As society evolves it is impossible that people’s beliefs will remain the same. Similarly, what defines a hero has changed throughout the years. Early heroes were characterized by extraordinary physical ability, whereas contemporary heroes are flawed individuals that like to serve and help others. A good role model for today’s generation is someone who inspires children to live with optimism, hope, determination and with willingness to help other people.
The definition of a hero has changed many times through the years. This comes as a result of the change of the ideals and the circumstances that we live. To begin with, heroes from the past and modern heroes have some thousands years in between them. During these years the life has developed and the society encounters new,different problems. The Greek culture offers us a great variety of examples for traditional heroes. Some of the most famous ones are Heracles, Perseus and Odysseus. Firefighters, policeman, lifeguards, soldiers, doctors and ordinary people are the heroes of today’s society. Myths that talk about heroes from the past seem to emphasize mostly on their physical strength. Their idea of a hero was somebody who could kill monsters, like Heracles. There was no “labour” that was beyond the power of Heracles. He was the only man who could solve every problem in the Greek society. Heracles name was identified with power, heroism and majesty. He battled with villians, monsters, armies, gods, natural forces and illness(Sofia Souli,64). Contrary, very few modern heroes undertake a physical quest. “A hero is that middle-aged man who loses his job, and with it his identity, yet he has the willpower to get back in the game, starting all over again from scratch, with dignity, until he makes it”(The time has come to change our model of heroism, paragraph 7). This quote reminds me of my own heroes, my parents. Unfortunately, they both lost their jobs, but they found the courage the leave their country, home and family back and come to a new country with no support of anyone. These two people,my parents, my parents, taught me that every difficulty comes to show you the path for something better. And this is the case with all the immigrants. They migrate for a better future for their children.
In addition, the motivation behind their heroic acts is different between the ancient heroes and modern heroes. According to Homer’s book “The Odysseus” we understand that, Odysseus’s ,the main character’s, quests were completed by him only to benefit him go back to Ithaca, his hometown. Like Odysseus, other classical heroes as well performed their tasks or quests only to profit from them. This reveals their selfish motives. Thus, this inspired people to go out and achieve fame through glorious and heroic deeds. Unlike heroes from the past, today’s heroes have different motivation when acting heroically. Their main goal is to inspire people to help other people and change the world positively. As a consequence, modern heroes hope for social change. This can be illustrated by Sylvia Mendez’s story. She grew up at a time when Hispanics were not allowed to attend schools where white people went. Her family wanted to send her to a white school after they realized that they has better educational system. However, Sylvia was denied from the school and her parents decided to sue the California public school system. After years she was allowed to attend the white school and became the first Hispanic to go to a “Whites Only” school (Joel Foster). Sylvia’s’ parents did not change only their daughter’s life, but the life of many Hispanics who were struggling to get into those schools. They fought against a social injustice and brought change to the whole school system.
Despite their differences, early heroes and today’s heroes have some similarities. Both classical and modern heroes encounter difficulties to accomplish their task. In addition, to illustrate this further is the example of Theseus, who was the son of King Aegeus of Athens. Though he has many adventures in which he killed many supernatural creatures, his most memorable heroic act was killing a monstrous Minotaur with his bare fists. Each year, seven youths and seven maidens were sent to Crete to fed the Minotaur. Theseus decided that he would be on of the seven youths sent to the Minotaur, which he killed the monster. This ended the yearly sacrifices of young boys and girls from Athens, making Theseus the hero of Athens (Sofia Souli,88). In the same way, modern heroes have to overcome difficulties for the sake of other people. One case point in modern heroism can be attributed to the British divers who found the twelve students who went missing into a cave. All the rescuers involved in this difficult mission could have been trapped just like the little boys(Rebecca Wright, Hilary Clarke) Yet, they did not thought twice. They had to offer their help. This shows that modern heroes may not fight with supernatural creatures like ancient heroes, but their modern acts of bravery have the same outcome.
It must be admitted that one might object here that ordinary people can be considered heroes. They might argue that since literature presents ancients heroes as the only heroes ever existed, they should be the ones considered as true heroes. Although it may be true that modern heroes are not featured in school literature, that does not mean that they are heroes. We are proud for the golden heritage of Homer, the great tragic and lyric writer of antiquity, and for the whole Greek Mythology, and we realise that the worldwide literature would today be a much poorer thing. However, they are displayed in the books for us to learn lessons from them and not repeat the same mistakes as our ancestors. Also, it is important to point out the importance of the Internet, television and social media. Nowadays people spend a lot of time reading articles online. These articles mostly present today’s acts of heroism. In addition, social media influencers have been considered heroes the last years. They are trying to spread positivity through their profiles and it seems to work for a lot of people. Thus, modern heroes are heroes too. Ordinary people can be heroes in today’s world.
“It is interesting to see how millennials see their heroes as expressed in Twitter feeds”, wrote Ambeth R. Ocampo after conducting a survey in the the Philippines. But why does this generation have different heroes compared to the generations before? The answer to this question is simple. Their heroes are connected with their realistic problems. By reading at their statuses they can relate much more than reading the stories of traditional heroes. And usually today’s heroes are a good source of positive energy.
Role models of today’s younger generations should combine both classical and modern heroes’ traits. For instance, a role model should show passion and ability to inspire(Marilyn Price-Mitchell). Doctors are the ones known to show passion for their work. They are so dedicated to saving their patients’ lives. Also, a positive role model shows commitment to the community (Marilyn Price-Mitchell). Firefighters and policeman are a good example of this trait. They fight against criminals and control deadly situations by risking their lives. Furthermore, good role models show ability to overcome obstacles. As I mentioned before, most parents are the best example for this trait. They always try to show their children that every difficulty is for us to fight with it and become stronger through it.
In conclusion, clearly the classical heroes and modern heroes differ in many aspects. However the main idea of helping other people and overcoming evil is true for both of them. Also, the combination of both classical and modern heroes traits is the ideal role model that we want for today’s younger generations.

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