Conflict of hero: fighting for the sake of fighting?

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Conflict of hero: fighting for the sake of fighting? What is the real notion of hero? How does that meaning vary in different cultures or different periods of time? For me, having been raised in the country with strong communist background, hero means first of all to be eager to give up your life for other people’s future. Me and my classmates were fed all those great examples of people fighting during Second World War sacrificing their lives and not even dare to look for any kind of reward other then admitting them into “hero ranks” of their “great” country. Fighting for reward was not hero like behavior. I realize though that this understanding of hero was more due to the norms and obligations of certain time and society. In “The Iliad” hero is noted for his courage and strength and desire to fight especially if they risk their life or put it in any kind of danger. But at the same time Homer also pays great attention to rewards, heroes get for their fighting. As well as fighting for their personal glory in people’s eyes. The eagerness to sacrifice their life seems to be a little similar to what I used to believe in school. So even in different time periods and different cultures there are seem to be some parallels in understanding what word “hero” means for people. From first view two epics “The Iliad” and “Bhagavad-Gita” looked so entirely different for me. Two completely distant cultures, huge difference in religion, Achilles, who has very little pity for man who will be dying because of his desire of revenge and Arjuna, who is opposing his fight for grief and compassion for people he is fighting against. What kind of motivation each of them has to fight? What glory and honor mean for Achilles and Arjuna? Can it be that they start their fights from different direction but end up fighting with the same purpose, for the same idea? Achilles has a great

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