The Greek Hero Defined Essay

985 words - 4 pages

Humans have the innate need to feel as if something greater than their species exists in the world, thus they created a need for heroes. Heroes of the modern age tend to be reserved, isolated people that have suffered some sort of tragedy in their pasts. While blinded by those tragedies, modern heroes, such as Batman, overcome those emotional hurdles, and rise victorious in an otherworldly, godly nature. While modern heroes tend to be fictional and give people hope of an all-powerful protector, Greek heroes were more approachable and realistic as they relied heavily on the gods. By using the archetypal hero cycle, the Greek hero is defined as a mortal of royal descent who embraces the nature ...view middle of the document...

According to Campbell, this call to action is when the hero “is told to go on a quest by a god or ‘force’” (Handout). This introduction of the hero to his quest is the first phase of a multistep process into becoming worthy of a greater power, and to bring himself fame. This call represents a Greek hero’s need to satisfy the gods and to prove that he is worthy of his godly inheritance. Perseus’ call to action was when the island king ordered him to kill the gorgon Medusa. As stated by D’Aulaire and D’Aulaire in their book D’Aulaire’s Book Of Greek Myths, “No man who had ever set out to kill Medusa had come back” (116). Spoken by the evil king, these words initiated Perseus’ journey to kill the gorgon and earned him the Gods’ honor through his trust and faith. Perseus accepts his fate and heads into the unknown without complaint. As he wanders aimlessly around, not knowing where to turn next, Perseus heads into the second stage of the hero cycle.
Following the hero’s departure or newfound awareness of his task, the hero may reach a point where his current life feels inadequate or he feels uncertainty about his quest. This fear driven uncertainty is rightfully named refusal of the call. According to Campbell, the hero “becomes a victim to be saved” (59). This step of the cycle renders the hero defenseless and uncomfortable, as he is lost either on his quest or by his pessimistic emotions. As in Perseus’ case, the three gorgon sisters “lived on an island far out at sea, but nobody knew just where” (D’Aulaire and D’Aulaire 116). Perseus not knowing where the gorgons lived would lead him to develop negative feelings towards his quest. With no location or way to reach the gorgons, Perseus would be unable to complete his quest. What D’Aulaire would...

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