A Hero as a Literary Device

Updated October 17, 2020

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A Hero as a Literary Device essay

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A hero, as a literary device, a hero can be defined as the principal character of a literary work. The term hero has been applied, not only in the classical sense, but also in modern literature, as the principal character of a story, play or novel. In most myths and epics, heroes are often deemed to have semidivine origin, unusual beauty, and extraordinary precocity. Campbell (1992) wrote that the Hero is the protagonist, or central character, whose primary purpose is to separate from the ordinary world and sacrifice himself for the service of the Journey at hand-to answer the challenge, complete the quest and restore the Ordinary World’s balance. The Hero’s Journey may be a challenge of personal growth: to win a competition, to heal a wound, or to find love.

Heroes may also need to answer Calls to Adventure where physical lives and even the fate of the world are at stake. These Heroes must learn to accept the sacrifice of life and limb for the service of others. According to Rodinhizer (2019), ancient or epic heroes did their heroic acts for personal glory, to win everlasting honor, weren’t generally altruistic, but mostly self-serving, and were usually on a quest for something of personal benefit. Most epic heroes are from noble birth, capable of deeds of great strength and courage, great warriors, they travel vast settings, they possess national heroism, has humility, Faces and receives supernatural Foes and/or Supernatural help.

But in modern times, a hero could simply mean a savior or a person that made and act in service of someone else. Carlyle (1992) set up criteria for what makes a hero or a heroic action: He says a hero must conquer fear, otherwise he is acting as but a “slave and coward”. Further, he must be earnest and sincere and have a vision that penetrates beyond what the average eye might see. Finally, he must be an inspiration to others, someone who can “light the way”. Campbell further states that the heroes’ begin life as normal people, but through some extraordinary gift, they are able to begin on and succeed at the journey upon which they will prove their heroism. Carlyle and Campbell both stress that human beings need heroes—that our response to them satisfies a basic human impulse. The definition of a hero has evolved throughout time that it doesn’t necessarily mean someone or royal blood and superhuman powers.

A Hero as a Literary Device essay

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A Hero as a Literary Device. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/a-hero-as-a-literary-device/


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