Stephen, I think you bring up an important point that is often missed. So often the Hero is seen as an image, as opposed to a potential aspect of the individual’s character. In Jungian-speak this would the archetypal image, not the archetype itself. In other words, the Hero is an aspect of our true nature that if “awakened” can change us, the life we live, and the lives of others in significant ways.
The Hero as an image gets a lot of press; (especially if there is fame or notoriety involved). But my sense of it is the Hero is not a concretized pattern like a figure to be modeled after, but a dimension of the individual human spirit that is potential in everyone. Anyone has the potential to be a hero; and this is what speaks to us from the depths of our soul. That at any moment something can happened that can call forth from the depths of our experience our ability to rise to the call that beckons us forth if we answer it. It doesn’t have to be saving a child from a burning building but also someone fighting cancer. It is the potential dimension within us that tells us something just won’t do, and we must rise to the challenge of dealing with it.
If you lost your house, if you lost a loved one, if you lost your world can you create a new one from the ashes. Can you be Prometheus that steals the fire from the gods, can you be Jesus that has compassion for those suffering you see around you. Can you pick yourself up and go on when all seems lost from some catastrophe you have suffered? These are just a “tiny few” of the possibilities of the Hero that lies within all of us. Can we summon this aspect of ourselves forth is the question?
Joseph talked about many versions of the Hero and many different applications as well. But to me it has as much to do with the individual circumstances and how this concept is understood within one’s own life; but that’s certainly not the only aspect of the Hero character or what its’ application might be, but one I’ve heard most often in everyday life. (Stephen or anyone else may have more to add on this.)