Role and evolution of the hero in literature

1472 WordsJan 7, 20046 Pages
" If Hero means sincere man, why may not everyone of us be a Hero?" (Carlyle, qtd. in Hoyt' s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations). This statement makes heroism seem simple, but is being sincere enough to make you a hero? In modern society, the answer is likely to be yes, but in literature, it can be controversial. A hero in literature is generally portrayed as a man of action rather than thought. He exceeds ordinary men in skill, strength, and courage and his usual occupations are war and dangerous adventures. Surrounded by noble peers, he is ruled by honor and pride and is ruthless towards his enemies. His responses are generally predictable and his inability to decline a challenge can sometimes get him into trouble. The…show more content…
He is a strong, proud, honored hero. However, we also come in contact with this heroes direct counterpart whose actions appeal to our emotions, rather than our sense of adventure. This is the humble hero. Unlike the classic hero, he is not extremely strong, and not necessarily handsome. His beliefs are not expressed through some miraculous feats of strength, but rather through his ability to do the right thing. His actions often go unnoticed and are even sometimes criticized like in Harper Lee's book, To Kill A Mockingbird. When Atticus Finch agrees to defend a black man in court the community looks upon him as a "Niger lover." Even before he accepts the case, Atticus knows people will disapprove, but he is a honest man who stands up for what he believes in. His noble action is considered foolish and disgraceful and brings him no rewards whatsoever, but to Atticus, justice and the gratitude of a black family are more important than the opinion of people who prove to be " white trash." Atticus shows a different kind of bravery. He is heroic enough to do the right thing. The third type of hero we encounter in literature is the clever hero who uses his mind instead of his muscles to outsmart his enemies. We encounter this type of hero in Howard Pyle' s book, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. Robin Hood is portrayed as a fun loving character. He is not one to be considered a coward and is a very proud sort of fellow. He attacks
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