Monday, October 10, 2011

Heroes vs. Antiheroes

Since I'm knee-deep in learning about heroes in World Lit, I decided to Google up some qualities of a hero, and, because, while I've heard about anti-heroes, and I've learned quite a bit about them, I decided to research them a little more too.

So, without further ado, here's what I found.

  1. Heroes tend to be idealistic.  They want the absolute best of a situation.
  2. Anti-heroes are realistic.  They want whatever they can get.

  1. Heroes are conventional with a strict moral code.  They never waver.
  2. Anti-heroes' morals are a bit quirky.  This was the BIGGIE when I first learned about anti-heroes.  Their moral compass didn't always (if ever) point north.

  1. Heroes are out-of-this-world extraordinary.
  2. Antiheroes are your average Joe.

  1. Heroes are pro-active.
  2. Anti-heroes may be a bit passive.

  1. Heroes are decision-makers.
  2. Antiheroes may get pushed into something against their will.  They go with the flow.

  1. Heroes are motivated by higher callings such as virtue and honor.
  2. Antiheroes are motivated by lower things such as greed and lust.

  1. Heroes are refined.  They are the pinnacle of a good guy.
  2. Antiheroes are rough around the edges.  They curse and drink and dally.

So, basically:
Hero:  Knight in shining armor
Antihero:  Lovable rogue

Heroes are, well, heroes.  They're the ones we cheer for because they deserve it.  They are good and honest and everything we know we should be like.  People respect Beowulf because he deserves it.  We cheer him on and want him to succeed.  He's the hero.  He appeals to what we can only aspire to be. If everyone could be that great, we wouldn't need heroes like this.

But we love antiheroes.  They're human, just like us.   They're flawed and selfish and usually horrible people.  People love Jack Sparrow because he's a kick-butt scoundrel.  This man doesn't have a scrap of honor, but he is adored and idolized by people everywhere.  He appeals to our human side.  This would be more our speed when we play heroes in everyday life, I think.

That's interesting.  One gets our respect, the other gets our love.

Going through this list, I'm trying to figure out what my protagonists would be considered.  Obviously, the lines are going to get blurry after a while.

I think the conclusion would be, "It depends."

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