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The Contender
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Harrison Bergeron is an anti-hero

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Started: 8/24/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 184 times Debate No: 94962
Debate Rounds (4)
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FIrst round is acceptence. No new arguments in the final round.


Harrison Bergeron IS the anti-hero. No debate needed.
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to start by thanking Tlowe for accepting this debate and for initiating a most riveting discussion. All my many fans who follow all of my debates closely hoping to learn from one of the best debaters on the site might be wondering what I am doing by debating such a random topic with a noob such as thus. The answer to this question is that TLowe is a school friend, and during English today we got in an argument over whether the character Harrison Bergeron in the Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" (full text at [1]) was an anti-hero or a hero. I said that he was a hero, he said that he was an anti-hero. So we are debating it on here because Tyler was fascinated by the site due to the many stories such as Bornofgod, vi_spex, conspiracies, and dramas that I tell him about.

Regardless, in order to constitute Harrison (as I will henceforth refer to the character) as either a hero or an anti-hero, it is necessary to first discuss the semantics and etymology of the term.

Semantics being the branch of linguistics concerned with the meaning of words, it is paramount that we evaluate the *meaning* of a hero and an anti-hero. Because we cannot see into the minds of other language speaking individuals and since meanings differ profoundly relative to the community, looking back at original texts of the language is the most empirical way of evaluating its meaning [4]. As far as in the English speaking world, the most insightful look at the meaning of a hero can be traced back to Homer, writer of the great epics such as The Odyssey and the Iliad. "A name given (as in Homer) to men of supernatural strength, courage, or ability, favoured by the gods; at a later time regarded as intermediate between gods and men, and immortal. The later notion included men of renown, supposed to be deified on account of great and noble deeds, for which they were also venerated generally or locally; also demigods, said to be of the offspring of a god or goddess and a human being; the two classes being to a great extent coincident." [4]

In the story Harrison is described as having supernatural strength, courage, and ability (which is expounded on later), and was deified (by the reader) on account of great deeds. Thus, by semantical meaning, Harrison *is* a hero.

The etymology or historical origin of the word hero comes from the Greek O73;`1;`9;`2; (hēr!3;s), or "hero, warrior." [2] It was often associated with those of divine heritage, or given divine honors such as Hercules. The Old French term of "heroe" was associated with "a man of superhuman strength or physical courage," whilst the Latin term heros referred to "demi-god, illustrious man." [3]

In general, the term of "hero" originated from societies which valued strength and courage. In Greek society a hero would be that who is divine; and we can see from Greek mythology that this refers to those who exhibit strength and courage. One such case would be Hercules, of whom showed great courage in fighting and killing a lion, and is depicted in Greek art as incredibly beautiful and strong.

These same characteristics represent Harrison in the story. Harrison is forced to wear a red rubber ball for a nose, shaved eyebrows, and black caps for his teeth. Vonnegut comments even comments that he is a, "man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder." His brute strength is shown by his ability to rip off his handicaps, "like tissue paper" and carry 300 pounds worth of weights around everyday. Harrison's courage is obvious as he risks his life to defy the authority of the government and dare to be beautiful.

Harrison *intrinsically* represents the etymological meaning of the word hero, thus, Harrison *is* a hero.

At least in literature though, authors use heroes and anti-heroes to achieve a certain effect on the reader. An anti-hero is, as Writer's Digest explains perfectly, "a protagonist who is as flawed or more flawed than most characters; he is someone who disturbs the reader with his weaknesses yet is sympathetically portrayed, and who magnifies the frailties of humanity." Winston Smith from 1984 would be an anti-hero due to his weakness; varicose ulcer, skinny, can"t touch his toes, etc. The reader sympathizes with the character due to these traits. How does the character of Harrison Bergeron align with any of these traits? Harrison Begeron is supposed to represent the strengths and beauty of humanity in contrast to the handicaps that seek to reduce humanity to frailty. Harrison is the exact *opposite* of an anti-hero, he is a hero.

Peace and Love



False. Harrison Bergeron IS the anti-hero.
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Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Hayd 1 month ago
Look at these
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