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Of Monsters and Heroes Features 

Of Monsters and Heroes

In literature, monsters are a universal character across various cultures – as much in mythology as in contemporary tales.


The Monster represents what our society fears. Frankenstein’s monster, for instance, represented the fear of science that society held at the time that the book was written.


On the other hand, the role of the hero is to represent what our society deems as good. They are rich, brave, loyal, and, oftentimes, male.


As much as we would like to think that we have moved away from these stereotypes, how many movies or books can you think of in which this formula is not present, especially in mainstream media?


Since the hero is often someone who is of high social status, he also tends to be a minority that a lot of people idealize but few can relate to. This archetype does not exist to be relatable – it exists to fight the monster and to eradicate it.


This is also why heroes are also often used to spread propaganda – it is an easy way to identify a scapegoat, proclaim that it is a monster that has been causing all of the problems in our community and offer the hero as a solution. This is also why, in today’s society, this formula has been working less and less.


We are starting to see that directors, writers, painters and audiences are developing sympathy for the banished witch instead of the good fairy, for the “ugly” child that lives alone in the tower instead of the archdeacon who locked him in there and wears his faith like a mask, for the villain with a tragic backstory instead of the hero who had the support of society from the very beginning.


People can relate to characters who are placed in the margins of society for being born different, especially in a world where talk about excluding people from society for not adhering to the status quo is not okay is becoming increasingly mainstream.


This exclusion is not humane and, to a certain extent, the real monster seems to have become the system that put them in this position, to protect itself from an enemy that doesn’t exist.


We have started to question the hegemony of our society instead of allowing it to question us.


We have started to wonder why certain people grow up to become heroes and others don’t even get the chance to be seen as human.


We have started wondering why killing the monster is okay simply because we think of it as a monster, while the hero gets to be defined by his actions.


Those who have been imprisoned for fighting for their freedom and rights and were once seen as enemies of the State, and the People are now celebrated, sometimes even brought to the level of a martyr.

We are closer than we have ever been to realizing that we are all human – no matter who we love, what we wear, where we were born or what is written on our birth certificate.


That the only thing separating us is whether the mainstream will use us as scapegoats of our current history, to distract us from problems that concern all of us, no matter our background.


And the moment the first rock has been thrown, the Lottery has been lost.


Written by: A.E.

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