What makes a hero? Who chooses to be a hero? A hero is simply a person who, in the face of insurmountable odds, battles adversity with boldness, intelligence, or guts. Just like other previously solely gender-specific words, a hero can be used to describe any gender, although hero only often refers to men. Still, the word hero has a special place in our society because without heroes, how would we know what it is to be a good person?
What makes a hero? According to Richard R. Powell’s “Superman: The Making of a Man,” a hero’s greatest attribute is his or her ability to love and be loved. Without either of these essential traits, no person could live up to the definition of a hero. With these traits, a person would not only be a hero, but someone we would all be proud to be around.
All humans possess at least one defining quality, and that is the ability to love and be loved. Our capacity for heroism is inherent within us; we just need the guidance and push to utilize that talent to its fullest extent. Without these defining characteristics, we would have no choice but to define other qualities such as courage or cleverness in other ways. A truly heroic individual understands that love and understanding are two of the most important characteristics to possess. They also understand that strength and intelligence are equally important.
How do we know when a person is a hero? In the simplest of terms, we simply recognize heroes when they make a significant contribution to the greater good, when they persevere, when they display unrivaled courage in the face of adversity, and when they display an exceptional sense of imagination and creativity. Our measure of greatness is not derived from physical appearance, nor does it come from winning every time in athletic competition, although these certainly help. Our real measure of heroism comes from the value we place on the gifts and talents of real heroes, and the percentage of that value that we assign to the person based on their behavior and accomplishments. This percentage is known as the Heroic Imagination percentage.
The most famous definition of a hero is by the Greek philosopher Plato, who said that there are three basic types of heroes: the ideal hero, the tragic hero, and the heroic imagination hero. The ideal hero is the hero who thinks of himself as the hero and who delights in the role he plays. The tragic hero, by contrast, is the hero who suffers because of his role; he does not believe that he is the hero and will often withdraw from the role to go into solitude or even engage in acts of terrorism to achieve his ends.
Finally, the heroic imagination heroically engages in acts of heroism for which he is not rewarded financially, socially, or personally. He may sacrifice to achieve an end, but not necessarily his own safety. The most famous example of this type is, of course, Shakespeare’s hero Hamlet, whose death comes at the hands of the prince of Denmark. This hero shows his real, honest side, and though he dies a horrible death, his actions encourage others to follow their own path and do the same. Our current definition of heroes has changed little from the original Greek one, and no less than the hero should be judged by how they use their imagination to create value in our society.