Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Classics in the Modern WorldA Democratic Turn?$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2020

Truth, Justice, and the Spartan Way

Truth, Justice, and the Spartan Way

Freedom and Democracy in Frank Miller’s 300

(p.380) (p.381) 26 Truth, Justice, and the Spartan Way
Classics in the Modern World

George A. Kovacs

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores an ideologically-charged nexus between the traditions of the battle of Thermopylae and the American superhero comic. The comics medium is inherently inclusive and democratic. Yet, these depictions are problematic: Superman and Captain America articulate their democratic values through violence, not by debate. The superhero, an elite enforcer rather than a petitioner for social change, has often been depicted as antithetical to democracy: agent of chaos, anarchy, and even fascism. Miller’s graphic novel 300, published two years before 9/11, is replete with such contradictions. It positions Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylae as superhero defenders of a proto-democratic Greece, and yet fascist in their pursuit of ‘freedom’. Miller imbues his Spartans with a hyper-masculinity, fighting foes who are effeminate, foreign-looking, and sexually deviant, further limiting the scope of inclusivity.

Keywords:   Key words: comics, graphic novel, Thermopylae, Leonidas, Superman

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .