Male And Female Heroes: A Literary Analysis

1902 Words8 Pages
Most epic works from almost every culture hold heroes in a high esteem, as well as present heroism as a supremely masculine behaviour. The traditional hero is a virile figure who acts in a noble and virtuous manner, who fuelled by chivalric codes sets aside any thoughts of their own well-being and even performs self-sacrificial acts for the good of others, commonly his king or military leader. Contrasting with that heroic archetype of the traditional male hero mirrored in many epics, women play a small part in the action; the traditional female heroine proved her value and honour as the companion of the male hero. Female heroines were assumed to be virtuous and devoted to their sons and husbands, and they gained heroic strength through isolation. The paradigm of the heroine describes them as delicate, nurturing and motherly women. The traditional female heroine redeem herself and gain recognition by sacrificing her desires and goals. Carol Pearson and Katherine Pope claim that "on the archetypal level the journey to self-discovery is the same for both the male and female hero," (quoted in Gannon) but the fact is that their expected role differs in the way in which male and…show more content…
However, this interpretation obeys to a traditional tendency to examine medieval texts from the masculine perspective. Discussing The Táin as a source to explore the role of women in ancient Ireland allow us to reclaim the woman as a prototype of modern heroine within the early Irish mythology and literature. Women in the early Irish literature have a very powerful presence. They are presented playing different roles and enjoying different degrees of empowerment. Celtic folklore is full of admirably women. Celtic women displayed many different roles: fearsome warriors, tragic heroines, wronged queens, nature goddesses and great female saints of the early Celtic
Open Document