Heroic Narratives?

I have been wanting to get some development on the project done these last few weeks, but I have been distracted by the day-to-day responsibilities of a college professor that have been nickel-and-diming my time. An interesting product of these distractions, however, has been a new general studies course examining the role of the hero in Western culture, with a primary focus on texts in the German tradition. I thought that, since most video games use a heroic figure as a means of inserting a player into the game space and for advancing gameplay, an examination of a recent video game hero, say, Commander Shepard of Mass Effect 2 fame would also be in order for the class.

But thinking about player agency, and how it could potentially trouble the emergence of a heroic narrative, got me to thinking about how current heroes are structured, what it means to be a hero today, and if contemporary heroic narratives differ from traditional ones. How is Beowulf different from/similar to Commander Shepard? Nothing really structured at this moment, but some good questions that could be thrown around in a seminar. Perhaps a more solid idea will emerge from discussion with the seminar participants.

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