Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Heroism Summary & Analysis

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Contemporary literature is bereft of models of heroism, according to Emerson. To find examples of true heroism, he says, one must read the historical portraits of Plutarch. These "Lives" challenge the "despondency and cowardice of our religious and political theorists," Emerson declares. The essence of heroism is self confidence and its defining characteristic is persistency. Viewed from the standpoint of prudence, heroism often appears "ragged and dangerous," but the individual as well as society require that a man be acquainted with the means and ends of warfare and have the courage to stand up to the mob by "the absolute truth of his speech and the rectitude of his behavior."

Heroism is the product of a supremely balanced mind combined with an unwavering determination to do the right thing, according to Emerson. Therefore, heroism is an extreme expression of individuality, the awareness by a man...

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This section contains 266 words
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Buy the Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Study Guide
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