What Makes a Hero?
A hero is a heroic person or a primary fictional character who, while facing adversity, combats against adversity through extraordinary acts of courage, ingenuity, or strength of character. Unlike other previously solely gender-defined words, a hero can be used to describe any gender, although hero usually refers to only women. In popular culture, a hero is almost always a powerful man, often a president, a football player, an aircraft carrier, etc. The term hero is used so commonly because it is such a strong word that almost anyone who sees a movie, reads a book, watches television, even thinks about a piece of entertainment can identify with the hero, be it a child or an adult.
The modern day hero, in many cases a president of the United States, is almost always someone who excels at one area, be it art, sports, science, politics, film, theater, or whatever. While each hero has different strengths and weaknesses, some common characteristics are shared by most heroes, including high intelligence, creativity, stamina, willpower, bravery, and the ability to think critically. Creativity, courage, and intelligence are not only important qualities of a hero, but they are also necessary and key ingredients for a hero’s success.
Often, heroes have no qualms about sacrificing their own safety and freedom in order to protect others. True heroes put themselves in harms way to help their fellow man, and often do so risking their own lives to do so. While a hero may never have to lay down his life for his country or people, he certainly has many times during his lifetime when he could have saved himself, if he chose.
Creativity is another important quality needed to be a hero. Without creativity, many heroes would soon be forgotten, since they are rarely heard of or portrayed on paper. However, a truly great hero knows that he has the ability to use his mind in ways other than fighting. Creativity is necessary for heroes because without it, they are no different from robots. They can only move as fast as their body allows them to, which limits their mind a great deal.
Achilles, Hector, and Odysseus are three classic examples of classical heroes. Achilles was a prince who fell in love with a woman named Helen of Troy, leading her husband and family to murder him in order to free her from Trojan captivity. Hector was a Greek hero who fought in many battles, eventually becoming a warrior renowned for his prowess in battle. Odysseus was a prince who crossed the seas with his crew and faced hardship in order to reach the land of Troy. He was famous for his leadership, bravery, and wisdom.
In general, a hero must exhibit three qualities: courage, creativity, and imagination. These are the basic requirements needed to create drama, fantasy, and a compelling hero. The more one fulfills these conditions, the more epic he becomes. Homer seems to fit all definitions, but it is up to you to decide how real your hero really is.