The Superhuman Essay

1468 words - 6 pages

Do Superheroes Hide Behind Masks?For centuries, society and literature have revered and idolized extraordinary individuals called "heroes." The word hero brings to mind several images: strength, bravery, and determination. Heroes have been part of human cultures for thousands of years. Gilgamesh can be seen as the original superhero, followed by many others including Hercules, Spiderman and Superman, Batman and Catwoman. Heroes in "The Iliad" by Homer such as Agamemnon, Achilles, and Hector, all exhibit courage, strength, and perseverance. Our history books are filled with accounts of heroic actions. Daily newscasts report stories about heroes in all walks of life. What makes the stories even more fascinating is that the most enduring epic, "Gilgamesh," is nearly 4,800 years old. (Lawall, "Gilgamesh" 10). No matter which era, our heroes have these and other certain traits in common. The most unexplained quality is that of being a "common person" or "regular guy." Superheroes such as Superman, Batman, and Spiderman all wear the masks of "common" individuals to conceal their identities. Beyond their ability to hide the true identities of these superheroes, the "common man" mask helps to spread the notion of each superhero's own persona, albeit for the better or the worse. This paper seeks to understand what super power a mask imposes on the hero and how he chooses to use it.The "superhero," is perhaps the most resilient and powerful form of idealized masculinity within Western cultural traditions. Superhero displays of select aggression, strength, courage and endurance are defined as virtues; inherently "good" qualities of attained manhood. Comic books provide the superhero with a home and offer to the reader an instantly accessible visual for reflection and self-identification.Comic book artists and writers kill and mutilate only symbolically and metaphorically with words and with images. Yet comic books highlight the connection of a wide range of themes, images, designs and narrative forms. This is evident in the mythological split of the individual superhero and his extraordinary personification, the crippling of any non-masculine emotions or displays of human weakness, the inability to hold back the mysterious or monster force within.In many ways, superheroes and masks are linked. However, is there a deeper connection between masks and superheroes than the simple need to merely conceal the wearer's identity? Masks have been used throughout the ages, their implementation varying from culture to culture. An early use of the mask is in religious ceremonies. In most cultures, masks symbolize beneficent spirits: nature beings, deities, the ancestral dead and the animal kingdom. North American Indians have used masks to represent evil spirits, over which the medicine men are believed to have power. Similar attribution is made in Ceylon. Masks play important roles in religious, healing, exorcism and funerary rituals. Sri Lankan exorcism masks, for...

Find Another Essay On The superhuman

Hero Archetype Essay

988 words - 4 pages flaws.When we hear the word "hero" we tend to think of characters such as Superman, Batman, and Spiderman. These modern heroes usually have characteristics such as superhuman strength and endurance to the point that they are nearly invincible. Beowulf, although not a "modern hero," shares many of the same characteristics. Beowulf states in the poem, "I have proved more might in the sea than any other man, and more endurance in the ocean" (27). Beowulf is

Macbeth Essay

908 words - 4 pages victims of evil is Lady Macbeth in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Lady Macbeth's devotion to her husband, unselfish love for him, and her superhuman and strong will dictates she act in an unnatural way to secure the ambitions of her husband.Lady Macbeth's devotion to her husband is one of the influences that dictates she act in unnatural way to secure her husband's ambitions. One example of her devotion to her husband is when she reads the

Hero's Epic, Beowulf

549 words - 2 pages language are the kennings which describe something simple so indirectly. Line 241 describes darkness or night by stating how the moon hangs. Also line 325 describes Grendel in two different kennings as one form of evil.Every hero has their way of fighting evil or protecting from it. In order to fight a supernatural being, one must have a superhuman power which brings us to another characteristic of epic poetry. The very first supernatural being

Damon and Dracula

1198 words - 5 pages examining Bram Stoker’s notorious vampire, Dracula, it is clear Stoker embraces such disturbing fundamental features of a typical traditional vampire while incorporating a reclusive personality and unique superhuman abilities to enhance his character. However when observing Damon Salvatore, form the televised T.V show The Vampire Diaries, it is obvious L. J Smith re-vamped (no pun intended) the original version by providing Damon specific

An Exploration through Shojo and Shonen Manga through Sailor Moon and Black Cat

1771 words - 8 pages differences that are meant to distinguish between their respective audiences. As a more specific example, the shared themes of fighting, love, and superhuman powers as well as the character in Black Cat and Sailor Moon suggest a similar genre and audience; however, upon closer inspection, subtle differences between the use of these themes and characters in each manga reveal that the intended audiences are the opposite. Themes are an important part of

