... I need a hero, I'm holding out for a hero 'Til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong, And he's gotta be fresh from a fightSomewhere after midnight, In my wildest fantasyIts gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feetUp where the mountains meet the heavens above. Out where the lightning splits the sea Through the wind and the chill and the rain. And the storm and the flood, I can feel his approach(Steinman)." This concept of a hero comes to us from the fairy tales, comic strips, and movies that we have read and seen. The same acceptance occurred at its revival sung by Jennifer Saunders in the Animation Shrek that awakened this new generation to the "Hero"(Hero).
A hero is described as good, ethereal and powerful like a God. He is strong and decides issues with the use of brute strength like Hercules. He has killed many and has survived battles. He will come and overcome all obstacles in the heavens and the seas. This is the Hero that is like Superman, who exists only in one's "wildest fantasy." This is the type of hero depicted in Greco-Roman Mythology. Jahnige and McMullen confirms the reason why they are myths is the fact that: "they had the gods to intervene for or against them; and in general they never existed as real people."(Jahnige 2)
Added to this list of characteristics is that: "he must be of royal birth or be of half-god and half man lineage; he is of noble character which is close to perfectly ideal but for a fatal flaw; he fights for his honor; and his death must occur in an unusual way "(Norman 2).
Are the character analysis of the Hero by Steinman and Pitchford, Jahnige and McMullen and Norman true To prove the veracity of their claims, these will be examined in the lives of Heracles of the Homeric Hymn and the Theogony; Odysseus Laertiades of the Odyssey and the Theogony; and, finally, Perseus.
To sum up, a hero must be of royal birth, noble, strong, with a fatal flaw, fights for his honor, has done extraordinary feats, the presence or intervention of the god/s in his life, and he dies in an unusual way.
Heracles is part human and part God. He is the son of Zeus (Theogony). Zeus came to Alcmene in the form of Amphitryon, the man she is to marry. He is therefore royalty. He is noble having wrestled the God of Death for the life of Alcestis the wife of his host. Euripides gives an account of Heracles statement: 'For I must save the woman newly dead, And set Alcestis in the house again, And render to Admetus good for good. I go. The sable-vestured King of Corpses, Death, will I watch for, and shall find, I trow, And if I lie in wait and dart from ambush. And seize, and with mine arm's coil compass him And make demand, I doubt not I shall lead Alcetis up, and give to mine host's hands . Who to his halls received, nor drove me thence." (Euripides: Alcestis) . he god intervention element is in the form of Hera. All through-out his life, even before his death Hera has made plans to end his life. Even his fatal flaw being easily angered was used by Hera to make him mad which led him to kill his wife and children. To redeem his honor he dutifully fulfills the twelve assigned tasks. His strength in character and physical built enabled him to finish the herculean task known as the Twelve Labours of Heracles. One of which is the killing of the water snake, Lernaean Hydra (Ilaid 323). Heracles did not die tragically, but he knew that he was about to die and he ordered the