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:
“Around the hero everything turns into a tragedy, around the demigod, a satyr-play, and around Godwhat? perhaps a world?”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“Typically, the hero of the fairy tale achieves a domestic, microcosmic triumph, and the hero of myth a world-historical, macrocosmic triumph. Whereas the formerthe youngest or despised child who becomes the master of extraordinary powersprevails over his personal oppressors, the latter brings back from his adventure the means for the regeneration of his society as a whole.”
—Joseph Campbell (19041987)
“Tom was a glittering hero once morethe pet of the old, the envy of the young. His name even went into immortal print, for the village paper magnified him. There were some that believed he would be President, yet, if he escaped hanging.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)