So he kills people. He wears a skull on his chest. He uses guns. This description doesn’t exactly match the stereotypes that most people think of when they hear the word hero. So is the Punisher a hero? Before you answer that you need to know what a hero truly means. Let’s see if Frank earns the mantle of hero or villain.
The following is the definition of hero from Webster’s Dictionary.
Main Entry: he·ro
Inflected Form(s): plural heroes
Etymology: Latin heros, from Greek hērōs
Date: 14th century
1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b: an illustrious warrior
c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
d: one that shows great courage
2 a: the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work
b: the central figure in an event, period, or movement
3plural usually heros : submarine2
4: an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol
Now that we know what hero means, let’s compare.
1a. For this first defintion it calls for a legendary figure. Frank Castle is legendary, his war on crime is what makes him that. He could also be an urban myth to those who are too arrogant or who want to believe he is to build a false sense of comfort. These beliefs are usually proved wrong and those criminals soon learn a lesson after they get pumped of lead. In the second part it calls for him to be of divine descent. His name is Frank Castle. He may not be of this descent literally but his last name could figuratively mean divinitiy. Coincidence? Possibly, but it fits. In the final part it says the character must be endowed with great strength or ability. The Punisher is in great shape physically, maybe peak, but what is even stronger is his will and mentality. A man who can take several cracked ribs, be injected with poisons, and survive in an explosion who without having a healing factor and can keep coming until the deed is done is truly strong. Even when he knows that his mission to eradicate all crime will never be completed he still moves on. Frank's ability is unquestionable. Any man who can go into a room full of mobsters with a pistol and walk away from it has ability. 'Nuff said.
So far Frank is 1 for 1.
b. Franks is illustrious. Illustrious means to be brilliantly outstanding because of dignity or achievements or actions (this is from Websters as well). Frank has dignity for himself. He holds himself in a state to where he can keep going no matter what and keeps this promise for his lost family. The Punishers achievements and actions are grand and unbelievable. He has destroyed many mad-men and saved many people. Also illustrious can mean to be bright. Well this can mean several things. He could be the bright hope to some innocent person or it could mean the glaring stare of his white skull. As for the warrior part, I shouldn't even have to explain.
2 for 2.
c. Some people admire Frank for his life saving abilities but most see him at best as a crazy vigilante. Criminals see him as a merchant of death and do not look too highly upon him. For arguments sake, I'll give this to the naysayers.
2 for 3.
d. Anyone who can hold their own against the whole criminal empire or even think of doing it has got courage. Few people could do what he does and do it again without peeing their pants.
3 for 4.
2a. Frank is the main character of his story so yes this definition works.
b. He has been the central figure of many crime busts and is a character who has earned the vigilante.
4 for 5.
3. ..................................... We won't count this one.
4. Some people do admire him for his skills as a marksmen and courageous man. Spider-Man has his respect and other costumed vigilantes have come around to him. The people he has saved also are usually thankful. Some people resent him though so we'll put this against him.
4 for 6.
Okay it wasn't a perfect score. Surprised? I'm not. Look at others we classify as heroes. Spider-Man could have easily gotten this very score. Batman as well. Frank is in the same category. These are the misunderstood heroes and maybe he's not exactly the picture we have for hero but he scored a better than average score. If this isn't even enough, look at the U.S. We voted to go at war with the terrorists who destroyed many loved ones and our sense of security on the fateful day of 9/11. The Punisher's story is npt different. Men took up arms and gunned down his loved ones and he vowed war on all criminals, deciding to punish them. The U.S. killed people in their war. So did Punisher. The U.S. found that terrorism would never be destroyed. Frank found that crime would never die. They are exactly the same! The people we call heroes are the exact same as a person most veiw as antihero/psycho. What is the difference? Nothing.
I hope I have convinced by now but bottom line the guy saves people and leaves the world a better place, he is a hero.