Heroes played many roles in Greek mythology, where several people were tried and admired in a variety of ways. The Greeks consider heroes as people who go on an extraordinary journey, completing an impossible task, and being courageous. According to the Webster?s Dictionary, the definition of a hero is a man who is admired for his achievements and qualities, but the definition varies in the perspective of different individuals. A hero to one person may be a villain to another. The motifs of heroic myths in Greek Mythology contain heroes that can be viewed as heroes or villains.
The mythological hero, Hercules has many human flaws that places doubt in one?s mind as to consider him a hero or villain. Hercules is talented and is given supernatural strength, which he does not how to control. One day Hercules becomes filled with rage and he assassinated his wife and children. A person may use this act against Hercules and portray him as a villain. In order to expiate himself, he goes to an oracle, which eventually sends him out to fulfill the ?12 Labors?. This act is another justification for the belief of Hercules being a villain; he did the ?12 Labors? for a pardon of his act not really a trial to prove his ?heroic qualities?. Hercules is usually considered a hero since he does complete the ?12 Labors? that included some impossible tasks, like destroying the Hydra. People may have also considered Hercules as heroic because of his supernatural strength. He also may have been a role model to young lads in the Greek times.
Jason is also a hero that may also be portrayed as a villain. Jason is a hero because he captures the Golden Fleece. His heroic qualities are his dependency, arrogant attitude, and patience. People consider him a hero because of the trials he went through in capturing the Golden Fleece. Ironically he is a coward and a liar. Medea is one of the witches that assists him in capturing the Golden Fleece, and he promises her that he would marry her. Yet because of his ambitious ways he resisted in doing it. This flaw is a reasonable argument for one to consider him a villain.
Atalanta may have been one of the most influential heroes of this time, even though she is a female. Her father as a child rejected Atalanta since she was not born a male. Out of vengeance she chooses and resists marrying and submitting to men. This stubbornness is influential because it portrays that women can be independent. The beginning of women?s rights to be independent begins with Atalanta according to Greek Mythology. Women in that period of time were treated as inferior to men. When Zeus places them into this world they are meant to be evil. She is heroic to all of history. On the other hand, a person who believes in misogyny may think of Atalanta as a threat. Misogynists are men who basically hate women and believe they should submit to men. Since Atalanta did initiate the thought of women being capable of being independent, they consider her as a villain.
The motifs of heroic myths in Greek Mythology contain heroes that can be considered as heroes or villains. Many Greek people made the appearance of these heroes to be what they wanted to be as role models. Looking back at these characters, people notice many flaws in them that questions their stature as a heroes.