for the fact that they are able to influence and shape the ethics of the society. Modern mythology has created superheroes. Batman, Superman, the Hulk etc., are a few examples of such superheroes that were created by modern mythology. “The super hero has been the staple of the modern comic book since the late 1930s. The phenomenally successful movies "Superman" and "Batman" have made these two comic book super heroes as familiar worldwide as any characters ever created”.
Homer’s Iliad is an epic poem in which there exist numerous heroes. Heroism is the most crucial aspect of the lives of epic characters providing the much needed clarity to their deeds and actions. The main theme of Homer’s Iliad is essentially the fundamental courage and the same was remarkably portrayed and highlighted throughout the epic. During the Trojan War, heroism and courageousness were valued above life. The courage of man repeatedly was regarded to be valuable rather than his truthfulness and honesty towards his wife. The real hero of Homer’s Iliad is Hector. There are numerous instances since the beginning of the tale that depicts him as a real hero and the same is the case even after his demise, despite being killed by Achilles. On the whole, to be described as a tragic hero, a character in a story must exhibit a plethora of heroic characteristics all through the entire story or in a few instances at least. The unhurried decision of Hector and his attitude towards his individual actions bestows him with the fair honor that he ought to have possessed as the actual hero of the story.
The heroes in the Greek mythology were conventionally physically fit and were also shrewd. The hero fights to overcome a variety of ordeals that come his way in order to preserve the well-being of others and to safeguard his country or kingdom. The Greek heroes are regarded as the ones normally who are conferred with the so called 'golden mean' in their approach and in everything. They are not aspiring, imprudent, proud or obstinate, in contrast to the modern day heroes who possess most of these qualities.
The fundamental philosophies of heroic adventures are insightful of contemporary human beings’ individual journeys and explorations in life. Every challenge with which an individual is confronted in life is an adventure and the individual himself/herself becomes the hero of that tale.
Fahey, C. (2004). The True Hero of the Iliad. Retrieved November 06, 2014, from http://www.unm.edu/~legacy/ancient/ancientworks/iliad.html
Lorina. (2006, October 15). The Iliad - Hector Vs. Achilles. Retrieved November 06, 2014, from http://en.allexperts.com/q/Mythology-658/Iliad-Hector-Vs-Achilles.htm
Reynolds, M. R. (1992). Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd.
Witnessing101. (2012). Modern Mythology: What Superheroes Can Show Us About Humanity. Retrieved November 06, 2014, from http://witnessing101.hubpages.com/hub/Modern-Mythology-What-Comic-Books-Can-Tell-Us-About-Humanity