A hero (heroine is always used for females) (Ancient Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. A demigod is the son or daughter from one immortal and one mortal parent, an example would be Heracles, son of the mortal queen Alkema and the god Zeus. Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.
Stories of heroism may serve as moral examples. In classical antiquity, hero cults that venerated deified heroes such as Heracles, Perseus, and Achilles played an important role in Ancient Greek religion. Politicians, ancient and modern, have employed hero worship for their own apotheosis (i.e., cult of personality). Stories of the anti-hero also play a major role in Greek mythology. The anti-hero is someone's qualities are the last expected from a person in certain situations. The favorite type of anti-hero is a characterless individual.
Read more about Hero: Etymology, Classical Hero Cults, The Validity of The Hero in Historical Studies, Heroic Myth, Folk and Fairy Tales, The Modern Fictional Hero, Hero As Self, Psychology of Heroism
Famous quotes containing the word hero:
“Though nature be ever so generous, yet can she not make a hero alone. Fortune must contribute her part too; and till both concur, the work cannot be perfected.”
—François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (16131680)
“What a hero Tom was become now! He did not go skipping and prancing, but moved with a dignified swagger as became a pirate who felt that the public eye was on him.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)
“You cannot be a hero without being a coward.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)