Gérard Bonnet : from tragic hero to ordinary hero

Homer favors two kinds of hero : the hero like Achilles in the Iliad, who glorifies mortal combat and has had many imitators throughout history, and the kind embodied by Ulysses in the Odyssey, in which the hero proves himself by thwarting the obstacles he meets on his way back to his place of origin. On the one hand, we have a struggle between two which, though it certainly brings notoriety, causes the destruction of one of the two parties involved ; on the other hand, we have the hero’s ceaseless combat to save his life and find his place in the city. The first gives precedence to the gaze and is submitted to the requirements of appearances ; the second, on the contrary, first goes after the eye which holds sway over him and takes it apart in order to give himself a name. The adolescent process takes part in theses two discourses at the same time, and presupposes a gradual disengagement from the mastery of sight which reflects back the ideal. Referring to different literary works, the author shows the conditions that make possible this evolution.
Adolescence, 2013, T. 31, n°2, pp. 313-326.