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24. Claim: False hero makes unfounded claims

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Propp's Morphology of the Folk Tale > 24. Claim: False hero makes unfounded claims

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Previous: 23. Arrival: Hero arrives unrecognized

Next: 25. Task: Difficult task proposed to the hero

 

Description

Symbol: L
The false hero, where they appear in the story may arrive before the hero and make claims such as having completed the mission themselves and perhaps that the hero has died along the way, and thus giving reason for the false hero to win the princess. The false hero may also arrive late, openly challenging the hero as being false.

The role of the false hero can be very varied and they can be heroic in their own right. A major difference with the hero is in who gets to marry the princess.

Sometimes the false hero is known as such from early in the story. Sometimes also they are concealed, perhaps masquerading as a friend and helper right up to the last minute. Sometimes the existence of a traitor is known but who is not exposed until the last minute.

Example

In Star Wars, Han says he's going to take the money and run.

Discussion

The false hero helps sustain tension right to the end of the story. They may also be used to demonstrate further the qualities of the hero by providing a foil that is not as obvious as the villain's obvious evil.

The false hero also adds ambiguity to the storyline as you are not sure how heroic they really are or not (and maybe never find out).

See also

 

Previous: 23. Arrival: Hero arrives unrecognized

Next: 25. Task: Difficult task proposed to the hero

 

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