Archetype of Hero in the Film Amazing Grace

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During the 18th century millions of men, women and children were taken from their homes in Africa and sold into slavery. Few survived the slave ships, and even fewer lived through their slave labors. Few people thought the slave trade was wrong, and to find one who had the courage to stand-up against it seemed impossible. Humanity needed a hero, someone who could establish equality. The movie Amazing Grace tells the account of an Englishman who gave his health and youth to end the slave trade. Like heroes of history and literature, William Wilberforce's story followed the archetype of a traditional hero.

William Wilberforce was an example of a common mortal hero. He was a normal, completely realistic person, in that he stumbled many times and often emphasized his humanity by saying, ?Am I not a man?? After years of work without success he felt he had failed, but he still pressed forward. He possessed no extraordinary power or skill, but he rose to the occasion and changed the world. Not only was William one of the few who was disgusted by the slave trade, he was also one of the select few who had the courage to stand up against it. Someone once said, ?Courage does not consist in feeling no fear, but in conquering fear. He is the hero who seeing the lion on either side goes straight on, because there his duty lies.? William saw the lions?many of them, nevertheless he continued on because he knew it was his duty. William Wilberforce was an ordinary man, but he was able to overcome fear and be a hero. However, he would not have been able to do it without the help of many friends.

Loyal companions have played a large role in many hero stories, and the story of William Wilberforce is not different. William Pitt, the Prime Minister, was William Wilberforce?s best friend. He was able to keep Wilberforce in good standing and also assisted in the eventual success of his bill which banned the slave trade. William Pitt also encouraged him to keep trying. After a race across the lawn William Pitt said, ?Why is it that you only feel the thorns in your feet when you stop running? You must keep going, fast.? William Pitt was one of the main reasons for his friend?s success. Without him, William Wilberforce would have quit, and even if he had continued trying he would never have been able to pass his bill.
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