Reluctant Hero

The reluctant hero is a heroic archetype described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero With a Thousand Faces:

"The hero may refuse the adventure or deny the ability to move beyond the status quo. The heralded event may even be ignored – All of these constitute the ‘Refusal of the Call.’ The use of magical intervention is then needed to plunge the hero into the unknown. The reluctant hero requires supernatural forces to urge him on, while the willing adventurer gathers amulets (magical items) and advice from the protector as aid for the journey."

The reluctant hero is typically portrayed either as an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances which require him to rise to heroism, or as a person with extraordinary abilities who nonetheless evinces a desire to avoid using those abilities for the benefit of others. In either case, the reluctant hero does not initially seek adventure or the opportunity to do good, and their apparent selfishness may draw them into the category of antiheroes. The reluctant hero differs from the antihero in that the story arc of the former inevitably results in their becoming a true hero.

In many stories, the reluctant hero is portrayed as having a period of doubt after his initial foray into heroism. This may be brought about by the negative consequences of his own heroic actions, or by the achievement of some position of personal safety - leaving the audience to wonder whether he will return to heroism at the moment when he is needed the most. Campbell describes this as the "Rescue from Without", where "The reluctant hero loses all desire to abandon his bliss, he does not want to take on the burdens of the world. Someone or thing may facilitate his miraculous return from apparent death. An overriding reason is necessary to bring the hero back to the world to save it."

Read more about Reluctant Hero:  Examples

Other articles related to "reluctant hero":

Reluctant Hero - Examples
... Segal characterizes Arjuna from the Hindu epic The Mahabharata as a reluctant hero ... Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of The Hobbit, starts and behaves as a reluctant hero for most of the story ... protagonists of the Wheel of Time, is a reluctant hero for the vast majority of the series - the first twelve of fourteen books - and accepts his role after a sort of revelation or religious experience ...
Donald Bradman - Test Career - Reluctant Hero
... At this point, Bradman had played 15 Test matches since the beginning of 1930, scoring 2,227 runs at an average of 131 ... He had played 18 innings, scoring 10 centuries, six of which had extended beyond 200 ...

Famous quotes containing the words hero and/or reluctant:

    But then in novels the most indifferent hero comes out right at last. Some god comes out of a theatrical cloud and leaves the poor devil ten thousand-a-year and a title.
    Anthony Trollope (1815–1882)

    My reluctant charity shames both me and the recipient.
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)