Hero myths

For example, many cultures have 'hero myths' in which the hero has to go through various trials and tribulations and prove his courage before gaining a mate and possibly a throne. This is an exposition, in fairy-tale language, of a child's progress from infancy to maturity. Every child has to leave the mother, grow up, face the dangers associated with becoming independent, win a sexual partner, and achieve a position in society. Different cultures have different ideas of what a hero should be like. Galahad, the perfect knight, exemplifies one English idea of a hero; Odysseus, the wily trickster, personifies a Greek ideal. The two ideas of the heroic are very different, but each is an expression of the heroic archetype. It is as if there was some kind of a flexible mould underlying the idea of the hero which could not be clearly defined until a culture had filled it with a myth, but which was itself indefinable.

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