Punisher: Hero or Villain?

Posted by Mr. Wilson (6322 posts) - - Show Bio

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

Pronunciation:  \ˈhir-(ˌ)ō\

Function:  noun

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.

#1 Posted by wolvie (12 posts) - - Show Bio

this is good Mr.Wilson he is infact a hero that is true but i never really liked Castle but i hope he appears in MUA 2

#2 Posted by Strong Bad (3 posts) - - Show Bio

wow...that was a nice blog

#3 Posted by Misfortune (41 posts) - - Show Bio

he has the intentions of a hero but handles it in a manner that some ppl classify as a villain. i personally believe the Punisher is a hero in his own way and makes his own category. wow-hes a trendsetter o_O

#4 Posted by Red L.A.M.P. (2828 posts) - - Show Bio

Great post.  Question... if you don't care if you live or die and you put yourself into a deadly situation is it still courage?  Or does courage require you to wager something you are afraid to lose?

Staff
#5 Posted by sora_thekey (8150 posts) - - Show Bio

WOW I liked it!

Moderator
#6 Posted by Mr. Wilson (6322 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks guys! 

Red L.A.M.P. here ya go:

courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Franks does this so I guess it does count.  lol

#7 Posted by Super-Buster (2358 posts) - - Show Bio

Not sure I agree with your bottom line but this is a well put-together blog. Gratz.

#8 Posted by Super-Buster (2358 posts) - - Show Bio

Just thought of something: what if you did the same thing except substitute "hero" for "villain"? I wonder what score he could have then.

#9 Posted by Mr. Wilson (6322 posts) - - Show Bio
Super-Buster said:
"Not sure I agree with your bottom line but this is a well put-together blog. Gratz."

Thanks!  I had to put it in though.  lol
#10 Posted by G-Man (30240 posts) - - Show Bio

BTW I mailed out the comics today. 

Staff
#11 Posted by Mr. Wilson (6322 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow.  Thank you sir! 

#12 Posted by Roxanne Starr (9093 posts) - - Show Bio

No wonder you have so many friends, Mr. Wilson!...Boy, you put a lot of work into your posts!

OFF-TOPIC ALERT!!!!

Now I'll ask you directly (since I posted about this on my forum and nobody voiced an opinion)...are YOU at all interested in either DARK REIGN or the new DARK AVENGERS series? The reason I ask is because none of the customers at the comics store had added these titles to their subscriptions.

Rx

#13 Posted by Morte Rapida (1614 posts) - - Show Bio

Punisher is one of my favorite characters,

He is a hero, I read all his monthly titles.  If you have read a few WAR ZONES or WAR JOURNALS you would see the types of people he kills.  Punisher is a dark disturbed character which is based off a strong sense of realism.

At the end of the day, he kills bad guys, he just circumvents the system.

#14 Posted by Kyriakos (164 posts) - - Show Bio

He is a hero. but a really dark hero with a past full of pain.

#15 Posted by Zoom (14668 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not convinced the Punisher leaves the world a better place more than half the time.

He's completely willing to kill children if they steal.  That's not heroic.

#16 Posted by Mr. Wilson (6322 posts) - - Show Bio
Roxanne Starr said:
"No wonder you have so many friends, Mr. Wilson!...Boy, you put a lot of work into your posts!

OFF-TOPIC ALERT!!!!

Now I'll ask you directly (since I posted about this on my forum and nobody voiced an opinion)...are YOU at all interested in either DARK REIGN or the new DARK AVENGERS series? The reason I ask is because none of the customers at the comics store had added these titles to their subscriptions.

Rx"

lol

Thanks.

I do love almost all the Dark Reign stuff.  I'm surprised more people haven't added new stuff.



Zoom said:
"I'm not convinced the Punisher leaves the world a better place more than half the time.

He's completely willing to kill children if they steal.  That's not heroic."

If you notice, in one of the MAX issues he was very depressed that he accidentally killed a child so I don't think he'd kill a child for stealing.  Maybe a 17 or 18 year old but not a child.
#17 Posted by Detective (524 posts) - - Show Bio

hes Neither

#18 Posted by batpool (414 posts) - - Show Bio

I would like to call him a Heroicbadguy. All one word.

#19 Posted by the Vica (1967 posts) - - Show Bio
batpool said:
"I would like to call him a Heroicbadguy. All one word."
How bout just Anti-Hero? :P

Nice blog though. I'm not THAT into the Punisher, although his reaction to Cap beating his face in was one of the highlights of Civil War for me. I'm sure if I read more of Frank I'd love his character.
#20 Posted by Just L (139 posts) - - Show Bio

i say hes in between

#21 Posted by Colossus666 (259 posts) - - Show Bio

He kills bad guys.  He rids the marvel universe of evil.  Yup, he is a hero.

#22 Posted by albanmanson (1800 posts) - - Show Bio

He's a anti hero ...an antihero is a protagonist whose character and goals are antithetical to classical heroism...he kill those who he views as deserving of death.

#23 Posted by scorpion123 (20 posts) - - Show Bio

i would have to say netrual because he protects the innocent but yet he kills criminals

#24 Edited by Storm Rider (165 posts) - - Show Bio
@Mr. Wilson said:
"


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 not 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 view as antihero/psycho.  What is the difference?  Nothing. 

"
 
Let me preface this by asking everyone to look at this argument rationally and not emotionally and to please respond accordingly. This is not a moral valuation, just an observation.

Frank has a strict code of not putting innocent people in harm's way. He only kills the bad guys. His war is very specific: kill bad guys, leave innocents unharmed. A large scale war isn't nearly so discriminate. Some may argue that this would make him a more heroic figure than the people who declare war on entire nations.

The reason some people get uncomfortable about the idea of the vigilante or the anti-hero is because it hits a little close to home if you start to draw comparisons like this. If a lone guy decides on his own to wage war, he's called a psycho. If a leader has popular sentiment on his side, he's called a hero. End result is the same: people die. Is one more moral than the other because it's done in the name of the "greater good"?

#25 Posted by Mr. Wilson (6322 posts) - - Show Bio
@batpool said:
"I would like to call him a Heroicbadguy. All one word."

Nice.
#26 Edited by Brit (372 posts) - - Show Bio

For me, Frank never thought of himself as a hero, he just kills the bad guys. With that there will be results: those whom the bad guys hurt are avenged and those that will be hurt are protected.  Plus I agree with batpool: Heroicbadguy!! Lol.

#27 Posted by stork101 (16 posts) - - Show Bio

castle is a hero that fights fire with fire plus hes a vietnam vet killing comes easy

#28 Posted by Sidney (1272 posts) - - Show Bio

He a hero he only kills bad people.
#29 Posted by BiteMe-Fanboy (7496 posts) - - Show Bio

anti-hero. hero and villain at the same time. stops crime and criminals. but kills them which would lean him towards a villain.

#30 Posted by Omega Ray Jay (7561 posts) - - Show Bio

anti-hero.

#31 Edited by kev17 (332 posts) - - Show Bio

how can anyone say frank is a hero? he couldnt care less about innocent people all he wants to do is kill. in comparison with batman or daredevil, who genuinely do care,  
hes a serial killer, end of the day.  he kills daredevil. he kills thieving children. AND he destroys all of  humanity in punisher:The End.
 
he gives into his killer instinct, so that he can fight a war foever. nothings said  about protecting the innocent. read punisher born. its all in those pages. 
 
 
and thats not a bad thing either. makes him even more interesting if you ask me. 

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