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Mythological Heroes Essay

2496 words - 10 pages

The subject of mythology deals mainly with the idea of battle, or good against evil. In this struggle many individuals are singled out for either the evil they cause, or from the good they bring to people. When you mention heroes in mythology, there are many different attributes so I am going to compare and contrast mythological heroes to the modern heroes of today.
Being brave, strong, alert, determined, honest, bold, are all the things that made them heroes. Today, if you look at the men and women that are known for being heroes you will see a great similarity in their bravery, courage, and intelligence. In these ways they are greatly the same. Greek heroes demonstrate great courage and strength while often possessing a tragic flaw such as conceit or jealousy. The hero exists as a "man often of divine ancestry" who receives praise for great acts of grit and bravery (the American Heritage College 636). This archetype, or original model, tells of a hero who typically enters upon a great journey or quest, "in search of a person or object of great value" (Holt 1). The object of value can represent something of a concrete nature such as treasure or a beautiful princess, or it can symbolize an abstraction like the truth or meaning of life. Throughout the quest, the hero encounters physical challenges such as a monster or emotional ones like fear or doubt. These dilemmas create pain and suffering for the hero who must then notice the failure and accept the consequences. In the end, the hero may fail in his quest, but he ordinarily survives and becomes enlightened by the self-knowledge he gains on his travels.
The mythological hero, Hercules has many human flaws that places doubt in one's mind as to consider him a hero or villain. Hercules is talented and is given supernatural strength, which he does not how to control. One day Hercules becomes filled with rage and he assassinated his wife and children. A person may use this act against Hercules and portray him as a villain. In order to expiate himself, he goes to an oracle, which eventually sends him out to fulfill the "12 Labors". This act is another justification for the belief of Hercules being a villain; he did the "12 Labors" for a pardon of his act not really a trial to prove his "heroic qualities". Hercules is usually considered a hero since he does complete the "12 Labors" that included some impossible tasks, like destroying the Hydra. People may have also considered Hercules as heroic because of his supernatural strength.
When a man goes through his life he becomes a stronger and wiser person. The Twelve Labors that Hercules now has to perform are the tasks that will make him a stronger person. Each of these Twelve Labors were originally designed to destroy him. Hercules spent nearly his entire life completing the Twelve Labors. Although, Hercules was the son of the most significant figures in Greek mythology, yet, as an ordinary man, he was made to struggle through incredible difficulties in...

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