Everyone has fantasies of being a super hero and leaping tall buildings in a single bound or staring death in the face everyday and somehow finding a way to escape. All of these imaginative thoughts have been derived from the past literary works by the great writer’s of the early American literary period. These early writer’s entered society into a world of action and adventure, where one can see spectacular events unfolding through the eyes of a notorious man of courage and feel as though they are defending their country or saving the woman they love. This is just how Nathaniel felt in the movie The Last of the Mohicans (released to movie theatres in 1992 and directed by Michael Mann).
The movie takes place in the year 1757 during the third year of the colonial wars between England and France. The movie’s main character is about a white man named Nathaniel. Nathaniel is considered to be an American Romantic hero. An American Romantic hero possesses qualities of youthfulness, innocence, intuitiveness, and closeness to the natural world that set him solidly apart from the hero of the Age of Reason. Nathaniel displays all of the characteristics of an American Romantic Hero.
One quality that makes Nathaniel a good Romantic Hero is his good hearted, innocent, pure and helpful manner. Throughout the movie, he displays these characteristics many times. For example, Nathaniel was very close to his family and friends. His parents were killed when he was very young, so he was raised by a Mohican man named Chingachgook, along with his adopted brother Uncas. The family always stuck together and protected each other and helped out others in need. In the movie, Nathaniel helps an English soldier named Duncan, who is escorting the two daughters of an English General named Munro, get to Fort William Henry. Duncan’s army is slaughtered by a deceiving guide named Magua, and Nathaniel helped Duncan and the two girls escape. Nathaniel takes them to the fort, and finds it under attack.
The fort is captured by the French and everyone in the fort must leave. While they are leaving, they are attacked by a band of Indians led by Magua. During the battle, Nathaniel escapes with Munro’s daughter’s Cora and Alice. He begins to fall in love with Cora, and continues to protect her, Duncan, and Alice throughout the movie. Eventually, they end up hiding under a waterfall and are left waiting for the Huron’s (Magua’s tribe) to come looking for them. Nathaniel decides that when they come, he will jump out of the waterfall with his family and rescue Cora, Alice, and Duncan later. When they are captured, Nathaniel finds them and bargain’s for their lives.
He was willing to give up his life for Cora, but Duncan, also in love with Cora, offers to take her place instead. After the exchange is made, Duncan is put atop a fire to burn alive. Out of pure good heartedness, Nathaniel shoots Duncan to put him out of his misery. He then goes to retrieve Alice, who was put to be a slave. Clearly, Nathaniel’s helpful, loving, and innocent manner qualifies him as a true Hero of the Romantic Era.
Another quality that makes Nathaniel a good Romantic hero is his honor based on higher principle. For example, at first Nathaniel does not want to get involved in the war. When a British officer came to ask the colonists to fight in the war, Nathaniel refused to join. He told the British officer that he would not fight. It shows that he has alot of honor and will not always do what other people want him or tell him to do. Also, while Nathaniel was staying at the British camp, no one was allowed to go home and protect their families (the Indians were attacking the colonists families while they were away fighting the war).
Nathaniel ran into a friend of his who wanted to go home to his family. So, Nathaniel helped him escape. Nathaniel was found out after the fact and was handcuffed and scheduled to hang for it. He knew what the consequences would be if he was caught, and yet still did it. With these characteristics and displays of honor, it obviously qualifies him as a Romantic Hero.
Though only two qualities of Nathaniel have been discussed, he also has many more qualities that make him a Romantic hero. He is just all in all a great person and displays great generosity and courage. Who can resist wanting to be a Romantic Hero?
Courtney from Study Moose
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