What Makes a Hero?
I have just started reading the manga series Naruto (my book review can be found on Facebook and I may post it up here aswell if there is a call for it.) and one of the things which intrigues me is the character of Naruto. He does not appear to be your standard, run-of-the-mill hero. Lazy, mischeavious, reckless, undisciplined even obnoxious and arrogant at times he hardly shows any of the sterotypical virtues of a hero; such as courage, wisdom or temperance, He even lets his emotions overrule his mind voiding logic at times of crisis. How then can we be expected to accept that such a character is in fact our hero?
Well in my opinion it is exactly this which makes Naruto all the more interesting as a character and draws me in, As you gain a desire to find out just how it is he comes to achieve this status of hero. Also Naruto emits a definate message to the audience: ‘A hero is nobody special. A hero can be anybody…even me or you. He/She need not be some multi-millionaire gadget loving citizen such as Batman, or someone blessed by superhuman capabilites such as Superman. Instead Naturo is a down to earth, realistic person just like anyone you’re likely to find in the street next time you venture out to catch your morning bus to work, and this appeals to our psyche drawing us into Naruto’s world in some sub-conscious hope that we may find a nugget of insight as to how we can turn ourselves into heroes, or in Neitzsche’s words an ubermencshce.
So it would seem being a hero is not something thrust upon you by fate, coincidence or some other external factor we have no such control over. Instead heroship is something we must aim to achieve via working towards a series of virtues, overcoming our shortcomings in the progress. Similar in a sense to how Aristotle proposes we are to achieve eudaimonia, Perhaps then there is a link between heroship and eudaimonia? In which case only the hero can truly be happy…