Heroes by today’s standards can be many things, such as firefighters, teachers, or cops. This wasn’t always what the word hero was once intended to mean. What a hero is in present day is surprisingly different than what a hero once was. In ancient times one was only called a hero if they were the strongest, bravest, smartest and the most warlike. During the course of time, the definition of what a genuine hero is has changed and the role and form of a hero has been altered, but yet some things remain the same between the two known meanings of the word.
Although there has been drastic changes to the meaning of a hero, deep down some qualities remain unaffected. Heroes of yesteryears and heroes of today still manifest, while not in the same physical forms but the same spiritual forms. Beowulf, Hercules, Achilles, and other “heroes” of past ages all have the same motives, drives, and characteristics. A great example of how a hero acted in ancient times is in the story Beowulf. In the story Beowulf hears that a friend of his fathers is in need of help, so he bravely went to his aide, it took his courage to help out the way he did. He fought Grendle with his godlike strength and after a great battle, prevailed.
Being brave, strong, alert, determined, honest, bold, are all the things that made them heroes. Today, if you look at the men and women that are known for being heroes you will see a great similarity in their bravery, courage, and intelligence. In these ways they are greatly the same.
The image of a hero that ancient stories and books told were slightly different than the heroes in our modern tales. An example of an ancient hero’s behavior that is not inhabited by modern heroes is again in Beowulf.
In the story, Beowulf goes into Herot Hall, sits down and begins to boast and brag about his previous battles, as if to say he is better than everyone else. Another example is later on in the story when Beowulf kills Grendel and hangs his bloody arm over the Hall for everyone to see. Seeing how they had perfect physiques and were loud, cocky, and selfish, those things are not needed by today’s heroes and some of these more barbaric qualities are even discouraged by today’s society. In current time heroes needn’t be physically strong, nor have muscles and if they are cocky and brag and claim to be better than everyone else, they will be looked down upon.
A hero in the public eye differs from my personal definition of a hero. I along with many others have a personal hero. My hero is my father, now I really doubt that anyone else would choose him as his or her hero, but I do. He does have a few qualities of a hero such as being strong, brave, and courageous, but the reasons I believe him to be a hero are different. He isn’t like any other person, when I talk to him about problems and ask him questions he listens and actually helps me out and gives me answers and solutions that are acceptable to me, he helps understand answers instead of just giving me right ones. He tries to be a perfect father, which is an unattainable goal but I value his efforts and respect him for trying.