Beowulf 6

797 words - 3 pages over and Beowulf wrestles with Grendel until he is able to rip one of the monster's arms out of its socket. Superhuman feats also appear in the fight with Grendel's mother. When Beowulf enters the water, he swims downward for an entire day before he sees the bottom. He does this without the use of oxygen. During the battle with Grendel's mother, Beowulf realizes that Unferth's sword is useless against the monsters thick skin. He grabs an enormous

Beowulf: The Selfless Hero

863 words - 3 pages Beowulf: The Selfless Hero Beowulf is an epic poem that describes the heroics of a man with superhuman strength and bravery to go with it. The poem starts with a journey across the sea to defeat an enemy that has plagued the land of Herot for twelve years. The poem ends with Beowulf’s final deed of defeating a dragon that was plaguing his own land, but with the defeat of the dragon also comes the death of Beowulf. Sir Gawain and the Green


259 words - 2 pages people to perform extraordinary feats, such as jumping into large voids. Since bungee jumping and ski diving release adrenaline into the blood system, the people who engage in these hobbies are often nicknamed "adrenaline junkies," in that they crave the superhuman feeling adrenaline causes. All in all, bungee jumping and ski diving are not for the faint hearted and can be harmful to anyone's health.

Christian and Pagan Virtues Displayed in Beowulf

1180 words - 5 pages accomplishments to God’s help, Beowulf demonstrates how he accredits Christian beliefs. In addition to Christian virtues Beowulf exemplifies many pagan virtues. The pagan elements of the character of Beowulf become evident in the superhuman personifications. Throughout the epic poem Beowulf is depicted as a superhuman that chooses to fight with extraordinary feats throughout each battle. “I have heard,/ Too, that the monster’s scorn of men/ Is so

Compare and Contrast of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

774 words - 3 pages protagonists, the main character of each poem also has different characteristics that make up the unique identities of each, such as Beowulf’s possession of superhuman abilities that Sir Gawain does not possess naturally, the chivalrous code of Sir Gawain and the heroic code that Beowulf lives by, and the different uses of nature in both poems (such as the embodiment of life and death). The first comparison would be of their physical

Is the new policy on steroid testing in Major League baseball morally justified??

955 words - 4 pages rest of us. They have weaknesses and vulnerabilities, fears and desires just like the rest of us. The thing that sets them apart from the rest is that they have one or maybe two skills that seem to make them superhuman. Those few that have the gifts or talents to play with the elites have entertained us for generations. They have held us captivated for the hope of witnessing that superhuman potential manifest itself on the field of play in a

Similar Essays

Faustus's Desire To Be Superhuman Leads Him To Be Inhuman

1002 words - 4 pages "Faustus's desire to be superhuman leads him to be inhuman."Over the course of the play, Dr Faustus uses superhuman powers granted to him by a devil for his own gain. It could be argued that due to his very human desires (greed, lust, revenge etc) that he isn't superhuman, but inhuman instead. The words "superhuman" and "inhuman" are similar words in what they describe, but ultimately they refer to different things. Superhuman is defined as

What Character In World Literature I Like Most And Why: Rodion Raskolnikov In "Crime And Punishment" By F.M. Dostoevsky

655 words - 3 pages representative of his generation, young and poor student Raskolnikov has built his own cruel philosophy, based on the nitschean concept of a "superhuman". His idols are the great ones of this world, all the traits of a powerful person for him are embodied in charismatic, outstanding figure of Napoleon Buonaparte. Raskolnikov is sure that only two categories of human beings exist: the "quavery creatures", bound to lower themselves to the order of things, on

Genetic Engineering And Cloning Essay

862 words - 4 pages . . Snyder, MIchael. "U.S. Super Soldiers Of The Future Will Be Genetically Modified Transhumans Capable Of Superhuman Feats." Infowars US Super Soldiers Of The Future Will Be Genetically Modified Transhumans Capable Of Superhuman Feats Comments. N.p., 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

Odysseus, An Epic Hero In Homer´S The Odyssey

735 words - 3 pages In the epic poem, They Odyssey written by Homer, Odysseus tells the story of how he gets home after being away for twenty years. Odysseus possesses superhuman strength and the ability to withstand harsh conditions. Odysseus experiences excessive frustration throughout his trip back to Ithaca and it becomes imperative for him to learn just how to maintain the frustration and keep it inside. On Odysseus’ journey home, he comes up with clever plans
Nawiedzeni / Haunted Hathaways | The Road Not Taken | Metallbearbeitung & Schlosserei