Antihero: a main character in a book, play, movie, etc., who does not have the usual good qualities that are expected in a hero. First Use: 1714 – Merriam Webster Dictionary.
The anti hero has always appealed to me much more so then the traditional hero. My best example of the traditional hero would be Superman or the original Lone Ranger. Your typical guy in the white hat that always wins the day and always gets the girl. The type of guy that the public adores and they build statues of and write songs about to honor. The kind of guy that has that charming smile and stunning good looks. The type of hero that uses violence only to defend the helpless and innocent and even then he uses ‘just enough’ cause he wouldn’t want to end up ‘like the villain’.
What a load of bullshit. I could never relate to that even on a good day.
The antihero on the other hand is someone like Josey Wales, in the Clint Eastwood movie ‘The Outlaw Josie Wales’ or Wolverine. Here are characters that aren’t gonna win you over with their charm or exhibit the typical ‘knight in shining armor’ qualities. They’re characters bent on revenge, either because they were wronged in some way or because someone they love was wronged. They’re not out to save the world, in general, because they’re great guys and strive to do things for the ‘greater good’. They use violence as a means to an end and have no qualms with killing to resolve a problem. They typically have no desire for fame and are loners by nature. But in the end the anti hero gets things done and sometimes he gets it done when a traditional hero couldn’t pull the trigger.
The antihero is more appealing because he/she is flawed just like we all are in real life. Whether its a drinking problem, anti-social behavior or self-serving interests or etc. the antihero isn’t perfect nor does he try to personify unrealistic ideals of chivalry and bravery. The antihero doesn’t always get it done right the first time, but keeps trying despite the odds. The antihero can say and do things that someone like Superman would never do. The antihero will sooner slug the corrupt politican or jack ass boss in the face at the end of the story. I think anyone that’s worked for a living can relate to that…
Clint Eastwood has made a career out of playing anti hero characters from the ‘man with no name’ in his Spaghetti Westerns to his Dirty Harry movies. Even in Gran Torino he was an antihero, albeit a senior citizen one… And to me his roles epitomize the idea.
I find it interesting that the word was first used back in the 18th century. At least that’s the first written use of it. It’s interesting to think that the whole idea has probably been around since humanity first came into existence.