Heroes and Villains
Hercules, Jesus, James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Gandalf, Frodo, Harry Potter, Buffy Summers, Spiderman, Batman, Captain Kirk, Dr. Who, Darth Vader, Sauron, Voldemort, Lex Luthor, Dr. Doom, the Daleks, the Borg. Almost anybody living in the developed West would be able to group these individuals into two camps: the heroes and the villains. However, what criteria they may use to do this is less clear.
Mike Alsford introduces us to a range of heroic and villainous archetypes on a journey through film, television, comic books, and literature. On the way, he addresses questions such as: What is a true hero? What is a true villain? Have we misunderstood these terms? What kind of societal values do our mythical heroes and villains represent? In trying to understand the extremes of hero and villain we are made more aware of our own ethical standards and given a space in which to explore contemporary concerns over notions of right and wrong, good and bad.
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Take for example the 1946 film It ' s a Wonderful Life in which a disillusioned and
suicidal George Bailey considers his - apparently – unremarkable life . As he
comes to the conclusion that his life is valueless and prepares to end it by
GEORGE : I said I wish I ' d never been born . 3 George is granted his hasty wish
and lives , for a short time , in a world in which he had never before existed . In
this George - less world - perhaps overly emphasised for effect - all is not well .
Rowling , J . K . , Harry Potter and the Philosopher ' s Stone , Bloomsbury , 1997
Russell , B . , Power , A New Social Analysis , George Allen & Unwin Ltd , 1938
Russell , B . , A history of Western Philosophy , George Allen & Unwin Ltd , 1975
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Myth and Imagination
Heroes and Otherness
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
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