Patterns in Heroic Literature
English 283 discusses many themes of British Literature, covering novels from ancient to modern times. These themes are evident in the personality of the main character, usually the hero, of each novel. These themes include loss of a close friendship and great displays of violence. However, one prominent theme in most of the novels is that the hero waits until the moment when he most needed to become a leader. The hero often begins as a quiet character and then transforms, by taking authority and command, into a heroic leader. Each hero appears to lack leadership qualities, or at least ignore their responsibility, until a time of dire distress, in which they become the great leader. This is true of heroes of ancient times, such as in The Iliad, to more modern novels, such as in The Time of the Hero. Although the time evolutionizes, the hero’s mindset seems to stay the same, at least in the matter of when to display their great leadership ability. These characters’ actions are often not affected by morals but by personal interests. They do not seem to fight because the cause is just but more for personal gain or wealth. However, when the time
Wil ultimately shows his leadership by convincing Amberle that she is strong enough to complete their mission, even when he himself is not sure that he can continue on. Not only is he the sole protector of Amberle, he also leads her though a strange country to complete her mission and save the Elves. He leads his troops into war and manages to seize a great victory in which the French casualty is very high and the English have only a few deaths. Without this reassurance, Amberle would have given up on herself and the mission. All of these characters withheld their leadership ability until it was necessary and needed. Henry guides his troops against all odds through a seemingly hopeless war to a great victory. comes that the hero takes command, he is usually very determined and successful. Wil, one hero of The Elfstones of Shannara, is a leader is several ways. There are four novels, in particular, that seem to display this pattern. Wil ultimately shows his leadership by convincing Amberle that she is strong enough to complete their mission, even when he himself is not sure that he can continue on. Another character who follows this pattern is Alberto. Alberto had always been more of a follower than a leader until the death of his friend, the Slave. Alberto then takes control by refusing to stay quiet about the murder. After the Slave, Alberto"tms friend, is murdered, Alberto, once a quiet but respected cadet, takes command and accuses the Jaguar, the mean, violent cadet who is feared by all, of being the killer. However, Henry ignores his disadvantage and rallies his troops together by demonstrating his belief and courage in them.