Characteristics Of Leopold Bloom A Modern Hero

1149 Words5 Pages
Elizabeth Weiss Leopold Bloom: A Modern Hero’s Journey In contemporary society, a hero is typically considered to be a person greatly admired for illustrious acts or distinguished personal qualities. But a hero in literary standards encompasses a broader, more expansive definition. In the realm of literature, a hero can be a mythological or legendary figure sometimes of divine descent and endowed with great strength—as in Greek mythology—or a man admired for his impressive achievements and noble qualities. In his modernist masterpiece, Ulysses, James Joyce creates an atypical hero featuring a character who leads an otherwise conventional life. But by examining the similarities between the modernist novel and Homer’s The Odyssey, I will prove that Leopold Bloom can be labeled a modern hero. Heroes traditionally possess traits that society deems admirable, such as courage and chivalry. They are strong behaviors in both their physicality and their values, and they are presented to the audience as people who have an upstanding, highly moral character and who pursue righteous actions, often while facing insurmountable odds. In literary works, the hero is the main character and the focus around which the story revolves. The characteristics of the hero commonly reflect on the cultural values of his or her time because, as the world changes and society’s attitudes towards him shift, different forms of the hero emerge. In Ulysses, Leopold Bloom is that modern hero. Although he doesn’t battle Poseidon or a Cyclops, he instead faces the injustice of anti-Semitism and stands up for a young man drowning due to his lack of paternal guidance. In Greek mythology, the hero is frequently favored by the gods and is, in a sense, semi-divine, much li... ... middle of paper ... ...ysseus. As the typical “good guy,” Bloom personifies all that is fair and decent, protecting the innocent and, in his own way, fighting for justice. He may not boast super powers like Spiderman, he doesn't have the Greek Gods on his side nor does he possess the internal motivation to make the world a better place like Katniss. But Bloom, like all of these heroes, still embodies these heroic characteristics. It does not mean that he is the same as Odysseus, but Kenner suggests that they all have similar purposes. In our modern world, our heroes are firemen and police officers, human rights activists and kids willing to stand up to bullies. No longer do we fight sea monsters or Sirens; instead we fight our own demons and attempt to right the wrongs victimizing others. Through this connection, it is obvious that Leopold Bloom stands as a modern hero of epic proportions.

More about Characteristics Of Leopold Bloom A Modern Hero

Open Document