Heroes And Antiheroes Essay

1227 words - 5 pages

Heroes are often described as physically attractive, strong, intelligent figures with a flair for grand gestures,and an eloquent knack for stringing words together. The fundamental aspects of what defines a hero are conveniently glazed over. People forget that heroes often lead lives of quiet determination. When they have an idea, a goal they want to accomplish, they ignite a spark within themselves that burns into an uncontrollable blaze, which that can only be tamed by success. The fabricated image of a hero has been so deeply rooted into society that the quiet heroes in literature, such as Jefferson from A Lesson Before Dying, are often forgotten, or the misdeeds of cowards such as ...view middle of the document...

” In the inner recesses of his mind, he is determined to die like Christ; quietly without complaints, in order to become a source of optimism for the desperate blacks. In contrast, Victor Frankenstein builds a creature and upon seeing the ghastly fruits of his labor, he runs. At the first sign of difficulty, he leaves. He does not possess Jefferson’s dogged determination to barrel past all barriers, regardless of its magnitude. Victor Frankenstein is too weak willed to ever be considered a hero. The creature’s grotesque appearance has such a negative impact on him, that he abandons the path that he has endlessly travelled on for years in an instant. The ability to fight the internal beast within oneself in order to stay on a turbulent yet noble path is a heroic quality that Jefferson has and Victor lacks, because the former has courage, which is something Victor sorely lacks.
Jefferson is brave, for he over comes his fear of death for the sake of a community he barely knows, but Frankenstein is thoroughly a coward who is only moved to action by the death of his beloved wife. Jefferson has no particular ties to anyone, but he manages to overcome the natural instinct to cling to life as death mercilessly approaches. Unlike Victor, he overcomes this fear with sheer courage, not out of love or rage. This is bravery at its greatest. Even the most cowardly criminals, like Frankenstein can die fearlessly for their most loved ones, but it takes a true hero to lay down their lives for strangers. Furthermore, Frankenstein reveals to Walton on his deathbed that he never told anyone about his creature because he thought that no one would believe him. This is a poor excuse for his cowardice. He could have gone to his professors at his university for help. Surely as men of science and logic, they would be able to see that Frankenstein’s creature was not a scientific impossibility. This makes him a deceptive weakling. He is not endowed with the gift of bravery, and it is difficult to condemn him for that. However, it is within his ability to react to his fear. And he reacts in the worst possible way. He tries to convince himself and others that there is nothing he can do. Jefferson is a hero because he performs the ultimate sacrifice; becoming a martyr for a community that has neglected him and Victor Frankenstein is the worst possible kind of coward, for he refuses to admit his fears and moral responsibilities.
Jefferson eventually accepts the responsibility that lies on his shoulders, which cements his image as a hero, while Victor Frankenstein refuses to fulfil his...

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