Every person hears the word “hero” many times in one’s life. People usually call “hero” a war veteran that fought in the war for the independence of a nation. Also, the word “hero” is often prescribed to policemen who save civilians from dangerous criminals. At the same time, a person may call “hero” an ordinary person who helps one in the time of need. Needless to say, when one hears the word hero, her or she will automatically associate it with a sense of respect. However, the questions are: What is the line between a true hero and “hero” in a figurative meaning? What is the definition of a hero? How can a person be a hero? And do heroes exist in real life?
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In the most general sense, a hero is a person who is ready to sacrifice personal interests and wants to reform the world. He or she will never think about oneself but, contrary to it, will always prioritize the needs of others. In many aspects, heroes are just ordinary people. The only one thing that differentiates them is their goal in life. Most people have a purpose of buying a car, earn more money than others, have a cottage near the sea, or become a celebrity with millions of followers on popular social media. However, heroes have only one main goal in their lives–to exist for the sake of others. Heroes never do something for their goodness. Only through the eyes of heroes may be seen the essence of human existence the problems of the contemporary society, sufferings of all kinds, worldwide diseases and ecological issues. A good hero will not only sympathize a problem but will do one’s best to ease one’s pain and improve the situation.
Many people used to think that the term “antihero” is an antonym of “hero.” Nevertheless, in some aspects, an antihero is more a kind of hero who also possesses bravery and wants to reform the world. This term may be used for a person who has some problems with the law or is immoral from the viewpoint of society. Nevertheless, antihero’s intentions are often honest and he or she also sincerely tries to solve a particular problem.
The term that may be considered an opposite word to “hero” is “idol.” All idols want nothing else in this life but to get worldwide recognition, respect, and love. Idol is a person who attracts masses and subconsciously wants to become superior others. Therefore, “idol” is usually used in context with the word “hero” to add contrast.
Types of heroes
In general terms, all heroes may be divided into two broad categories–real-life heroes and literary heroes. As far as real-life heroes are concerned, to this category belong those soldiers, policemen, firemen, social activists, and the representatives of other professions and segments of society who demonstrate their courage and risk their lives just to save the life of others, even if a person is unknown to them. All of them are ordinary people with a different purpose in life aimed at saving humanity.
As far as literary heroes are concerned, this group includes the popular characters from books, myths, popular movies, and other sources. They usually become role models for people. It happens their life stories are taken from real-life examples. Nevertheless, in most cases, they are imaginative characters, and the most characteristics of a tragic hero represent idealized representation of human traits. Although, there are such sub types as a tragic hero and an epic hero.
Qualities of heroes
- Self-sacrifice. First of all, the notion of heroism is directly connected with the idea of self-sacrifice. Sacrifice means the willingness to give up something valuable, maybe even one’s life, for the sake of ideas or the happiness of others. In ancient times, people sacrificed even human lives recognizing their duty to the world of the spirits, gods or nature. All great heroes, such as Martin Luther King or Gandhi, sacrificed their lives for their beliefs.
- The strength of spirit. True heroes also possess great strength of spirit. At the heart of each heroic story is the death resistance, even if the hero does not face the risk of dying. There must still be a threat, at least a symbolic death. He or she enters a dangerous game and teaches everyone how to resist death. In most cases, heroes stay alive and defeat the death. However, even dying, they do it for the sake of a just cause, a noble ideal or the happiness of humans. One of the heroes who had a great spirit was Dangerfield. In fact, no matter what challenges he faced, Dangerfield persevered his identity through them all.
- Also, intelligence and mindfulness are other important traits of heroes. He or she not only overcomes difficulties and achieves goals but also gets endlessly new knowledge and becomes wiser. He or she becomes a mentor to other people, showing them the right solution to a situation.
- Every hero is also a very responsible person. In the moment of greatest danger, he or she should not only demonstrate bravery but also always hold one’s destiny in one’s own hands. Every hero should perform decisive actions that imply the need to take risks and responsibility. Besides, when one makes a particular mistake, he or she will never blame others for this.
- The willingness to take a risk. Also, the willingness to take a risk belongs to characteristics of a hero. True heroism may be seen when a person risks to face not only defeat or loss, but also the death. Like soldiers who volunteer to fight for a cause, agreeing to die far away from their homeland.
How to become a true hero?
If a person thinks whether he or she can be a hero, there exists an opinion that it is merely impossible to become a hero. In fact, true heroes are born with innate features such as unselfishness, courage, and a strong spirit. Millions of people experience the feeling of fear when they are confronted with danger. At this point, their body produces a large amount of stress hormone. However, some people who may be called potential heroes, have a different reaction to danger. They are not familiar with the feeling of fear and, at the moment of danger, they stay calm. Therefore, only those people who possess the features mentioned above from the very childhood can be a hero.