A hero is an heroic person or a real life hero that, against all odds, combats adversity in face of incredible feats of strength, bravery, or ingenuity. Unlike other previously solely gender-defined terms, hero has become increasingly used to describe any gender, although hero only often refers to girls. In popular culture, a hero is usually illustrated as a young adolescent male. A more precise definition of a hero would be a perceived leader who exhibits the characteristics of heroism. A modern day hero may be anyone from a teacher to a janitor.
What Makes a Hero? The definition of a hero varies among different cultures. In some cultures, for instance, it is a common assumption that heroes possess unordinary intellectual capacities and supernaturally high moral standards. In other cultures, a hero must demonstrate extraordinary strength of character, usually exhibiting acts of courage that put their lives in danger. Still, from a modern perspective, most modern people would probably agree that heroes are ordinary humans who sometimes need to step outside of their comfort zones to do what is necessary to get the job done, the right thing, and the extraordinary.
Defining a hero requires more than just identifying a trait or characteristic; in fact, it often involves defining the very idea of heroism itself. Modern philosophy defines heroism as the ability to treat others with respect and dignity, while also seeing themselves as beneficiaries of a higher, transcendent cause. Heroes are not self-absorbed individuals who have an interest in only themselves; rather, heroes believe in the necessity of helping others in order to achieve a higher, divine purpose.
Defining heroism therefore, entails determining what qualities make a hero. In general, people around the world tend to think of heroes as extraordinarily brave, powerful, or insightful individuals. Heroes have traits that instill confidence and courage in other people around them, and they are often revered for their extraordinary abilities and accomplishments. In the United States, many people consider William Shakespeare’s Hero, Aeschylus, to be a hero. His theatrical play, The Antony and Cleopatra, and his poems, Tiresias, demonstrate the characteristics that make a hero.
One way to understand how the traits of a hero differ from those of normal people, is to look at how heroes are perceived by their own society. Most societies consider heroes to be exceptionally dangerous, courageous, or talented individuals. They are most often depicted as leaders, inventors, or leaders of vast and powerful nations. A hero has exceptional qualities that most people only aspire to have, and these qualities are usually viewed as qualities of courage or intelligence. Because these values set a hero apart, they are almost always seen as the best heroes, the ones who display the greatest displays of bravery.
However, it should be noted that not all very extraordinary people are leaders, or leaders of great power. There are plenty of ordinary people who possess extraordinary talents, but because of their personality, they are usually seen as beneath the stature of a true leader. It is interesting to note that a hero who displays exceptional courage will most likely have exceptional intelligence, because leadership and intelligence go hand in hand. So, while a lot of people today try to define heroes in social circles, it may be more appropriate to say that there are heroes inside each of us all, just waiting to be recognized and honored.