When We Talk About Heroes
A hero is someone who, in the eyes of fate, combats supernatural adversity through acts of courage, ingenuity, or extraordinary strength. Just like other previously solely gender-specific words, hero is used to describe any gender, although hero only seems to reference girls. However, there are varying definitions for what constitutes a hero and while most would consider a hero to be someone who experiences remarkable deeds or heroic acts out of a sense of duty or obligation, there are others who believe that heroes are born and have a particular ‘divine’ essence or qualities. The definitions of what makes a hero can also depend on how society views them, since while some would likely consider a hero to be defined by one specific act, others would view a hero in a different light depending on their personality.
Defining a hero can be difficult due to how defining heroes themselves can be vague. Often heroes are considered to fall into one of three categories: those who never lost touch with their roots, those who act as representatives or emblems of a social class, and those who experience great acts of heroism or legend. However, defining characteristics of heroes can be much easier when taking the time to look at famous examples of great heroes and the movies and comic books that followed their footsteps. Some of the most prominent heroes in history can be found among the casts of major movie franchises such as Batman, Superman, and The Hulk, while still others have risen to popularity on their own merit or through their own contributions to society.
Batman, for example, epitomizes the characteristics of being a hero through his actions, which include fighting villains and crime, but also saving others from evil and perils. Batman does not necessarily do these things in an elaborate or exaggerated manner, but he does embody the qualities of being a hero through the actions he takes on his own and through his willingness to protect others. In contrast, Superman is the ultimate symbol of heroism and strength through his powers, which include flight, super-speed, and a variety of other supernatural traits. Superman’s willingness to sacrifice himself for others, however, precludes him from acting heroically, although he may sometimes choose to wear a cape and cowl to further embody these traits.
Similarly, the Incredible Hulk is unique among superheroes because he possesses vast super-human strength while still retaining a down-to-earth mentality. Unlike Batman or Superman, the Hulk does not need to adhere to any specific code of behavior to be considered a hero, and he does not participate in any proactive action to protect those he deems deserving of his protection. Instead, he acts out of a sense of obligation or a sense of honor, as well as a desire to do what is right. This combination of characteristics allows the Hulk to act heroically even when combating against enemies or destructive forces, and he is even known to go as far as to sacrifice his life to protect those he holds dear. Similarly, the Incredible Hulk is often shown overcoming great physical challenges, while at the same time displaying a wide range of impressive physical feats, including time travel and accelerated healing.
Other defining characteristics of heroes include the existence of some kind of divine power, as well as a wide range of other supernatural/supernatural factors. Generally, those who define and promote the status of heroes point to divine origins, usually emphasizing the presence of an entity known as “the superhero seed,” which is responsible for the character’s conception and creation. The presence of divine origins also fuels a degree of loyalty and devotion to these highly inspired individuals. Finally, superheroes can be defined as human beings with extraordinary abilities that are bestowed upon them by divine providence. While not all superpowers are permanent, those with such abilities are usually extremely powerful and beloved by a wide variety of viewers.
The truth is that superheroes have always been defined as real people, with real motivations and real lives. Perhaps the most important thing to remember when comparing and contrasting heroes and villains is that heroes are subject to the same fundamental laws of the universe just as regular folks are. Those who act heroically on a regular basis probably feel a sense of pride every time they do something that appears to be beyond their ability. In this way, the act of heroic imagination serves a social purpose – the purpose that gives humanity its special capacity for creativity and propelling development. Those who do not act heroically may lack an important component of imagination.