Top 10 Typical Hero Characteristics

Looking to create a traditional heroic archetype for your story? Then you must absolutely bless him or her with one of these hero characteristics that can be found in almost every protagonist that’s ever lived. Even though we all know that they say everybody is the hero of their own story, it’s safe to say that the task isn’t one that quite everybody can live up to. Get your pens out for this one. Be warned, though – you might be treading a cliché territory.

Hero Characteristics


#1 Courage

Perhaps the most common of them all, the courage displayed by our story heroes only reinforces the fact that no protagonist who runs away from danger to cower in a corner can be called a hero. Even if this bravery isn’t represented by picking up a sword and marching towards your foes to slash them, courage in any kind of form is what sets these heroes apart in a world where cowardice is the easy route picked by many.

#2 Dead Parents

Remember, we’re talking about hero characteristics, not just traits. And if DC or Marvel heroes are anything to go by, we can all conclude that it’s unacceptable for our protagonists to be anything but tragic. Somehow, it seems like living parents are considered some sort of burden on the journey of our hero. Understandable, we suppose. Saving the world would be pretty difficult when you’re pestered to do the dishes.

#3 Heart of Gold

Of course, in order to be a hero, you need to be a good guy. This implies that the character needs to be in possession of a pretty strict moral compass that discourages, along with other things, murder and mayhem, but encourages mercy. A hero will always fight for the weak ones and wish to protect them.

#4 Honesty

The honesty of a hero is reflected in much more than the mere act of not lying about what happened to your homework. In fact, these are situations when lies might actually slip through. When being honest, a hero speaks truthful about their own wrongdoings and admits to their mistakes.

Hero Characteristics


#5 Martyrdom

If there’s one thing that countless of forms of media have taught us, it’s that heroes aren’t afraid to toss their safety (and even lives) to the side for the sake of greater good. There are many heroes that are also martyrs, if not for the fact that we see so many of them ready to sacrifice themselves to save a population from impending doom.

#6 Humility

Let’s ignore Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne for a moment. Most heroes rise from nothing. They’ve either been poor or raised in dire conditions and, now, with their newfound calling, they’re able to save numerous lives without it getting to their head.

#7 Determination

A common trajectory for a traditional hero is to be faced with obstacles and hardships throughout their journey. Without a will of steel and determination, it’s impossible to overcome the challenges laid before you. Pick yourself no matter how many times you fail, that’s the motto of our heroes.

#8 Responsibility

“With great power, comes great…” You know the rest of it. Responsibility in a hero comes in many forms. However, in most cases, it’s forced upon the hero and it becomes a pivotal part in their personal development.

#9 Loyalty

Loyalty can come in several forms. Whether we’re talking about the fierce loyalty displayed for friends and the people they hold close or the faithfulness towards their own beliefs, there’s no denying that heroes are unshakeable in their attachment to a cause or person.

#10 Growth

Last but not least, heroes are always intended to be relatable. They manage to do so by being human and flawed and, in almost all instances, they grow throughout their journey and better themselves. Heroes are the people we wish we could be, and the fact that they learn from their flaws and mistakes makes them all the more relatable.

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