Once again I have been inspired by the reflections of my Twitter friend Curt. He is often found reflecting his thoughts and they really make me think about the reality of situations even when he muses over fictional ideas.
In this particular case, he reflects on what it is to be a ‘hero’ and why people relate so much to fictional heroes. I find myself thinking of all the children and adults that I have worked with over the years whom I see as heroes due to struggling with mental or physical issues but seem so happy with life and carefree. They do not see their issues as a struggle although they are often unable to cope with everyday life without a lot of support from others.
We often think of fictional heroes as Batman, Spiderman etc when in fact every piece of fictional writing has a hero, whether it be Captain Nemo, Jack Sparrow, Romeo or Mr Darcey, hey! Even Tin Tin (Hmmm, why are the heroes nearly always male? I will save that thought for another time!). So back to Curt’s original question, why do we relate so much to heroes? What defines them as heroes?
An online dictionary states:
- A person, typically a man, who is admired for courage or noble qualities.
- The chief male character in a book, play, or movie that is typically identified with good qualities.
(A rant about the sexist requirements of a hero may indeed ensue at some point in time!).
Do you only require good qualities to be seen as a hero? Therefore bad qualities must define them as villains. Why do we relate to good qualities? Is it that we wish we were that wholesome and good natured, do we see aspects of these heroes that we would like to perceive within ourselves or is it just fun and enjoyable to see the good overcome the bad?
‘A great hero has to make a choice. Their imperfections must exist because we need to see that they have all of the potential in the world to use their powers for evil. They are tempted and must overcome their imperfections for the greater good. The villain could be a hero if only he’d be selfless, whilst the hero could be the villain in a moment of weakness or anger. I am fascinated by that ambiguity.’ – Curt Mega
The ambiguity is certainly fascinating Mr Mega. Which leads us straight back to the beginning, of questioning why we find it so fascinating, why we relate to the heroes? Although I am sure some people relate to the villain, which in turn also makes them so popular.
If as Curt suggests that we need to see the hero’s potential to be evil, then why do we have real life heroes? Surely we do not expect them to do evil activities? We only tend to see the good that they do whether it is within a sporting career, an acting career or a child debilitated by a crippling, lifelong illness and still making their way forcefully through the world and grabbing every opportunity available to them rather than giving in. I think in reality we see heroes as strong willed, courageous and possessing a certain strength of character that leaves us in awe, not necessarily waiting for them to do something bad or wrong.
As always, leave your comments at the bottom, I am interested in your thoughts.