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The Action Hero

The Action Hero is a recent version of the Melodramatic Hero developed as an Americanized form of entertainment and based in part on elements derived from the Classical Hero. The Classical Hero is the basic heroic type, characterized by outlandish courage and daring exploits. This hero "larger than life" character who also stands as an archetype of symbolic good. The Classical Hero is also a mythic hero associated with legend. The Action Hero is more human and is involved in situations that are more natural. An example of the Classical Hero can be found in the title character of The Mark of Zorro (1920), while the Action Hero can be found in the main character in Speed (1994). The two heros show a number of contrasts in their behavior and in their origins.

Zorro is a mythic character in the pattern of Robin Hood, protecting the poor against the depredations of a self-serving and evil authority, and himself a member of the aristocracy who sees protecting the poor as part of the responsibilities placed upon him by his birthright. Zorro is the mythic hero of early Los Angeles, when the latter was only a small pueblo surrounded by farms and feudal estates. Because of the oppressive rule of the alcalde, who had been put in charge by the Spanish, but who ruled for his own gain rather than in keeping with the intentions of the King in Spain. This is very similar to the situation in England during the era of Robin Hood when the rightful ruler was far away and when the rule had devolved to his brother and other representatives who worked for their own benefit and not for the benefit of the people or the nation.

Even within the context of the story, Zorro is a mythic character who appears as if from nowhere and then disappears in the same way. No one knows his identity, and yet he always seems to appear when needed. The dual identity of the hero is established in this film, a pattern that would be emulated in other Classical-o...

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The Action Hero. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:19, July 04, 2022, from