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A hero is a man or woman (then often called a heroine), traditionally the protagonist of a story, legend or saga, commonly possessed of powers far beyond that of a standard human, which enable him or her to perform some truly extraordinary, beneficial deed (an "heroic deed") for which he or she is famous. These powers are sometimes not only of the body but also of the mind. Heroes are typically opposed by villains.

A person normally becomes a hero by performing an extraordinary and praiseworthy deed. Traditional deeds are slaying of monsters and saving people from certain death. A hero normally fulfills the definitions of what is considered good and noble in the originating culture. However, in literature, particularly in tragedy, the hero may also have serious flaws which lead to his downfall, e.g. Hamlet.

Sometimes a real person might achieve enough status to become a hero in people's minds. This is usually complemented by a rapid growth of myths around the person in question, often attributing him or her with powers beyond those of ordinary mortals.

Some social commentators prescribe the need for heroes in times of social upheaval or national self-doubt, seeing a requirement for virtuous role-models[?], especially for the young. Such myth-making may have worked better in the past: current trends may confuse heroes and their hero-worship with the cult of mere celebrity.

Well-known heroes approach the gods in status in some cultures.

Famous heroes include: Hercules (ancient Roman Empire), King Arthur (medieval England), Mulan (China), Beowulf ( Iron Age Scandinavia), and Stenka Razin (Russian folk hero).

A book of recent fame, dealing with the telling of heroic stories, is called The Hero with a Thousand Faces[?] by Joseph Campbell.

Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

See also: superhero, culture hero

Hero is also a Greek name, applying to several characters in mythology and fiction.

In William Shakespeares play Much Ado About Nothing Hero is a female character.

Hero (英雄 pinyin ying1 xiong2) is a 2003 Chinese movie (of the Wuxia genre) directed by Zhang Yimou, starring Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Donnie Yen[?], Chen Daoming[?], Zhang Ziyi.

The movie is set during the Warring States Period. It tells the story of assassination attempts of the king of Qin by legendary warriors.

External links

  • Hero (http://www.herothemovie.com/)

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