Each culture does have its individual images of what the ideal hero should be, but for the most part, the general definition of a hero1 is universal and therefore difficult to escape. In the cultural epics of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, and Things Fall Apart the idealistic hero is thoroughly depicted. The Mesopotamian, Ancient Greek, and Nigerian cultures each demonstrate similar heroic characteristics of which a hero should have. .
At the turn of the century the Nigerian people found themselves continuously defending their culture against the British colonials. A typical Nigerian hero would be someone that was known as a "freedom fighter". Freedom fighters were warriors and defenders and were ready for when the British began to occupy their land. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is wealthy and brave. Despite this though he is unable to adjust to the customs of arriving foreigners. Therefore he struggles to understand what it means to be a man in his village. He is a strong like a hero, but he is angry and violent, and this leads to his destruction. Okonkwo is also undeveloped and unable to communicate his emotions and this in turn is his biggest flaw. Taking these flaws into consideration, Okonkwo would be distinguished as a tragic hero. .
Similar to Nigerian culture, the Ancient Greeks were also warriors and defenders of their people. In Greek culture, similar to American culture today, men ran the government because they were considered to be strong and brave. Women had very limited freedom. Olympian athletes also held much respect because of their physical premium. The heroes of Ancient Greece were considered to be the best of people. An Ancient Greek hero would face struggles that looked like he would not be able to overcome but he would then win and complete his quests using the strengths given to him by the gods. Odysseus, the heroic character of The Odyssey, is cunning, brave, and noble. He gains happiness by performing great deeds.