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  • "I need a hero!"

  • So many people in distress have said this,

  • but why?

  • What kind of hero do we need

  • and do we really even need a hero at all?

  • Well, if you look at any piece of literature

  • written for page,

  • script,

  • or stage,

  • the answer is yes!

  • But, heroes come in all shapes and sizes,

  • depending on what needs to be dealt with.

  • First, you have your epic heroes.

  • Epic heroes usually come from a famous family,

  • have super-human strength,

  • are unusually good-looking.

  • They take on challenges that no one else will

  • and succeed.

  • They have great journeys and adventures,

  • some supernatural

  • and some, right here on Earth.

  • Beowulf does all of this.

  • He travels across the sea with his band of warriors

  • to help another king defeat a supernatural monster

  • that has been terrorizing his kingdom.

  • He defeats the monster

  • and the monster's mother

  • in an epic battle,

  • and then goes back home

  • and becomes king himself.

  • In his old age, he has one more monster to face,

  • one more threat that he must keep from his people,

  • a dragon.

  • Now, being an epic hero,

  • of course he wins,

  • but he is also human,

  • and so he also dies.

  • But he leaves behind stories

  • to inspire others even today.

  • Next, we have our tragic heroes.

  • Tragic heroes are usually leaders or powerful characters,

  • but the tragic hero is also majorly flawed

  • and that flaw usually leads him down the path

  • to a horrible and tragic death.

  • Take the story of Oedipus the King, for example.

  • One day, a young man travels to a town called Thebes.

  • On the way, he kills a man

  • for not yielding to him on the road

  • in the first documented case of road rage.

  • He also defeats a magical creature

  • and is rewarded by becoming the King of Thebes,

  • and thus, marrying their queen.

  • Well, that's not so tragic, right?

  • Wrong!

  • The queen he just married is actually his birth mother!

  • Oedipus was supposed to have been killed

  • as a child by a servant,

  • but instead he was given to another family.

  • Oh, and the man he killed on the road,

  • the previous King of Thebes

  • and his dad.

  • So he killed his father and married his mother.

  • Now that is quite tragic.

  • Not tragic enough for you?

  • Try this one.

  • Romeo Montague is a guy born into a wealthy family

  • and finds the love of his life at a party, Juliet.

  • But, Juliet is from a different family

  • that just so happens to hate his family.

  • Instead of being patient

  • and working through the family feud,

  • Romeo decides he must have his love now,

  • and his impatience leads to bloodshed and death,

  • including his own and Juliet's.

  • Moving on to romantic heroes.

  • Now these guys might sound like

  • they might have a better love life and chance at happiness,

  • but that's not always the case.

  • These heroes are emotional

  • and very human.

  • But there is something magical about them.

  • Some have a miraculous birth

  • and then are separated from their family.

  • Others use enchanted swords

  • or get help from magical beans.

  • They could also reject the expectations of society

  • and adhere to their own code of morality.

  • And in the end,

  • the hero triumphs over evil in an idyllic way,

  • but at great personal, emotional sacrifice.

  • King Arthur is a good example of a romantic hero.

  • Sure, he became king and married the love of his life,

  • but he was also killed by his son,

  • who was born out of wedlock,

  • and had his wife cheat on him with his best friend.

  • So, although he, too, like Beowulf, was a great king,

  • he suffered much more

  • for the greater purpose of society,

  • which makes him more human and relatable to us all.

  • There are different heroes for different situations.

  • Sometimes we need the strong warrior

  • to slay the evils of the world.

  • At other times,

  • we need a common person who becomes great

  • so that they can inspire us all to be better.

  • So do we need heroes?

  • Absolutely!

  • No matter what the time or place,

  • we still need something to believe in.

  • They remind us of the good in each of us,

  • and the need for hope

  • and the importance of knowledge.

"I need a hero!"

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B1 US TED-Ed tragic king juliet monster family

【TED-Ed】A host of heroes - April Gudenrath

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    VoiceTube posted on 2014/06/04
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