The Hero in Homer’s The Odyssey, and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis Essay

The Hero in Homer’s The Odyssey, and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis Essay

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"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." -- Christopher Reeve

Throughout a life time, people hear many different definitions of heroism and examples of heroes. In childhood, heroes are either fictional men with supernatural abilities and talents or protectors of reality, such as firefighters and policemen; in adolescence, heroes can be actors, athletes, artists, and teachers; in adulthood, heroes may be activists or reporters, politicians or businessmen. Bonnie Tyler, a popular singer, describes her ideal hero saying “he’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight” (“Holding Out for a Hero” 1984). If the definition changes with age and personal preference, what truly makes up a real- life hero? The characterization of a literary hero is somewhat easier to define. Although the definition is subject to time, place, and situation, many characters that are defined as heroes throughout history have similar traits. Dorothy Norman and Roy Pickett attempt to clearly state this definition in their books The Hero: Myth/Image/Symbol and The Theme of the Hero, respectively. By using the classic hero from Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus, and a character not usually defined as a hero, Marji from Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, this paper will dissect the standards Norman and Pickett use to identify heroes and will determine whether an ancient warrior and a modern, strong-willed child both have the characteristics to be correctly defined as heroes for their time.

In her book The Hero: Myth/Image/Symbol, Dorothy Norman analyzes the roles of heroes throughout ancient history and formulates a loose set of guidelines under...


... middle of paper ...


...character that emits hope and displays the victories and vices of humanity. It is through this character that the audience is able to experience the heroic journey and hopefully begin a heroic journey in their own lives as they look to the examples of Odysseus, Marji, and other fictional heroes who personally affected them.



Works Cited

Frye, Northrop. “Fictional Modes”. The Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton, NJ; Princeton U. Print.

Homer, Robert Fagles, and Bernard Knox. The Odyssey. New York: Viking, 1996. Print.

Norman, Dorothy. The Hero:Myth/Image/Symbol. Cleveland, OH: World, 1969. Print.

Pickett, Roy G. The Theme of the Hero. Dubuque, IA: W.C. Brown, 1969. Print.

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2003. Print.

Tyler, Bonnie. “Holding Out for a Hero.” 1985. Song lyrics. Web. 6 June 2015.
www.lyricsmode.com, 2012.

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