What Makes a Hero?

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Heroes are present in many stories, old and new. Many heroes also carry similar traits that establish them as a great hero. For instance, many times a hero can be seen as someone very strong in might or in will. They can also be seen as someone who is admired by many in a society. Many heroes also leave their homes for an extended period of time for a reason that is not so great. A Greek hero strictly follows a certain pattern as shown in William Doty’s Mythology. “Typically, they follow a common pattern: unnatural birth, return home…exploits against monsters to prove their manhood and subsequent kingship or glorious death” (99). Exile, though seemingly awful, is necessary for a hero to be the hero he has to be. Several Greek and Roman myths have shown that in order for a hero to become “great,” he must experience some sort of exile to build up his skills and make himself more respected as shown in such myths as Jason and the Golden Fleece, Heracles, and Medea. A Hero’s exile is completely necessary in his life because it gives them a chance to enhance their skills in order to make them a greater hero. One example of this occurrence is in Jason and the Golden Fleece. Jason is sent out of his home of Iolcus at a young age for protection from his uncle: Pelias. “Pelias…took the royal scepter, the throne, and the kingdom of Iolcus from his half-brother, Aeson, who was the rightful king. In time it came to pass that Aeson’s wedded lady gave birth to a son, whom they named Jason. Jason was the rightful heir to the throne” (Rosenberg 171). He stays with a centaur until he is older and decides to return to his kingdom. Jason comes back from living with the centaur and only wants kingship and not material goods (172). In Jason and the... ... middle of paper ... ...e that is great. There are too many people who do not realize this in their everyday lives. Instead, they feel that a bad point in their lives is the end. Greek and Roman myths show that bad times, like exile, are the sign that things will turn around. Therefore, heroes must endure some sort of exile to act as a comparison that will make their times of triumph seem even greater. Works Cited 1. “Bellerophon.” Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1995. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 12 Feb. 2010. 2. Bullfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s Mythology. New York: Modern Library, 1993. Print. 3. Doty, William G. World Mythology. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2002. Print. 4. Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York: Warner, 1969. Print. 5. Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1999.

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