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Heroism

You are part of the studio senior review committee selected to determine a working definition of heroism by examining the roles heroes and heroines in earliest literary works. Define heroism using your understanding or your experience of heroic figures both in your personal life as well as according to the standard Aristotelian definition. Find examples in literature and film which are meaningful to you. Please include a minimum of six APA formatted citations as in text citations to back up your writing about heroism.

I'm needing some help with the examples in literature or film and references of where I can look for information. Any help would be greatly appreciated....

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Dear Student,
Thank you for coming up with an interesting posting as such. Since you weren't able to recall how early the works must be, I am giving you some Aristotelian-era types of works: Sophocles.... I'm not sure if you had to read that....but there was heroism in that particular work of the Aristotelian era....(even Aristotle himself related himself to that piece of work). One famous work by Sophocles is Antigone. I will also insert a summary of that play for you to see if you'd be interested. I'm not quite sure what types of literary genres you're looking for, so this is the earliest I can go----

Here it is:

Books by Sophocles

Colonus, a village near Athens, was the place of Sophocles' birth, and the date, 495 B.C., thus making him thirty years younger than Aeschylus and fifteen years older than Euripides. His father, Sophilus, a man of wealth and excellent repute, gave him the benefit of all the literary accomplishment of the age. His powers were developed and refined by a careful instruction in the arts of music and poetry, and to the natural graces of his person further attractions were added through the exercises of the pal├Žstra. That he was a comely and agile youth is shown by his selection, at the age of sixteen, to lead with dance and lyre the chorus which celebrated his country's triumph at Salamis.

In his younger days he appears to have been somewhat over fond of women and wine, and this he himself admits in one of his sayings recorded by Plato: "I thank old age for delivering me from the tyranny of my appetites." Yet, even in his later years, the charms of the gentler sex were at times too strong for the great dramatist. Aristophanes accused him of avarice, though there is nothing in what is known of Sophocles to substantiate the charge, and this is further disproved by the utter neglect of his affairs, which brought on him the imputation of lunacy, refuted by reading to his judges a passage from a newly-written play. The occasional excesses referred to appear to have been the only blemish on an otherwise blameless and contented life.

Dramatic Career

The commencement of his dramatic career was marked by a victory in competition with Aeschylus, under exceptional circumstances. The remains of the hero Theseus were being removed by Cimon from the isle of Scyros to Athens, at the time of a tragic contest which had excited unusual interest on account of the fame of the older and the popularity of the younger candidate. Instead of choosing judges by lot, as was the custom, the archon administered the oath to Cimon and his colleagues, asking them to decide between the rival tragedians. The first prize was awarded to Sophocles, greatly to the disgust of the veteran dramatist, who soon afterward departed for Sicily. Yet the decision does not imply want of appreciation for the plays which Aeschylus presented. The rivalry was not between two works, but between two styles of tragic art, and the subject chosen by the young poet, together with the desire to encourage his first attempt, was sufficient to outbalance the reputation of the great antagonist, whose verses lacked the air of freshness and youth that hung around the poetry of Sophocles.

For more than sixty years after this event Sophocles continued to compose and exhibit tragedies and satyric dramas. Of the one hundred and eighty plays ascribed to him, probably seventeen were spurious, and the number of his first prizes is variously stated at from eighteen to twenty-four, with many second prizes, so that in this respect he left both Aeschylus and Euripides far behind. So far from being dulled with age and toil, his powers seem only to have assumed a mellower tone, a more touching pathos, a sweeter and gentler mode of thought and expression.

To the improvements which Aeschylus made in tragic exhibition he added others, some of which the former adopted in his later works, before taking leave of the stage. He introduced a third actor, further curtailed the choral parts and gave the dialogue its full development. He caused the scenery to be carefully painted and properly arranged, thus greatly increasing the spectacular effect. His odes were distinguished by their close connection with the business of the play, the correctness of their sentiments, and the beauty of their lines. His language, though sometimes harsh and involved, was for the most part grand and majestic, avoiding the massive phraseology of Aeschylus and the commonplace diction of Euripides. In the management of his subjects he was unrivaled, no one understanding so well the artistic development of incident, the secret of working on the feelings, the gradual culmination of the interest when leading up to the final crisis, and the crushing blow of the catastrophe, overwhelming the spectators with terror or compassion.

"Sophocles," says one of his admirers, "is the summit of Greek art; but we must have scaled many a steep before we can appreciate his loftiness, for little of his beauty is perceptible to one who is not thoroughly imbued with the spirit of antiquity." The ancients fully appreciated him, but it is hard for the modern reader to divest himself completely of his associations and set a just value on productions so essentially Greek as were the Sophoclean tragedies. It must also be remembered that, as the successor of Aeschylus, he endeavored rather to follow and improve upon his works than to create a new species for himself.

Qualities as a Dramatist

Aeschylus felt what a Greek tragedy ought to be as a religious union of the two elements of the national poetry. Sophocles, with ...

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