A hero is an imaginary character or an actual real individual who, in the face of adversity, combats injustice through great feats of strength, courage, or ingenuity. Like many formerly only gender-specific words, hero has become frequently used to describe any gender, although hero only seems to refer specifically to females. The hero’s abilities, such as cunning or magical arts, are usually beyond reproach, which leaves the reader admiring her bravery as well as her intellect and spirit. Often the hero brings forth the hopes and wishes of the audience, thus motivating the action of the story.
Though sometimes the combination of such characteristics seem to elude us, heroes are not without their weaknesses. Often they are left with no recourse but to overcome their flaws, but even then their qualities as heroes rarely fade. We celebrate heroes for their qualities of courage and idealism, and we wish them well on their journey to ultimate success.
In literature, where literature has played an important part in shaping our societal values and attitudes, heroic acts are celebrated and rewarded. In films and televisions programs, a heroic act is the source of intense drama, suspense, and thrill, while its consequences are often tragic. As such, it is rare to see a hero merely defeated, although this has certainly occurred on more than one occasion. Likewise, movies and television heroes are often given multiple identities, sometimes taking on different identities throughout the series. Although most superheroes are human, some have been endowed with superpowers.
In our own society, heroes are frequently romanticized. Their sacrifices lead to significant personal changes and positive change, and they remain fully human. However, not every hero can fully share the qualities of heroism. While we celebrate and recognize those who are good at times, we also tend to expect that every hero has the ability to fully transform himself or herself into a superperson. According to researchers, there are only a limited number of superpowers and the average person cannot assume the abilities of a superman, a lighthouse, or an airplane pilot.
A hero’s journey is unique to them. It is an extension of their unique qualities and personality traits. Superheroes are not motivated by revenge, but rather by love and hope for others. Although some may seek retribution, others choose to act out of love and give to the needy because they understand the need for love and hope. For a hero to fully embody the characteristics of a hero, their journey must be full of compassion, hope, courage, and selflessness.
While the average person may view a hero’s journey negatively due to its unrealistic nature, others view the journey of heroes as inspiring and life-affirming. This can be seen in the stories and plays of plays such as A Midsummer’s Night Dream or The Lion, the Scarecrow and the Phantom. Although not all heroes experience great success during their journey, many do. The difference between a mediocre hero and a heroic one is based on how much hope and purpose their story brings to their lives.