March 4, 2013
AP English IV
The Modern Hero
Just as everything else, society’s idea of the “model champion” endures transformations. For example, Aristotle’s opinions seem obsolete and tiresome by today’s standards. Repeated concepts and plots bore audiences and cause them to lose interest.
However, one thing remains constant; everybody loves a great hero. In the everchanging realm of entertainment, the criteria for this hero evolves to suit the wants of the people.
Today’s population possesses a fairly simpleminded taste when it comes to entertainment. They easily fall victim to a feel good story of the struggling man who makes it to the top. In almost every case these characters work hard but have not been dealt the best hand, but with a glimmer of opportunity could make the most of it. Outstanding moral character and charisma often distinguish the hero, and these traits force the audience to fall in love almost instantly. Once the reader sides with the hero, the difficult times portrayed prove more easily relatable. This relationship gives the audience hope for reallife situations as the story progresses.
When the modest backstory has been set, a journey to success or happiness unfolds. Usually a victim of one’s own environment, a hero faces obstacles to escape an unfortunate situation. Possessing unwavering determination, the march to achieve happiness or reach a goal begins. Since the audience is on the character’s side,
Elliot Jones 2
excitement builds from watching the rise of the hero and the tearing down of obstacles in the path to success. A sense arouses that nothing can go wrong, that the march to success is all but finished but everyone knows this cannot be the case.
Just at the height of the hero’s momentum and the audience’s pleasure, reality strikes. An unexpected predicament occurs, which stops the progress being made until this point. This often devastating event leaves the audience shocked and deeply saddened. At this time the audience sympathises with the character and feels strong emotion toward the situation. For the first time in the story, pressure to perform or do the right thing presents itself to the hero, because now there is something to lose. Will the situation overpower the mental strength of our hero, or will their proven capability allow the challenge to be met head on and overcome? According to the previous mention of what a modern audience likes to see, one could predict the answer.
As tension mounts, the pressure of the situation would crush the will of the normal man, but that