The flawed heroes we love.
If you were new to this planet and western culture in particular, you might be fooled into believing that humans seek perfection in their objects of desire both physically and in character. I assure you this is not the case. If those new arrivals to Earth invested a little time watching our favorite movies, reading our favorite books and most educational of all-if they took the time to actually fall in love with a human, they would see this mythic search for perfection doesn’t have a biological leg to stand on.
As a species, humans secretly love and embrace flaws. Simply said flaws are part of individuation, they make us who we are. Our flaws are often our strengths in disguise. They often represent unique qualities and something that cannot be erased. On a planet filled with nearly seven billion people, flaws help us stand out in a crowd.
One of my favorite flawed heroes is Edward Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”. I fell for this guy big time. He’s dark, guarded, brooding, and slightly bow legged with a barrel chest. He’s a gallant liar, a tease and a trickster. At heart he’s basically a decent man who has been abused by life. His tragedies are epic but he does pause to do some good deeds along the way. He cannot outrun his fate and by the end of the story he has lost his ancestral home, his fortune, his right arm and his left eye but he gains Jane’s love and respect in the process and becomes one of fiction’s most memorably flawed heroes.
In movies Clint Eastwood has mastered the art of the flawed hero. The Harry Callahan character comes to mind. Clint plays a “loner” with such strong magnetism that the more he pushes people away the closer they come-often at their peril. We watch the inevitable drama unfold when Harry Callahan heroically makes a choice to go it alone and spare others his fate but because every body loves a hero, they tag along anyway and get hurt. Oh well, Harry warned them…
Did Rhett Butler’s character flaws stop any of you from dreaming about what it would feel like to be obsessively pursued by a dashing man who had that much charisma? Did Clark Gable’s sparkling green eyes and strapping frame scooping a woman off her feet and marching her up the staircase to be ravished-turn you off? I thought not. Rhett had some pretty difficult personal vices. He smoked, drank, gambled, lied, whored, took his daughter out of the country and generally showed bad co-parenting skills. Quite frankly, in real life I would give a damn. But Rhett’s flaws both in fiction and on the screen made him appear incredibly real as if we actually knew this man.
The bottom line: Flaws set us apart and make our virtues look all the more sweeter.
Who is your favorite flawed hero?
XXOO Katalina Leon.