Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's a Hero?

Heroes. We need a few, but what are they? Many people equate the hero with the protagonist, but many protagonists are poor excuses for heroes. On the other hand, some people will raise the hero to the level of a superhero. For our purposes, let’s define a hero as someone worthy of admiration, since that definition will encompass heros who are brave and heroes of other types as well. If our protagonist is worthy of admiration, then he is a hero or heroine. If not then he is an antihero or a villain. But let’s look at heroes.

We need to draw a distinction between a hero and a superhero. A superhero is a special case of the hero. The superhero is almost always a misunderstood person. Because of his special abilities, he must be of extremely high moral character. If he were not, he would use his powers for evil and become a villain. Everyone wants to be the superhero’s friend, but they are afraid of him. He is able to do things that they can’t, so they feel the need for some kind of protection from him. Usually, that protection comes in the form of distance. This causes the superhero to spend much of his life alone. He has a few personal friends and some of those may know who he really is, but he has to be careful and keep his identity secret. He usually isn’t in any direct danger, but if his enemies can discover who his friends are then they can make his life very difficult. So, it is best to keep his identity secret and to have a small number of close friends.

The typical hero is much more ordinary. Unlike the superhero who has some natural ability that gives him power, the hero has a natural inability that he must overcome. It is through overcoming this inability that he is able to show his bravery and his worthiness of admiration. In the end, he will save the day, but he must do it against the odds.