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

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

Length: 1043 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...

... middle of paper ...

...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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Comparing Beowulf And The Aspects Of Heroism

- In this paper the theme of Beowulf and the aspects of heroism will be established. Why Beowulf is a hero is going to be stated and after establishing the characteristics of a hero, all the factors of a villain will be named. Later the paper is going to acknowledge the stereotypical traits of a hero and then compare Beowulf to some of today 's most popular heroes. Finally it´s going to be expressed how the Anglo saxon who wrote Beowulf inspired other authors and how the majority sees heroes. Throughout history, tales of lionhearts have surfaced....   [tags: Hero, Superhero, Beowulf, Villain]

Strong Essays
1015 words (2.9 pages)

Comparing Heroism in Red Badge of Courage, Journey's End, and Regeneration

- Heroism in Red Badge of Courage, Journey's End, and Regeneration        The idea of heroism is constantly evolving with time. The traditional idea of heroism, is derived from ancient Greek influences such as the two major epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The mythological figure of heroism is endowed with great strength and ability, and of divine descent. He brings honour and acclaim, and is admired for his courage. This is the Homeric ideal that The Red Badge of Courage and Journey's End approaches....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
1217 words (3.5 pages)

Comparing the Hero in Homer’s The Odyssey with the Modern Hero Described in Whitman’s I hear America Singing

- One of the main similarities in ancient Greek epics is that there are always great heroes who overcome many difficult and daunting challenges and goes on long adventures. The issue of heroic stature and the character of the hero have a great importance on the epics itself. Classical Greek heroes are usually born to do great things, go on epic journeys and in the end they would receive a reward for their troubles. In Homer’s the Odyssey, Odysseus has many different qualities that classify him as a hero....   [tags: the odyssey, I hear America Singing]

Strong Essays
648 words (1.9 pages)

Modern Day Hero Essay

- In today’s society, it is hard to know someone who another person can look up to as a hero. It takes a special quality and person for others to know they can look up to and follow without worrying about being lead astray. The modern day hero I have chosen is someone who not only is willing to lay his life down for another, but also is willing to fight for everyone’s freedom. James A. Miller Jr. is that modern day hero; he is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp. For the last year, he has been overseas fighting for not only the lives of all Americans, but he is also trying to free the Iraqi Government and people....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
1038 words (3 pages)

Comparing Two Heros - Beowulf and Odysseus Essay

- Comparing Two Heros - Beowulf and Odysseus Reading through Beowulf I began to compare it to the last great epic I read, Homer’s Odyssey. While the Odyssey and Beowulf are each examples of both historic and modern ideas of heroism, the acts of Beowulf’s hero seem to fit better within its context. Beowulf exhibits many obvious heroic qualities, such as his strength and confidence in battle. These along with more subtle diplomatic actions serve to define him as both a great warrior and leader. Beowulf shows both wit and patience in his swift retort after Unferth challenges his skill....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Epic Compare Contrast]

Strong Essays
622 words (1.8 pages)

Essay about Acts of Heroism

- What makes the acts of heroism different from the daily life of others. To people the act of heroism can be from their favorite sports player or an actor. But, to some they could be there family member. Each heroic act in the society is faced with great challenges but the hero never backs down. In addition, heroic acts have many different purposes in our society. The acts of heroism are considered as an inspiration to others and a reference but, it takes certain attribute such as courage and selflessness....   [tags: heroes,]

Strong Essays
888 words (2.5 pages)

Heroic Heroes in Iliad by Homer Essay

- The epic poem, The Iliad by Homer depicts the Trojan War and its Heroes. Heroism is the qualities of a character of a person that makes them great. Two characters seen as heroic are Achilles and Hector, however; Achilles is more heroic because of his audacity, allegiance, compassion. Heroism can be defined as the pursuit of good through warfare. Achilles is more heroic than Hector because more action occurs by the time Achilles engages in battle. Achilles is audacious because his recklessness drives him to the point of seeing the destructions of every last Achaean....   [tags: heroism, audacity, allegiance, compassion]

Strong Essays
726 words (2.1 pages)

Extended Definition of a Modern Hero Essay

- Classical heroes commonly display bravery and strength in their noble feats of self-sacrifice in order to attain fame and glory as a savior of his or her people. However, in modern times, a hero may represent a cause to achieve peace and amity with his or her society, no matter the differences between each person. Other admirable modern heroes express indifference towards racial and religious distinctions and help those in need, sometimes at their own life’s risk, despite their disapproving society....   [tags: Heroes]

Strong Essays
714 words (2 pages)

Essay on Santiago's Heroism

- Heroism is different to each person. To someone it might be to look impressive, or act above the ordinary. To someone else, it might be have amazing strength or courage in danger situation. Or maybe it might be having all of the heroic qualities, such as doing brave actions or having great determination. I can’t tell someone what the definition of heroism because there are just so many. But to me, heroism can be well described in this quote from Arthur Ashe. “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic....   [tags: Heroism]

Strong Essays
507 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on Stephen Crane's A Mystery of Heroism

- Stephen Crane's A Mystery of Heroism Stephen Crane, an avant-garde writer of his time, forced his readers to look beyond his written words for a more underlined, meaningful moral in most of his stories. Crane follows a strict pattern in most of his work. His subject matter usually deals with the physical, emotional, and intellectual responses of ordinary people confronted by extraordinary, extreme experiences. Fairly common themes are presented in his writing, including fallen humanity and harsh realities; yet all seem to overlap in the category of heroism....   [tags: Stephen Crane Mystery Heroism Essays]

Strong Essays
1314 words (3.8 pages)