Posted: July 26th, 2022
Before this discussion review/view “Heroic Archetypes,” “Assorted Heroes,” “The Hero’s Journey-Joseph Campbell,” “Inside Joseph Campbell-Ep 3… and “Heroes and Villains” from Myth and Monsters
“Scholarly/Secondary Sources-Before this discussion, prepare by reading “Gods and Heroes” from the book Classic Mythology: A Very Short Introduction by Helen Morales and “The Hero and the God” from the book The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
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Jun 26, 2022 at 9:24 AM
For this response, I want to focus on some of the different types of heroes and how they relate. The classic hero such as Beowulf, Conan the Barbarian, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer focuses on brawn. This type of hero is typically strong, brave, and follows the heroic code., which is not the same as our moral code/laws that we live by today. The heroic code or warrior code existed before Catholicism, which informs our moral obligations. At times, the heroic code seems to conflict with what we perceive as moral today. For example, the hero’s reputation is all he had and his battle legacy was his afterlife.. Though, Catholicism was on the rise, there was no clear afterlife as in how we view it today. By the way, I am purposefully using the pronoun, he and him, because the traditional classic hero was male. Sorry ladies. Unfortunately, women’s roles in these myths were to be married off or make babies. Modern interpretations such as Buffy, skew the conventional aspects a bit. However, Grendel’s Mother could be argued as a classic hero, too.
Reputations are based on victorious battles, and the best way to spread your reputation is to boast. We are taught that bragging is not becoming; however, it was an intrinsic necessity for the classic hero. Revenge was also important. It was expected that the classic hero seek revenge or vengeance for his king…loyalty was to the king. In return, A “good” king paid the hero….and so on.
The chivalric hero is your knight…King Arthur, Sir Gawain, A Knight’s Tale, etc. Two major changes happen from classic to knight. One, the knight is not only loyal to their king but to God. Love is also introduced. The knight is loyal to his love. Though the knight still focuses on brawn, now there is others beyond himself.
The Renaissance hero uses his or her (new pronoun lol) brain. Strength is no longer that important. Intelligence is the key. But thinking can also cause issues, The Renaissance hero constantly debates existence, life, god, and so on. An example would be Hamlet and Sherlock Holmes.
I’m skipping tragic and anti hero and going straight to Byronic hero. The writer, Lord Byron invented the byronic hero. Basically, the byronic hero is a renaissance hero with a tragic flaw(s). Of course, there are many other aspects, but that is the basic idea. Lord Byron had a club foot, so his heroes had flaws, physical and internal. The byronic hero is one of the most prominent heroes today. Batman, vampires, and any dark, brooding main character is a byronic hero. The heroes we have today are typically a combination of several hero.
The point of classifying the hero is to understand the hero’s objectives, opportunities and limits…to understand the hero’s journey and, ultimately, to understand our own limits and opportunities in our own journey. Joseph Campbell suggests, “If one or another of the basic elements of the archetypal pattern is omitted from a given fairy tale, legend, ritual, or myth, it is bound to be somehow or other implied–and the omission itself can speak volumes for the history and pathology of the example…” (30).
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With A Thousand Faces, New World Library, 2008.
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