Heroes And Their Impacts On Young Boys And Girls

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The word hero is derived from Greek that is used in the Greek language for warrior. Moreover, hero is described as a male lead in a screen play or a movie by many dictionaries. However, in Greek mythology hero was originally a woman, Aphrodite who was known as the goddess of love. Hero committed suicide when she heard the news of her lover, Leander’s death. It might be the case that the concept of hero sprung from there that “sacrificing one’s life for an ideal” (Goethals & Allison, 2012). A traditional hero is a perfect hero, this type of hero is someone who follows the conventional hero odyssey. Campbell (1949) describes a traditional hero as someone who stems from a modest origin, have experienced obstructions in since young age, get help from doubtful sources and comes back to benefit the society (as cited in Goethals & Allison, 2012). Some examples of traditional heroes can be Hercules, Beowulf, Achilles, Aphrodite as mentioned above and many more. Contemporary superheroes are the modern superheroes that are heroes of this century. The concept of superhero today is politically and socially analyzed. Most of the contemporary superheroes are based on comic books. These superheroes help the humans but doesn’t snatch away the true identity of being a human (Carney, 2005). Contemporary heroes in this age are Batman, Superman, Captain America, Wonder woman and many more. This essay will analyze two traditional heroes, Hercules and Beowulf as well as a contemporary hero, Batman. These heroes’ journey would be analyzed with their portrayal of contemporary gender politics throughout their lives. As it is quite popular that heroes are there to save the people and especially the “damsel-in-distress” stereotype. Moreover, the essay will also discuss the impact of this on young boys and girls.

Traditional Heroes:


Hercules was a traditional hero in the Greek Mythology, he was famous for his strength and his powerful build. His heroic traits permitted him to go beyond the traditional cultural values and form new ethos. This hero has been interpreted in many forms like the animation production by Disney in 1991 and a novel by Jeanette Winterson, Weight (Beavers, 2008). Hercules is a hero from the earliest of times, he used animal skins for clothes and lived his life as a hunter. His quest was to visit the underworld and fight the evil to protect the people. Hercules was known as a “Paleolithic shaman” due to his ascent to the Mount Olympus (Diodorus, 1993 as cited in Beavers, 2008). Hercules is known for his muscular body and through the portrayal of his character now masculinity is displayed through a brawny body like Hercules. According to Holman (1991), Goltzious was fascinated by the heavy built of Hercules and in his print text he also portrayed him as a someone with a great body. He has been exhilarated with a brawny physical opulence since his childhood and often drew huge animals like elephants and camel on walls of his room. He designed Great Hercules that signified the protagonist as a bulky figure as well as he wrote painted prints like these for instance, Antaeus. The depiction of the Great Hercules has been observed to be an exaggeration by many researchers of the hero’s figure (Holman, 1991). When talking about contemporary gender politics, the portrayal of Hercules is shown as an anti-feminist. According to Tomasso (1996), she talks about the portrayal of girl power in a screen play Once a hero, the study is actually a critique of the play and compares political believes of different Presidents in the US with this play. For instance, an example is given of the anti-feminism in the play, when Hercules safes a village from what they ferocious beats. He came to know that these beasts are actually females wearing animal skin to scare the people of the village. These women are actually wives of the men of the village, Hercules than persuades the leader of these women to return to their normal roles as wives. This was shown as the true male personality for the modern women audience as well as it was seen as anti-feminist and conservative by Ruby Blondell, a critic of the screen plays Tomasso (1996). 

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