The Role Of The Hero In Horror — страница 2

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formula for a hero. Despite coming in contact with the murderers numerous times he never gets hurt, and he manages to save the day by discovering Caligari s evil plot. But, since one must look at the story as a whole, it is apparent that, as a whole, Francis does not fit into the classic hero formula. The outside frame is a better indicator of his true character than the inside frame because the inside frame is just his fantasy and most people are heroes in their fantasies even if they are not one in real life. In the novel The Castle Otronto by Horace Walpole, like in the movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the classic hero formula is challenged even though certain variables fall into place. In this novel the hero, Theodore, is first introduced as a peasant who is believed to

have been responsible for the death of the prince s son. Thus the classic villain, Prince Manfred, puts him into jail. After escaping from jail Theodore helps a young maiden, Isabella, to escape from Manfred who is old enough to be her father, yet wants to marry her. While helping Isabella to escape her evil pursuer Theodore gets recaptured and jailed. This act puts him in the company of the most chivalrous of heroes. Once Theodore is recaptured Manfred sentences him to be beheaded for murder. But, his death is delayed because right before Theodore is about to be beheaded it is discovered that he is actually the son of a nobleman, Father Jerome. Jerome saves Theodore s life by promising to get Manfred a divorce from his current wife, Hippolita, and marry him to Isabella. Up to

this point in the story Theodore perfectly fits into the classic hero formula. Unfortunately, this formula begins to fall apart and Theodore moves away from the classic hero. Theodore, once again, comes to the rescue of Isabella when she is, again, forced to flee from Manfred and the castle. However, he begins to slip from the definition of a hero when he nearly fatally wounds her father in an attempt to save her. This is not something that happens to the average hero. Killing a girl s only immediate family is not a good way to impress her and win her undying love. But, then it is discovered that Theodore does not love Isabella! Rather, he loves Matilda; but she is the daughter of Manfred the very man who wanted to kill him. In the classic hero formula this would mean that

Theodore and Matilda would run away together and live happily ever after, but, alas, this is not to be. Instead, Matilda is accidentally murdered by her own father. Poor Theodore, he s valiantly tried to follow the hero formula, but it just won t work out for him. His only true love is dead, he didn t even get the chance to save her, and he is extremely unhappy. Then, he ends up marrying, Isabella, a girl he doesn t really love. This is definitely not the classic hero formula; everything seems to go wrong for the supposed hero, Theodore, and he doesn t get his expected happy ending. Since neither of the characters in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari nor The Castle Otronto fit into the classic hero formula, it is important to evaluate if they are truly heroes. Before evaluating whether

or not they are truly heroes it is necessary to decide if the stories need a hero. In order to decide this, it is important to look at fiction as a whole and not just individual stories. Is there an effective way to develop the plot of a fiction story without involving a hero figure in the plot? No, there is not. To look at a specific example: if The Castle Otronto did not have a hero figure Isabella would have been captured and forced to marry Manfred right away. If this happened the story would have been over in the first thirty pages, because all of the action and intrigue would be gone. As the story stands, with Theodore as the hero, it is interesting and makes the reader want to continue reading as the story continues to a climatic ending. Whether the story is a mystery,

romance, science fiction, or something else there must be a hero figure in order for the story to develop. The key part of this concept is recognizing that the story does not need a hero , but just a hero figure. In both of the stories above mentioned, the character in question does fill at least one of the variables of the hero formula giving him the qualities necessary to be a hero figure, but not a full-scale hero . It is now important to evaluate why these hero figures do not fit into the classic hero formula and how this affects the story as a whole. One of the reasons that the characters of Francis and Theodore do not fit into the hero formula is the type of literature in which they appear. Horror literature is bound to be vastly different than romance literature for the