Ambiguous Heroism: Anti-Heroes and the Pharmakon of Justice

Murdoch University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Interactive Media, 2016, (11), pp. 1 - 13 (13)
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
This paper identifies several key anti-heroes and their capacity for questioning how complicated, ambiguous forms of heroism are represented and negotiated in contemporary popular culture. Specifically, the paper uses as case studies three characters at different positions on the anti-hero spectrum – Doctor Who’s eponymous protagonist, the DC Comics superhero Batman, and 24’s anti-terrorist agent Jack Bauer. The paper questions ways in which these texts and their protagonists articulate complex notions of contemporary justice, morality and ethics, achieved partly through their fictional enactments and interrogations of justice and how justice is constituted. The paper attests that these characters complicate audience notions of law and justice, and how the conceptual challenge of the ‘good’/‘evil’ binary results in a more nuanced understanding of this particular form of heroism.
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