Epic vs. Modern Heroes

Topics: Hero, Culture, Sociology Pages: 3 (1078 words) Published: October 8, 1999
While "Have at thee!" the Arthurian battle cry from Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail, is a far a-hem cry from the modern day hero's, the essence remains the same. Many aspects of culture have been wholly altered, but society's quest for a hero has remained. Each people of the ancient times had a matchless idol that was unto his self the embodiment of cultural perfection. In more recent eras, where societies vary exceedingly, people have relied on scores of heroes. The United States is deemed the "melting pot" of the world due to the vast number of cultures she houses. Should she not, then, have a vast number of heroes, each one serving an essential role in society? Though modern culture does not choose one hero to exemplify cultural perfection; instead, there are many, each responding to a different call from each people.

Well documented ancient epic heroes include: Beowulf, King Arthur, and Sir Gawain. These legendary men fought to protect their people and their families. The men were the personification of loyalty, courage, and strength. The ancient epic hero usually was deemed cultural perfection; other men idolized these heroes, striving to gain their position of flawlessness. Societies seemed to balance on the tips of heroes' swords; epic poetry and ancient prose read as if heroes were the spinal column of a civilization. And perhaps in an age of heightened supernatural belief it was just so. If ancient times had the supernatural, modern times have their own beasts and monsters to cringe and seek shelter from. In an age where millions are dying from treatable diseases, and a billion more are pointlessly starving, it seems that if ever a need for heroes was, it is now.

Modern heroes come in all shapes and sizes, even the anti-government brand. Modern society is crazy about the anti-hero, especially in entertainment. Many protagonists in movies are, in fact, characters that, while they do not embody cultural perfection, they are...
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