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10 Signs You May Be a Mythological Hero
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- Heroes are often of obscure or mysterious origins. They may be the sons of gods or royal parents. Their childhoods may have been unusual; they may have been left to die but rescued, or they may have been raised in poverty. Often, they do not discover their true background until they are older and can prove themselves.
- Heroes are not fools, nor are they invincible. Although heroes are partly divine, they are definitely human in nature. They have fear, they are not immortal & may be injured. Sometimes they have only one weak spot, or may be defeated with only one weapon.
- Heroes are called upon to make a journey or follow a goal or quest. Heroes often undergo dangerous & difficult adventures. They strive to rid a land of a hideous monster, or they rescue someone or something. They follow their quest nobly & refuse to surrender.
- The path is not always direct or clear. The way or path of life is not clear, thus heroes frequently become lost or must take detours or solve riddles.
- The heroes’ ways are filled with dangers, loneliness, & temptation. Cruel kings, horrible monsters, dangerous seas, all these are physical dangers faced by heroes. Far more dangerous can be the feelings of isolation as the hero travels far from home. Heroes are often tempted to give up or give in. Food, drink, rest, & women can all be dangerous temptations.
- Many quest tales supply friends, servants, or disciples (followers) as company. When heroes are given companionship, they are often still alone because the friends & servants do not understand the quest or are motivated by friendship.
- Heroes have guides. Frequently heroes receive help from unexpected sources. They may be given weapons, magical items, or just information.
- Heroes descend into darkness & are not the same upon returning. Usually the final test of heroes is their descent, either physical or emotional, to a hell-like place of suffering or death. This is a kind of rebirth, which leads to enlightenment or maturity.
- What heroes seek is usually a symbol for what they actually find (Wizard of Oz). While the goal is usually tangible (can be touched or measured), the actual reward is usually spiritual. The growth or maturity of the hero is more important than the actual object of the quests.
- With few exceptions, mythological heroes are male. While women may be equally courageous & noble, they are not often seen in the role of a hero. Women provide protection, guidance, & knowledge for the hero.
About this Document
Outline of 10 characteristics of classical/mythological heroes. Designed to help students identify and classify characters.