Topics: Hero, Tragic hero, Batman Pages: 3 (1180 words) Published: May 17, 2014
A Discussion of Heroism in Literature and Film

Melissa Bushman, Yahoo! Contributor Network

Mar 1, 2007 "Share your voice on Yahoo! websites.

Defining Heroism
Each individual has their own personal definition of heroism or more specifically the characteristics of a true hero. Some may believe that a hero must be a person of high morals, while others may believe that a hero must a brave person, and yet others may believe that a hero can conceivably be a hero by chance and must not possess any specific qualities. Dictionary.com defines a hero or heroine as a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle defined heroism in his book titled Poetics. According to Anthony Ubelhor, an instructor at the University of Kentucky, "Aristotle describes the tragic hero as a protagonist who is otherwise perfect except for a tragic or fatal flaw that eventually leads to his demise. In fact, an Aristotelian tragic hero must have four characteristics: goodness, superiority, a tragic flaw, and a realization of both his flaw and his inevitable demise".

However, it is important to note that different societies have different values, and the values of a society do change over time. These differences and changes will affect the concept of heroism. "Many people who may have been heroes during their time may not be looked upon as heroes today. Davy Crocket, for example, chased away the Indians, raped the land and killed animals. He might not be considered a hero today, but he was during another time in history" (Pendharkar).

This author will attempt to define heroism while making an allowance for societal differences and changes. Therefore, this author's definition of a hero or heroine is a person who performs a legal or ethical act that is of benefit to another entity without first considering any personal gain or harm that may be received due to said act. In this author's...

References: "Hero." Dictionary.com website. URL: http://Dictionary.reference.com/browse/hero
Keen, M. "Robin Hood a Peasant Hero." EBSCOhost database. URL: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9110210460&loginpage=Login.asp&site=ehost-live
Otto, M. "Girl Sleuth and the Fountain of Youth; At 75, Nancy Drew Continues to Enchant Readers--and Now Academics, Too." ProQuest database. URL: http://proquest.Umi.com/pqdweb?did=899780321&Fmt=3&clientId=65562&RQT=309&VName-PQD
Pendharkar, L. "The Hero Chronicles." The Heroism Project website. URL: http://www.heroism.org/decades.html
"Profiles in Courage: Harper Lee 's to Kill a Mockingbird." National Endowment for the Humanities EDSITEment website. URL: http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=525
Roush, M. "Rockin ' Robin." TV Guide. Vol. 55, No. 9, p. 21.
Ubelhor, A. "Fairy Tales, Myths & Other Archetypal Stories." University of Kentucky website. URL: http://www.uky.edu/~aubel2/eng104/myth/essay2.html
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