Greek And Modern Heroes

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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Greek and Modern Heroes The people of ancient Greece rely upon mythical heroes as essential in order to help them overcome the corruption in their lives. The hero, who often prevails over evil, usually undergoes great suffering and sometimes, even fails in his quest. Therefore, people realize that if the hero, who most often receives a great gift upon birth, cannot win, then how can they as mortals succeed. While the heroes of today live in an age far more technologically advanced than the heroes of ancient Greece, they each closely resemble the archetypal hero.

Greek heroes demonstrate great courage and strength while often possessing a tragic flaw such as conceit or jealousy. The hero exists as a "man often of divine ancestry" who receives praise for great acts of grit and bravery (the American Heritage College 636). This archetype, or original model, tells of a hero who typically enters upon a great journey or quest, "in search of a person or object of great value" (Holt 1).

The object of value can represent something of a concrete nature such as treasure or a beautiful princess, or it can symbolize an abstraction like the truth or meaning of life. Throughout the quest, the hero encounters physical challenges such as a monster or emotional ones like fear or doubt. These dilemmas create pain and suffering for the hero who must then notice the failure and accept the consequences. In the end, the hero may fail in his quest, but he ordinarily survives and becomes enlightened by the self-knowledge he gains on his travels.

After defeating Troy in the Trojan War, the Greeks, along with Odysseus, the King of the Island of Ithaca, embark for their homes. During the journey, Odysseus, "one of the shrewdest and most sensible men in Greece," gouges...