Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In The West => Topic started by: roberti on April 04, 2006, 04:15:36 PM



Title: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: roberti on April 04, 2006, 04:15:36 PM
Despite the fact Harmonica looks like an hero cause ''he managed to kill the bad''  I think Harmonica is an Anti Hero for his past  and probably because he is not interested at all in the train Station opportunity.

But you could have another opinion on that and your thoughts about this character from this point of view could help us to understand the enigmatic personality of Harmonica.

Anti Hero:In literature and film, an anti-hero is a central or supporting character that has some of the personality flaws traditionally assigned to villains but nonetheless also has enough heroic qualities or intentions to gain the sympathy of readers or viewers. Anti-heroes can be awkward, obnoxious, passive, pitiful, or obtuse; but they are always, in some fundamental way, flawed or failed heroes. ...


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: The Peacemaker on April 04, 2006, 04:19:38 PM
Anti-hero of course. Most people confuse Harmonica's motivation as wanting to protect Jill. He is only protecting her to get to Frank. Harmonica is not interested in her at all, she even says it herself: " You don't look at all like the noble defender of poor defenseless widows, but then again....I don't look like a poor defenseless widow. "

I agree with you roberti, and by the way, you write english very well!


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: roberti on April 04, 2006, 04:26:18 PM
I did not notice my accent was so obvious in my writing as well!

Thank you. I do my best!


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: The Firecracker on April 04, 2006, 04:36:20 PM
Anti-hero of course. Most people confuse Harmonica's motivation as wanting to protect Jill. He is only protecting her to get to Frank. Harmonica is not interested in her at all, she even says it herself: " You don't look at all like the noble defender of poor defenseless widows, but then again....I don't look like a poor defenseless widow. "



this says it all. Anti-hero for sure.


I can concur on Roberti's writing


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: Tim on April 04, 2006, 10:28:33 PM
  I think part of what makes him an anti-hero, and this might seem obvious, is the revenge factor.  He's obsessed with tracking down Frank and let's nothing stop him.  Peacemaker said it well that Harmonica is just using Jill, although he does grow feelings for her, so he can get to Frank, pure and simple.


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: dave jenkins on April 05, 2006, 11:00:37 AM
Regardless of a character's attributes, a "hero" is the prime mover in a story. This is true regardless of genre: comedy, tragedy, romance, tale of irony. The question of who is the hero in OUATITW is answered through a process of elimination: it can't be Cheyenne, he's a supporting character. It can't be Jill, she's too passive. We are left with Harmonica, the character whose arrival is given special status at the beginning of the film, and whose departure at film's end signals the close of the movie.

The question of whether Harmonica is a hero or anti-hero is really only one of cosmetics.


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: Groggy on April 05, 2006, 06:24:33 PM
Other than beating up Wobbles and maybe the Jill ambush scene I don't see what he does that makes him "anti-".  He isn't a heroic, noble figure, but he isn't a nasty guy (like Monco in FAFDM for instance) either.


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: roberti on April 10, 2006, 11:28:31 AM
Well we could find some more details in the answers you previously gave on the topic below:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=2038.0

Harmonica as a kind of ghostly avenger is a very nice vision.


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: Usaviator on July 27, 2017, 11:36:48 PM
Anti-hero of course. Most people confuse Harmonica's motivation as wanting to protect Jill. He is only protecting her to get to Frank. Harmonica is not interested in her at all, she even says it herself: " You don't look at all like the noble defender of poor defenseless widows, but then again....I don't look like a poor defenseless widow. "

I never thought of looking at the quote in the way you interpreted it.  I took it as Jill was saying in so many words "things aren't always as they appear".   Jill is still young and beautiful and has recently left behind her promiscuous past.  She doesn't look like a poor defenseless widow, but she's not saying that she's not a poor defenseless young widow, just like she's not saying Harmonica isn't a noble defender of poor defenseless widows. 

I have a hard time believing that every protective gesture put towards Jill by Harmonica was only to get to Frank.  I understand that avenging his brothers death is his number one goal throughout the story, but I don't see how every decision he made during the film was only to fulfill his revenge.  I think defending Jill along the way gives him hero-like qualities.  Who knows, maybe SL just breaks the mold in his characters lining up with heroes or anti-heroes.  Maybe they just fit in their own places and can't really be defined as one of the other exclusively. 


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: stanton on July 28, 2017, 06:10:40 AM
All of Leone's main male western protagonists are heroes. A modified hero compared to most other westerns before, one who can do in parts bad things, but still a real hero.

The original concept of the anti-hero in literature is a very different one. The anti hero is passive and fails, he does not have the ability of a hero. Only Noodles can be called an anti-hero, at least in places.


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: Rojo Ramone on September 19, 2017, 03:14:21 PM
If any of Leone's characters are considered "heroes" they're certainly flawed.
All are motivated by money or revenge.

I, personally love that there's no pure "white hats" in his Westerns.
Leone has blurred the lines.

Not sure about FOD since it's been a while since I watched it.


Title: Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
Post by: cigar joe on September 19, 2017, 03:17:55 PM
true