March 10, 2014
The Making of a Hero
“A hero, a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability,” (“Merriam-Webster”). There are two types of heroes, epic heroes and modern heroes. Odysseus and Mahatma Gandhi are both heroes who show courage, perseverance, and leadership, but differ in adventure. However, one thing is certain, modern heroes can be identical to epic heroes if they are larger than life, express the morals of their culture, embark on a perilous journey, and possess super-human, prominent characteristics.
Epic heroes are always larger than life; however, modern day heroes can achieve amazing feats too. Odysseus, an epic hero, and Gandhi, a hero, both demonstrated courage. For example, Odysseus kills the Cyclops while the giant is asleep, even though the monster ate two men minutes before
Some think Odysseus shows his courage throughout the epic because he is proud, and does not want to leave any job unfinished. Gandhi, a hero, achieved courage for his country using only nonviolent protest. This is shown by the “Salt March”, in which he embarked on a two hundred forty mile march, protesting about the British salt tax, which made it illegal to sell or produce salt, allowing a complete British monopoly.
Another characteristic that is portrayed in both heroes is perseverance. In the Odyssey, perseverance is very apparent throughout the travels of Odysseus and his crew. King Alcinous recognizes Odysseus’s perseverance by saying, “I know you won’t be driven off your course, nothing can hold you back” (Homer, 662). Odysseus finally reaches Ithaca after a long excursion through many obstacles. Gandhi portrays perseverance because he tells his people to fight non-violently during Satyagraha and to keep on trying. Gandhi had many riots to prove his point that all people are equal. Satyagraha translates roughly as "Truth-force." A fuller rendering, though, would be "the force that is generated through adherence to Truth."
Lastly, a characteristic that is shown in both heroes is leadership. Odysseus says to the crew, “Heads up,