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The Best Heroes are Not Always so Heroic

Updated on November 7, 2012

Heroes are usually the protagonists within most forms of media and are also usually always the ones to win at the end of the day. It would make sense for the audience to generally root for these characters, but are they necessarily relatable? The best type of hero isn't one that is this pure force of goodness, but one that has many flaws and still manages to rise up to his or her challenges and excel at them. This makes heroes relatable, which is what I think most writers would like for in these characters, because in many ways they are also the eyes and link between the audience and this fantastical world; we learn what they learn and see what they see.

If the heroes are this link into their world, it would only be appropriate that they are more relatable to the audience members and what hero could really relate to most of the viewers or readers if they are simply good with no flaws? Nearly no one in my opinion. Every single one of us have flaws, but that's what makes us unique and separate from the rest of the crowd. It's not a bad thing to have flaws as we are all human and it allows us to have fun and better deal with situations in our lives.

The same can be said for heroes as their flaws and personal demons is what truly distinguishes them from the other heroes. Heroes are usually born of very tragic origins and roots, which simply cannot go away, even as time passes; after all, it's the motivations of the hero each and every single day to get up and help others so they are reminded of just what losses they suffered every second of their day. Basically my main point here is that heroes all live with their own personnel demons, which were born from their tragic origins, but still become heroes at the end of the long and exhausting journey.

So heroes live off a mountain of anger and hatred, while others have a natural tendency towards violence; the list can be endless for what heroes have to live with. In some ways, these heroes will eventually live lives even more miserable than the origins of the villains they fight as each and every day they surround themselves with death and violence and have to refuse the temptations to become assimilated into that world to combat it. With all that on their shoulders, heroes cannot be perfect and no audience member would really expect them to be nor want them to be.

Rather, we want to see heroes who are like us in many regards; flawed and filled with negative emotions whenever they go through an extremely tragic moment. Why would we want to see this in our favorite heroes? Well, for one thing, it makes them much more relatable as I mentioned before. Many heroes in media have been granted super powers, come from distant planets, or are born into existence in a truly fantastical method that cannot be shared by us ordinary people. However, it's their personality, emotions, and flaws that adds the kernels of realism to these heroes and allows us to have a more personal and relatable relationship with them. We of course cannot relate to being shot off in a rocket from a planet that is about to explode or being bitten by a radioactive spider, but we can relate to anger and hatred and the temptation indulge in such feelings.

This leads into the best aspect about watching heroes who are filled with such tragic roots and negative feelings; they eventually overcome them and become stronger than before. This is such a great theme that I can't even begin to describe it without sounding like a fanboy. The idea that someone who suffered a tragedy and almost allowed themselves to be consumed by anger and hatred became a hero at the end is a very fulfilling one. When we see something like that, even in a fictional setting, we start thinking "Could I be that heroic if something like happened to me" or "I can get through this, because I'm stronger than this."

Where's the fun in watching a hero who is just pure with no inner demons to struggle with? They are boring, un-relatable, and does not make their victories over evil any more extraordinary. Most heroes have a common enemy and please excuse any potential corniness or cheesiness from this statement, but their common enemy is themselves. They all have these tortured thoughts with many almost thinking about just abusing their powers and skills and just massacring their enemies to finally be free of them.They struggle against these feelings every day of their lives, but refuse to give into such temptations and become true heroes.

Seeing a hero go up against all their flaws, inner demons, in addition to their own villains and tragedies, and come out even stronger than before is very indicative of many heroes in our own reality. Many great heroes in our history and society suffered horrible circumstances in their livers, but rather than become broken from it, they use those tragedies to motivate themselves to become something much greater and help the world out. It can happen and does very often; this is why is's so compelling to see it happen to relatable heroes. It's because it's not all that far fetched at all to become a hero even with inner demons, flaws, and tragic backgrounds.

It sends this great message that even though you are filled with anger, hatred, and jealousy, you can still become a hero. Many heroes are not saints and that is why we love them; they are still symbols of justice, but also symbols of humanity because they embark on the same challenges we go through each and every day in an emotional and mental setting.

Of course, some heroes' origins are more relatable than others and some are much more contained in their inner demons, but they all still have those kernels of realism in their moments of suffering, loss, and temptation to do great or horrible things. They all made a choice, as do we all in our lives, to become good rather than evil even if they could easily use their powers for their now, personnel gain and dominate the lives of other lesser, weaker individuals. Many were grtanted powers and luxuries in their lives, but rather than use them to upgrade their tragic lives, they use them to protect others and make sure their lives are never as tragic as their own.

Heroes are great characters in their mediums because they are two parts required to have a battle of conflict with the other side being the villains serving as the conflict itself. What makes them have such strong staying power however is that they are never always so heroic and nowhere near saints. They have their moments of temptations and plenty of negative engery built up inside them, making them all the more relatable to each and very single one of else. Their triumphs over such feelings and releasing it as positive energy to become true heroes and make the world a better place is an extremely compelling one that gives us all hope, something we all need from time to time.

Think of your favorite hero in all of media and why exactly you do. Most likely one of the reasons why you love them so much is because they contain aspects or factors that make them relatable to you and makes their victories over their own temptations and villains that much more satisfying. Heroes give us all hope in a world that is so desperate of it from time to time, even in a fictional setting, but when they are not always so heroic, that's makes them relatable and makes the idea plausible that it could be any one of us one day if we just focus our energy towards doing good even after suffering a tragedy.


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    • thejokethatkills profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed the article and really appreciate you taking the time to read it.

    • Geekdom profile image


      5 years ago

      I love the thought put into this and especially loved the line "overcome them and become stronger than before" It is the challenges they just overcome that make a stronger character, not just he powers they have.

    • hollytee profile image


      6 years ago

      I only skimmed, but I agree. I connect mostly with characters who have demons, because we all do. It's relieving to see a hero who grows up in conditions that could easily make them a villain, but they push past all the negative emotions and rise to be someone who should be admired.


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