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I should start by saying that the word ‘hero’ means an archetype of someone we should want to be like. Yet at the same time the heroes also have their personal flaws that we should not strive for. The traditional Greek hero usually follows his fate, behaves in a simple way and just does his/her job. The modern day heroes in the USA are indeed different from their Greek counterparts. The US modern day heroes are the ones who manage to change their fate, while at the same time having a very difficult and challenging life. The Greek heroes are traditionally physically fit and cunning. The hero struggles to overcome the difficulties for the well-being of others. The Greek heroes are seen as usually the ones who have this so called ‘golden mean’ in their attitude and everything. They are not ambitious, foolish, proud or stubborn. The modern day heroes, on the other hand are seen as very ambitious, stubborn and determined to overcome his current condition, something that a Greek hero accepts. The Oedipus king, who was a hero, would be sentenced to death once he tried to outwit his fate.
The modern day heroes, appear to be similar to God in their power, because they can and do change their fate. The Greek heroes try to overcome their destiny with wits, intelligence, and loyal service, while the modern day heroes manage to overcome their fate with force and determination. The modern day heroes, would be considered barbarians for Greeks because of their desire to achieve their goal at all casts and by all means. It is no wonder why the US troops who fight around the world are considered to be heroes, as well as the super rich businessmen who managed to show the world that they can accumulate the inflated sums of money. The similarity between the Greek and Modern day heroes is that most of them come from “zero to hero”, i.e become heroes over a period of some actions. The greek heroes are seen as merely the ‘executives’ of the orders of some other people, while the modern day heroes are usually the one’s who are able to master their lives fully. For instance, Hercules, and Jason although have some autonomy in their actions are not truly able to chose what they can do. Although formally, Hercules could refuse to fight all those beasts, he obeys the king and as a result kills them all. Jason, although a captain on his ship, was not able to take his wife Penelope along for the trip that lasted many years.
The Greek heroes, I should also note, think about the issues of good and evil and behave accordingly to the ethical standards of their time. That’s why we oftentimes question the rationality of some of their actions that oftentimes put them at a disadvantage before their enemies. The modern day heroes, on the other hand, are content with what is going on and thus do not hesitate to act before assessing the ethics, thus following the ‘do it now, apologize later’ motto. Such attribute of the modern day heroes, actually makes the perfect examples of the enemies that the Greek heroes are to fight. All of the Greek villains are pictures as very immoral, backstabbers who want to get their way by all means, yet are apprehended by their opposites-the Greek heroes. The modern day heroes, on the other hand can be backstabbers as long as they kill the enemies and fight the evil.
If the Greek heroes could come to the modern world, they would hardly survive here. Even Hercules with all his power and wits would certainly find it impossible to make any exploits if he were to act ethically. Even the US soldiers we call heroes are not ethical. Their military superiority and sophisticated weapons that allows them kill the enemy that is equipped with antediluvian rifles-is a sort of cunning trick that everyone considers ok, as long as these soldiers kill the enemies. Hercules would fight on par with his enemy to make it fair and would probably not last long in this unfair world.
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