Discovering Worlds Past and Present
What is a Hero?
We know the Western Hero (Odysseus): tall, strong, great warrior, defends the weak. There is the Comic Hero, the trickster (Brer Rabbit, Jacob – from the Bible), who takes on the great powers within a community and defeats them by his wits and cunning. We know the Rogue (Lord Goring) who knows the rules, chooses not to operate within them, but manages to affect change by virtue of his disconnection to everything his community values. Finally, we have the Tragic Hero (Hamlet, Thomas More), the man who takes on a culture and loses, but, in losing, changes the hearts of the community around him.
Heroism is relative to any age. A hero reflects a culture’s values (or sometimes even its fears). As we study this week, we will examine the role of Martin Dressler and ask the question “Is he a hero?” Some of the answer will be subjective (it’s really a personal stance). Some of it will be archetyal (as defined by the traditional traits of a hero). And some of it will be outright cultural (does Martin do the best for the greatest number of people, or are his actions motivated by traditionally heroic virtues?)
Whatever the answer, you will see the evolution of a concept right before your eyes. As you see the hero, you will see the values the make him — and, hopefully, you will see yourself.
© Jeff Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org