8 Feb 2009 23:51 UTCSun 8 Feb 2009 - 11:51 pm UTC
Why do we like Rocky, the man? Although a subjective issue, let's say that he is a loser in his personal life, and not particularly a winner in his professional life (even ignoring his loss to Dixon, his win/loss record is hardly outstanding). Although some of his attributes are likeable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_balboa#Character_origin), I presume there must be some classical hero-like traits that appeal to the viewer.
Rocky doesn't seem to be a tragic hero (I don't think his flaws are what he overcomes to win - they belong to a different world, which is his personal life). You could say he is an epic hero, but unlike other epic heroes, Rocky has a big loser side to him.
So what is it about such an obvious loser that makes him seem not a loser? Why is Rocky aspirational? Particularly, I am looking for an answer in the context of literature as a whole (e.g. compared to other heroes or stories).
Addendum: how does Randy the Ram Robinson fit in to this? He is a loser in his personal life, and his work life is in perpetual has-been mode. He doesn't even have the type of comeback that Rocky has.
16 Feb 2009 07:12 UTCMon 16 Feb 2009 - 7:12 am UTC
I don't think that a full comparison of Rocky Balboa can be made with Randy the Ram, due to the lack of information we have on him. Much of what makes Rocky likeable comes in the story of his rise from obscurity, but in the case of Randy, we do not know how he came to rise to the ranks of a wrestling superstar, or even how he fell from them (perhaps some day the movie makers will try to cash in and release an in-character Randy "The Ram" Robinson "shoot video"?). All we know is that he was a star 20 years ago, and now he is not, and it is from that point of view that we learn all of our knowledge of the character.
The best we could do is to compare common character traits, but I don't feel that we would be able to get the full story from that alone.