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What Makes A Hero? Essay

1570 words - 6 pages

Heroes are present in many stories, old and new. Many heroes also carry similar traits that establish them as a great hero. For instance, many times a hero can be seen as someone very strong in might or in will. They can also be seen as someone who is admired by many in a society. Many heroes also leave their homes for an extended period of time for a reason that is not so great. A Greek hero strictly follows a certain pattern as shown in William Doty’s Mythology. “Typically, they follow a common pattern: unnatural birth, return home…exploits against monsters to prove their manhood and subsequent kingship or glorious death” (99). Exile, though seemingly awful, is necessary for a hero to be the hero he has to be. Several Greek and Roman myths have shown that in order for a hero to become “great,” he must experience some sort of exile to build up his skills and make himself more respected as shown in such myths as Jason and the Golden Fleece, Heracles, and Medea.
A Hero’s exile is completely necessary in his life because it gives them a chance to enhance their skills in order to make them a greater hero. One example of this occurrence is in Jason and the Golden Fleece. Jason is sent out of his home of Iolcus at a young age for protection from his uncle: Pelias. “Pelias…took the royal scepter, the throne, and the kingdom of Iolcus from his half-brother, Aeson, who was the rightful king. In time it came to pass that Aeson’s wedded lady gave birth to a son, whom they named Jason. Jason was the rightful heir to the throne” (Rosenberg 171). He stays with a centaur until he is older and decides to return to his kingdom. Jason comes back from living with the centaur and only wants kingship and not material goods (172).
In Jason and the Golden Fleece, Jason leaves with his companions in order to find the Golden Fleece in Colchis (Rosenberg 159). This trip can be considered to be a second exile with a predetermined fate. Jason knows that this trip will get him the throne so he performs the task in order that this might happen. Jason’s exile from Iolcus and his journey to retrieve the Golden Fleece both work in showing how a hero’s exile is needed so that the hero can gain strength and skill.
Heracles is another hero who shows to be physically greater after his exile. “Hera caused Heracles to become insane. In a fit of madness, he picked up his great bow and shot his only children, thinking that they were enemies. Upon recovering his sanity, Heracles withdrew from all society” (Rosenberg 101). He left to perform labors and he did not receive much help form the gods in these labors (100). After Heracles left and performed all of his tasks, Zeus allowed Heracles to become immortal (105). This shows how Heracles benefited physically from his exile. Unlike other heroes though, his benefit was more of a reward than a simple result.
Bellerophon is another hero who is sent into exile. His exile is a bit more figurative. He rejects love from Anteia and is...

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