Nature Of A Hero Essay, Research Paper
Nature of a Hero What is a hero? Is a hero measured by his deeds? By his personality? Is there really a standard for a hero? In the Odyssey, Odysseus is supposed to be a hero. But why? Perhaps because he survived a long journey? Maybe it is because he had many strange adventures? Or perhaps it is because he committed extraordinarily brave acts. The point is, the basic acceptance of Odysseus as a hero is never questioned and the reason why he is a hero is seldom thought about. The benchmarks for a hero must be set. I am not a hero. This sounds really really obvious, but is it really? I have not even met many heroes. To be truthful I can think of at most five people I have known or met who I could think of as heroes. Four of them were policemen who visited my elementary school or who I met as a part of an extracurricular program. If you think about the police as some sort of abstract force just out there, represented by the few you hear about in the news, you are likely to think of them as some group of heroes saving lives and performing heroic acts of bravery, everyday. However, I found that if you just focus on this one average cop you meet, as an individual, the standard changes. He is no longer a special hero, but just a regular guy who is just doing his job, not much different from a businessman except in the potential- danger his job involves. Just as the benchmarks for the police can change, so can the benchmarks for a supposed hero like Odysseus. The general impression people have of Odysseus at first is the thought that he is a hero, because of his great fighting skills in the Trojan War, and well, because he is the star/hero of the book. But if you actually analyze Odysseus, just looking at who he is, and the basics of what he is doing, the standard changes again. If you never heard of Odysseus and just learn of his situation, I think, you would find that he is not a superhero, but a strong fighter in an extraordinary situation. He is not the hero of the Iliad, but a man trying to get home to see his wife, like any man would want to, except he s been kept away by the gods for 20 long years, and only an occasional flash of cunning keeps him alive. Is that really so heroic?
And yet, Odysseus is a hero even if he is just doing his job . The other person who could be considered a hero who I have met or known was a supervisor in my elementary school, PS 139. Every summer, there seemed to be more and more bees flying around in the playground. Finally, one summer, the source of the bees was somehow traced to the roof of the school, where there was supposedly a beehive. So, an exterminator was called in and, accompanied with that supervisor and a janitor, went to the roof to destroy the beehive. Little did they know that they would find a huge beehive that was 4 feet high, in the frame of a boarded up window. The exterminator and janitor were of course somewhat shocked, but the supervisor did his job and basically took control of the situation. The bees in the hive were killed, and the hive itself was preserved and put in a glass case which was put on display in the school. This small happening even got the school on NBC news for a 3 minute clip. The supervisor was only doing his job, but he was applauded for a job well done and was appointed honorary principal for a day. This showed me that while a job is a job, how you do the job is very important. My experience with the beehive at my elementary school can also be applied to Odysseus ambiguous hero status. While Odysseus is merely a fighter, stranded more or less at sea, always trying to get home to see his wife like any other man would in his situation, but Odysseus is a wily survivor-. Other men may have tried to find a way home to their wives and children the same as Odysseus, but how would they have fared? Odysseus survived, and triumphantly reclaimed his home and his possessions in the end. All through so many dangerous adventures that could have easily killed him. This by itself is enough to gain for Odysseus the status of hero. Well I feel I have now resolved (to my satisfaction anyway) an important issue that is not nearly discussed often, that is, why is Odysseus a hero. I for one, am really surprised that experiences in my life could be so easily adapted for this purpose of examining the nature of a hero.