Arthur Revisited: Concealed Identities
Everybody's wanted to be somebody else some time or the other in their life. Why do people want to be somebody else? What is it about hiding behind a mask and concealing your identity that is so appealing that it is featured in works of literature from a 15th century medieval story by Sir Thomas Mallory, to a 20th century retelling of the Arthurian legend by T.H. White, to a modern blockbuster film adaptation of the Marvel comic superhero Superman? Whatever it is, it's enough to be used over and over again as a timeless motif that has been and will continue to be interwoven throughout our literature and entertainment, no matter what form or fashion.
As the wise Uncle Ben said, "With great power comes great responsibility" (Spiderman). But maybe the thing about concealed identities is the freedom it allows. The freedom from responsibility of a normal life; the freedom from confinement that some are bound to by birth; the freedom from the monotony of everyday life; these are all things that people can escape from temporarily by hiding themselves, and being somebody else.
In the movie Spiderman, Peter Parker is a nerd who has no friends and can't get a girl. But by being Spiderman, Parker can do amazing things, with or without the superpowers. He has more confidence in himself when he is under that mask. The costume he puts on allows him the freedom from cops, because despite what he is doing is good, it is still considered illegal. He is more comfortable going out every night and saving people because he knows that the cops have no way of putting Peter Parker and Spiderman together. Peter's second identity may also become a sort of safety net for him to fall...