Hero vs. Byronic Hero
September 8, 2009 @ 8:08 pm (Permalink)
As a WWII junkie, I read about Sugihara Chiune several months ago on Wikipedia, and because of his interesting life story, I decided to buy and watch this wonderful documentary called Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness.
I ended up really liking the documentary (I highly recommend it!) and am again amazed how one person can impact a lot of people or the whole world. Sugihara is basically a Japanese Oskar Schindler. Like Schindler, his actions in Lithuania (he issued out transit visas to many Jewish people) allowed many Jewish refugees to escape to Japan where they then were moved to Shanghai for the duration of the war. Like Schindler, Sugihara’s been recognised by the Yad Vashem and is so far the only Japanese person to be honoured as a Righteous Among the Nations.
Unlike Schindler, though, Sugihara helped out the Jewish people with no intents of gaining anything back from them, unlike Schindler who originally wanted to use the Jewish people as unpaid labourers and benefit from the profit. This is where I am contemplating on something. Both of them are heroes who saved many people lives. However, which of them are more fun to study? More fun to try to write as a character? I see Sugihara as a normal hero with many Samurai traits in him (his mother was from a middle-class Samurai family), and I see Schindler as a Byronic hero of some sort. I mean, not only did Schindler wanted to profit from the war, but he was a womaniser, a drinker, and pretty much a scheming man only wanting to take care of himself. Simply put, Schindler was not a saint, making Sugihara look like one when compared to him.
Of course, it’s not fair to compare them both, but from a literary perspective, from a character analyser’s perspective, it’s actually pretty interesting. Personally, I think Schindler would be more fun to portray, but Sugihara with his Samurai background and his love for travelling and knowledge also interests me.
Hmmm. Just something to think about.