The World Of Myth By David Leeming Essay

The World Of Myth By David Leeming Essay

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Heroes are those who are called to action by some circumstance, be it dramatic or not, that calls them into service to fulfill a quest, a task, or some other rite of passage that will harden them and serve as initiation into legend. Each and every hero throughout mythology’s many different tales has undergone a rite of passage, a series of tests that shape them to become the people they were meant to be, cementing their names into history in a manner that is reserved for the heroic. It is this quality that allows such tales to endure the test of time and the scrutiny given by the public, the mere fact that so many wish to either experience or view the life of a hero setting the stage for such an individual to emerge.
In his anthology, The World of Myth, author David Leeming presents depictions that “speak of the most fundamental human experience” (Leeming, 1991). People love a hero that they can see, a person that has come from virtually nothing and has fought their way forward in order to achieve their current status. The two heroes that have been selected for this essay, Hercules, the Greek demigod from mythology, and Neo from The Matrix, are comparable to several rites of passage that Leeming describes and are quite close to the typical archetype of the reluctant hero.
In regards to Hercules, there are many tales that tell of the half-human, half-god but only a few that can easily compare and contrast with Neo. Hercules, born from capricious beings that demanded fealty yet gave little more than troubles to their worshipers, was a troubled man who did not fit into either world completely. As a result of this he was an outcast and seen to wander the world in an effort to find his place. This is the withdrawal aspect i...


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...e circumstances are the main differences between these two heroes, though both men exemplify the archetype of the hero in their acts of sacrifice. In this manner they lead by example and show the true ideal that so many people wish to live by, though in their sacrifice they are forced to give everything.
Overall a hero is one who desires peace but typically is not allowed such a luxury, as they are the shining examples of humanity and its imaginative quest for greatness. Hercules and Neo are both exemplary figures that come from storied backgrounds and are seen to personify what it means to sacrifice and put others before oneself. This is among the rites of the hero, and a key part of the mythos that surrounds such stories and their central figures. Both Hercules and Neo are not the overall typical archetype, but still embody the title of hero in their own ways

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