What has happened to the heroes in today’s literature and movies? Why are being bombarded by antiheroes?
Literature and art have always have a profound effect on our society and literature and art used to have high standards — standards that held them to producing beauty and goodness. Sadly, as I see our society turning from true goodness and beauty, now much of our literature and art is following the example of society instead of trying to uphold their higher standard.
According to Merriam-Webster, a hero is: 1a) a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability; 1b) an illustrious warrior; 1c) a person admired for achievements and noble qualities; and 1d) one who shows great courage.
According to Merriam-Webster, heroic means: 1) of or relating to courageous people or the mythological or legendary figures of antiquity; 2a) exhibiting or marked by courage and daring; 2b) supremely noble or self-sacrificing; 3a) of impressive size, power, extent, or effect; and 3b) of great intensity : extreme.
In days of old, our heroes had clear heroic qualities and that is what made women swoon over them or fall in love with them. I believe it is safe to say that still today, most young ladies and women hope to find their “knight in shining armor”; their “hero”; a man who will treat them with care and respect, who will protect them.
Some examples of historical heroes are: George Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., Alexander the Great, Geronimo, and Spartacus. A recent real-life hero is William Kyle Carpenter.
Then there are Greek Mythological Heroes such as: Achilles, Hercules, Jason of the Argonauts, Odysseus, Perseus, and Prometheus.
There are literary heroes like: Beowulf, Frodo Baggins, Robin Hood, Percy Jackson, and Thor.
Movie and Television heroes include: Zorro, The Lone Ranger, Cordell Walker of the Texa Rangers, Knight Rider, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Ben Hur, Rocky Balboa, and Aragorn.
My list is far from exhaustive, but these characters were strong and yet sensitive and they were willing to risk their lives for others.
Now here is Merriam-Webster’s definition of an antihero: a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities.
I think we need to bring the true heroes back to our literature, television and movies. We need to see more characters showing goodness, caring, and self-sacrifice.
I am pickier than I have ever been about what I read and what I watch because there is enough bad news on the news everyday — stuff that’s going on in the real world. I want to have my entertainment saturated with goodness. I also hope that society at large feels the current void of true heroes and seeks for more truly good things to saturate their minds with.
Last month the box office results showed that, apparently, I’m not the only one craving more goodness in my entertainment, when “I Can Only Imagine” grossed 17 million dollars its opening weekend and continued to do well for at least two weeks after that to the shock and surprise of Hollywood.
I encourage you to look for true heroes in your literature and television and movies. The true heroes weren’t and aren’t perfect. They had weaknesses and flaws, but their strengths always showed through.