Ancient and Modern Super Heroes
Hero myths are the best-known mythological stories because they involve colossal characters that are easily recognizable. In ancient Greece heroes such as Homer’s Odysseus, Apollo, and Achilles are “super heroes.” In modern day literature and pop culture mythological characters like those found in comic books are the equivalent. Super heroes and their stories involve characters that put themselves in harm’s way to protect something or someone else. Whether it is ancient Greek mythology one is studying or modern day comic book characters, the theme, and meaning are the same. In other words, “the story they tell belongs to us all” (Powell, 1990, p. 8). A modern day super hero who protects his society while maintaining a tremendous persona is Batman, created by Bill Finger in 1940. Batman does not possess the typical deity powers of ancient hero mythological characters, but he does embark on a quest to save Gotham City from crime and corruption while exhibiting characteristics common in his mythological hero counterparts. Like Homer’s Odysseus, Batman exudes mythological deity characteristics, including strength, courage, and selflessness. Batman is today what Homer’s Odysseus is to ancient Greece. He embodies what mythological characters stand for during the times of ancient Greece, “but stand for something more, something that crosses boundaries” (Rohac, n.d., p. 1). He also lives in Gotham City, which is a place any person can see him or herself living in, which helps to reinforce the mythological idea behind the super hero. In afterlife mythology, when Odysseus visits the Land of the Dead, he does so exuding his heroic quality of strength. Like Batman, Odysseus requires strength, not in the physical sense, but the emotional and mental sense because “the Land of the Dead is a place marked by emptiness and despair” (Powell, 1990, p. 67) that only a heroic man can encounter on his epic journey. Batman has grown up in Gotham City and...
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