>Introduction To The Female Hero


In the times of Beowulf, a hero had to be male, and the women had to simply be welcoming ceremonious hosts and play the role of Peaceweaver. In recent times, however, more and more female characters have proven themselves worthy of being made into legends, and have sometimes even outdone Beowulf himself in terms of their heroic actions.

Take a look at Scarlett O’ Hara from the award winning Margaret Mitchell novel. This is a tale about the actions one woman takes to ensure survival, of herself and of her family. She does act in a selfish, cold hearted way much of the time, which goes against the heroic code in Beowulf for example, but one can’t help but admire her strength and determination in getting what she wants. Even at the end, although her husband walks out on her she vows to get him back. She chooses not to focus on the negative aspect of him leaving her, but instead she puts it off until tomorrow. This mindset, if you know anything about females, would do many women with “the curse of overthinking” the world of good. This is why Scarlett is a hero in her own right, because she handles things in a way that not many women would do in her situation. She handles circumstances with cold hard logic along with a solid reasonable plan to back things up. She continues on in the face of adversity with vigour, resolution and most importantly independance.

Other female heroes one can’t help but admire are to be found in movies, graphic novels, books and in t.v. series, even video games. Sometimes even the females are somewhat more kick-ass than the males when it comes to video games. Take Lara Croft, the mansion owning, intelligent, tough chick who knows how to wield a gun and dodge boulders on her escapades all while looking smoking hot. And Jill Valentine from Resident Evil 1. Anyone who has played this game can see that she has surpassed Chris Redfield, the leading male character, in the game. Yes, he can shoot a gun. So can she. Along with this she can pick locks and mix herbs and play the piano (vital in certain parts of the game), whereas Chris needs the aid of a female to do these things.

In terms of films, it would be a sin not to mention Ellen Ripley, star of the all the Alien films. In all films she is the only one who knows how to properly deal with the problem of the Alien race threatning to impregnate earth with it’s species. Throughout several of the films she is met with doubt and ridicule, but she pushes on, knowing the right thing to do. That’s why she’s a hero. She is tough, courageous and even though she gets sexist and rude remarks from several of the other characters in all the films she takes it all on the chin. Not to mention the fact that she sacrifices herself for the sake of the human race in Alien 3. If that’s not an ultimate heroic act then I don’t know what is.

The main female hero that I’m interested in looking at is Buffy Summers, the female protagonist from Joss Wheden’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” series. I mentioned Scarlett O’ Hara and Ellen Ripley as characters that are role models to women worldwide, but Buffy tops both of these characters because of her femininity. Ripley and O’ Hara use cold logic and reasoning throughout their trials and tribulations. These are typically seen as male traits and Ripley definitely gets more masculine looking as the Alien films progress, and becomes more “male-minded”, if we define it that way.

Over in Sunnydale, Buffy Summers manages to rid the world of evil, save lives and kill demons, all while being a small feminine, blonde cheerleader who, at the same time as taking on the mouth of hell, cares about clothes, fashion and boys. It goes to show that you don’t have to give up your female characteristics to be a hero that both women and men respect. Because of the lack of compromise in this character, this is why she will be looked at more in depth than other female heroes.





>Doctor, Doctor…


Image courtesy of zetacity.com

A great example of a hero for the modern age is the Doctor, the time-travelling Time Lord from the massively successful science-fiction British television show Doctor Who. Battling alien threats and saving the Earth almost every day are just part of the Doctor’s magnificent adventures. I hope to prove he is truly a modern hero in this post.
Part of the reason that the Doctor is timeless is that when he is injured or dying in the course of his heroic deeds, he can change his appearance to save himself. He can change his entire body, face and personality completely. This is called regeneration, and was a useful tool invented by the show’s creators to keep it going. This is reminiscent of the hero giving his life to protect the innocent or weak. Technically, a new hero is born in the wake of the demise of the old hero, like stories of old.

As I have previously said, the change heralds a change of personality for the Doctor, but he still continues his good deeds. There is a major cause of concern for the Doctor before his regeneration, as he has the constant fear of giving him to his dark side and becoming evil. He has already encountered a possible evil future version of himself and recently encountered (and defeated) his dark side made real in a dream-state. However, it hasn’t happened in the course of his many lives…yet.

The Time Lords, the Doctor’s race, are gone now, lost in the apocalyptic Time War. However, when they were around, the Doctor was always seen as an outcast even among his own people. His attachment to the Earth was seen as odd by his peers. The Time Lords mostly kept to themselves in all respects, which the Doctor never does. However, the Time Lords sent the Doctor to places of concern or worry, so there were lines of communication open between them. Now, with the Time Lords gone, the Doctor is even more alone and outside universal society. Throughout time and space, he can be summoned to places of intrigue or concern by former friends and associates. Sometimes, he can arrive at just the right time to prevent catastrophe.

Like King Arthur with Excalibur and Schwarzeneggar with his big guns and explosions, the Doctor is recognised along with his blue Police Box (pictured above); his disguised spaceship called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), with which he travels through time and space, to different times and unrecognisable planets. As everyone says; It’s bigger on the inside! It’s the special item a hero always has with him.

Another thing the Doctor is never without is his companions, whether temporary or long-term, reminiscent of a knight’s table or a super-hero squad. A man can only spend so much time on his own. The Doctor does most of the work trying to save a planet, but his companions aren’t small fry either. Their different perspectives and experiences give the Doctor more options and chances to vent. He changes their lives with his adventures and become better people. As the Master says; The Doctor; the man who makes everyone better.

Ever the hero, the Doctor never killed his nemesis the Master, a fellow Time Lord, no matter what evil he had done. This is obviously due to the fact that they were the same species, and the Doctor couldn’t bring himself to slay his own kind. However, if the alien threat to Earth is great enough, the Doctor will be forced to act. The Doctor is a man of words, not force. He tries to reason with the aliens, and gives them the opportunity to leave. Even when this fails, he always gives the aliens one last chance to leave or undo their damage before destroying them, so they never threaten Earth or the general universe for a long time.

The popularity of the Doctor and his adventures as grown to such a degree that he has transcended his initial form of textual transmission; the television screen. The medium has expanded into books, audiobooks, video games, and many other mediums.

I hope I have made my case for the Doctor and I hope I have proved with this post that he is a modern hero.

Welcome to Our Page

Welcome to the Heroes: Text and Hyertext Page, which was created by the a Second Year Seminar Class at the Department of English, University College, Cork, Ireland. 


.Ready for Debate