A character that lacks heroic traits and attributes is described as an antihero. More often than not, this character is entangled with struggles of things that make him or her fall in situations that the audience feel pity or sorry for them. Sometimes antiheroes are also seen as villain (Peter 61). A villain is a character who plans malice or evil things. At other times, this person may kill other characters for his or her own benefit.
The concept of anti-heroism started in Greek tragedies where characters in certain genres were flawed. At this time, antiheroes were seen as those who initially portrayed good attributes but as the play or genre proceeded, such characters went back to old habits of theirs more frequently and still achieved what was required. One major difference between a hero and an antihero is that an antihero would sometimes make moral judgments that are based on emotions, a thing that a hero would not make.
Laura Bennett claims that the term antihero has been over-used and therefore loses meaning. One reason for supporting her claim is that many audiences are relating various individuals to the character of antihero simply because they lack creativity. She argues any protagonist, be it in a movie, novel or television show, has varying traits and experience and it is unfair to describe them with a single term such as antihero. People should therefore become creative and come up with equally varying terms to give to these individuals.
I support the claim by Laura Bennett that the term Antihero is being overused. In this paper I will bring forth arguments basing them on four types of antiheroes, namely Disney antihero, pragmatic antihero, unscrupulous hero and hero in name only. The above four types of antiheroes will be discussed to show how diversity of different types of antiheroes has resulted to the term antihero being misused. In other words, the discussions will show how anti-heroism is no longer seen from classical definition of a character that deviates from convectional heroic traits such as morality idealism and courage. Each of these types will form a topic sentence and example of genre of movie or television programs that relate to each type will be given and discussed.
How the term antihero has been misused
The Disney Antihero. Here most people see antihero as a character who is a bit sarcastic but more realistic. In this scenario the character is said to put logic before honor (Edelstein 23). However, the characters in this situation do not engage in acts that ambiguous morally and therefore this is contrary to classical antiheroes. In Hunger Games, Haymitch Abernathy can be described as a Disney antihero.
The Pragmatic Antihero. In this scenario, antihero would initially occupy the state of an antihero but later as the movie progresses, he converts to a classical hero. Here, an antihero considers a big picture for his actions. For example, he may kill someone in order for greater good of other people. That, antihero is seen as a person who has to sacrifice someone for the greater good, if it is necessary. Therefore, antihero cannot engage in indiscriminately killing as classical antihero would do. They do so in order to attain a higher goal by considering the big-picture. The series Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is a good example in this case. The character Harry Potter engages in acts that frequently break rules, applies unforgivable curses and even robs a bank to ensure Voldemort is off completely.
The Unscrupulous Hero. Unscrupulous hero is one possessing dark traits and at the same time is technically good. These characters find themselves in world made of gray shades but these gray shades vary becoming sometimes lighter. The croupy settings, in which they live, necessitate them to have no trust on humanity and may engage in violence as a result. They may also revenge (Edelstein 23). The Caribbean film series titled Pirates is a good example. Here, a character by name Jack Sparrow has good intentions and engages in acts that fight on high moral side. However, he does not care about how his actions causes damage to others and sometime may even double-cross other people as long he will achieve his goals finally.
The Hero in Name Only. Here characters engage in acts that are good though the motivations for such acts are not good. In most cases these characters will fight for their own selfish gains or engage in acts that harm less harm as compared to villains. In BBC Sherlock Holmes is a good example. Holmes exalts himself by painting a picture that he is a high-functioning sociopath. This is to clarify that engages or considers cases that are mentally stimulating.
In conclusion, the term antihero has lost its meaning and deviated from its initial classical definition. This is mainly because of diversity of many types of antiheroes.
Peter, K. Armstrong. Heroism and passion in literature. New York: Open Road, 2010. Print.
Edelstein, A. Everybody is Sitting on the Curb: how and why Americas Heroes Disappeared. Westport Conn: Praeger, 1996. Print.
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