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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I am equally concerned that this space should be an interdisciplinary one , one in
which the issues are raised by familiar cultural images but may be commented on
from a variety of viewpoints . While trying to introduce the subject of otherness ...
The quest for certainty It seems to me that our culture has developed a level of
dysfunction with regard to our need for variety and difference . While at one level
we desire change , surprise , excitement and all of those things which allow us to
We see this in a variety of villains from Saruman to Vito Corleone from Darth
Vader to Lex Luthor . The uniformity that comes with an empire , with its hierarchy
culminating in a supreme ruler , makes it an ideal environment for the villain .
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Myth and Imagination
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