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The Hero. The Hero Archetype in Literature, Religion, and Popular Culture. Unusual Circumstances of Birth.
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The Hero The Hero Archetype in Literature, Religion, and Popular Culture
Unusual Circumstances of Birth • A hero's birth will always have an unusual aspect to it. Many heroes are born to royalty or are in danger at birth. Either way, they are marked by these circumstances as different and destined for greatness.
Example • Remember the beginning of The Lion King?Simba’s birth is being celebrated. The unusual aspect of his birth is his royal status. His father, Mufasa, is the king of the jungle.
Hero leaves his family or land and lives with others • Sometimes the circumstances are so traumatic that they force the hero to leave, as with Simba in The Lion King, who loses his father violently.
Hero leaves his family or land and lives with others • Simba's father is murdered by Scar... which leaves our little hero helpless and forces him to leave his kingdom. Have no fear, however: heroes always return to their land.
The Adventure Begins • An event takes place that begins an adventure for the hero. Sometimes it is traumatic, or sometimes it is coincidental, like Simba meeting Nala. Either way, the hero begins his adventure.
The Adventure Begins • Simba initially fights with Nala, but they soon realize they are friends. She tells him of Scar's reign, which begins Simba's quest to gain his father's kingdom back from Scar.
Special Weapon of the Hero • You can't be a hero without a cool weapon, right? It's true. In most hero stories, the hero has a special weapon, often one that only he can use. • Unfortunately, Simba doesn’t possess any special weapons.
Supernatural Help • Heroes always seem to receive some sort of supernatural help, whether it be from a god, a wizard, or a spirit.
Supernatural Help • Simba sees his father's spirit and also gets helps from Rafiki, a medicine man-type character. Rafiki is the supernatural force in The Lion King. He influences Simba and provides him with guidance.
Hero Must Prove Himself • A hero just can't claim he's a hero and assume his position, now can he? The hero must prove to himself and others that he is the true hero.
Hero Must Prove Himself • Simba is immature at first and unable to be the hero he will eventually become. However, once Simba realizes Scar must be removed and Simba is the only one who can do it, Simba assumes his proper role as the hero and saves the land from the evil Scar.
The Journey and Unhealable Wound • The hero is always on some type of adventure with a purpose--a quest if you will. He experiences many things on this quest, among which is a descent into a kind of "hell." In this hell, he experiences a low point in his life that leaves him scarred forever with a real or psychological wound that will not heal. The hero learns from this descent into "hell" much about himself and usually matures greatly from the experience.
The Journey and Unhealable Wound • Simba's descent into "hell" is combined with his defeat of Scar and the hyenas. Remember all the flames in the background as he fights Scar? He symbolically goes where none of the other lions could go in order to help his tribe and prove himself. Simba's Unhealable Wound? His past, where his courage failed him and his tribe, will always haunt him.
Atonement with Father • Atonement means to offer payment for a wrongdoing. Very often, heroes must avenge a father or make up for the father's evil.
Atonement with Father • The spirit of Mumfasa, Simba's father, tells Simba to be strong and assume his place on the throne. Simba, who has been reluctant up to this point to return to his kingdom, realizes he has little choice but to avenge his father's murder.
Apotheosis of the Hero • After the hero's journeys are over, the hero is rewarded spiritually in some way. Normally, the hero achieves a life in bliss, often in a place with other heroes.
Apotheosis of the Hero • There is no indication of what happens to Simba but we can infer from the appearance of his father's spirit that immortality awaits him.