Evolution of Heroism: Comparing Qualities of Ancient Heroes Versus Modern Heroes

Evolution of Heroism: Comparing Qualities of Ancient Heroes Versus Modern Heroes

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Heroes are prevalent in everyone’s life. Whether someone’s hero is a living person or a fabled character from a movie, everybody has come into contact with some sort of hero. In fact, the concept of heroes has existed for hundreds of years, dating all the way back to Ancient Greece. However, heroes have not always been people who dress up in costumes and fight crime, as our current society would lead us to believe. No, heroes started out differently and have evolved throughout the centuries. Heroes generally reflect the ideals of their society, and while they are not perfect, they demonstrate the qualities and traits valued by their society. Heroes have always possessed distinguishing qualities, but these traits and qualities have changed drastically over time. The Greek definition of a hero is far removed from the Romantic and modern definitions of heroes. Early heroes were characterized by extraordinary physical ability and incredible battle skills, whereas contemporary heroes rely on intellectual ability and their rebellious nature.

Specifically, the original Greek heroes had god-like physiques and were deadly and unstoppable warriors. One of the most prominent Greek heroes, Odysseus, demonstrates these qualities in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Odysseus first displays his inhuman strength in the cave of Polyphemus, the Cyclops. His men prepare a large olive stake to thrust it into Polyphemus’ eye and Odysseus “drives his weight on [the olive stake] from above and bores it” (Homer, 223) in, an astounding feat of which only Odysseus is capable. Odysseus demonstrates his physical dominance again when he escapes the whirlpool Charybdis by “springing for the great fig tree” above and then escapes from Charybdis need I say/high...


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...he example of each (smart for equality, fighting social boundaries for jane) but now that you say both do that (which is true for the most part) after “mentally brilliant” such as Equality and Jane, and fight their social boundaries as opposed to physical armies and foes. In Greek society, those who were fearless and muscular fighters were the ones that were honored and praised, comma needed but in modern society, people who are exceptionally bright and courageous can become honorable heroes. A perfect example of a modern hero is Barack Obama. Barack is extremely intelligent, as this is required of any president to run a country. He is the first African-American president, an act rebellious against the normal customs of American presidents. He cannot defeat an entire army of suitors by himself, but he has used his courage and intelligence to become a hero for many.

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