Daredevil is one of the most iconic Marvel characters, but despite his altruistic motivations, he often finds himself in morally grey situations. There is no doubt that Daredevil has a heroic nature, considering the place where he was born and raised is an utter mess, and he does everything in his power to make it a better place, still, due to some of the characteristics of his storylines, a lot of fans are wondering whether Daredevil is truly a hero or an anti-hero.
Daredevil is a superhero despite often walking the fine line between heroism and anti-heroism. Daredevil is often considered to be a vigilante because he often goes outside of the boundaries of the law to get things done. He also doesn’t shy away from using violence. However, his motivations are barely selfish in nature, and he mostly keeps to a strict “no-killing” policy. Daredevil ultimately strives to protect good and innocent people. The only hangup is the fact that he often uses distasteful methods to do it. Daredevil is, therefore, not an anti-hero. He is, at most, a vigilante.
Now that we’ve explained what type of character Daredevil is, it’s time to explore it in more detail. If you want to know the arguments why Daredevil can be considered both superhero and anti-hero at the same time, stay with us and keep reading!
Daredevil is a street-level superhero
Daredevil’s origin story is well known. He grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, a horrid crime-ridden neighborhood, but even as a young boy, his father tried to put him on a straight path and invest in his education.
Daredevil gained his superpowers ironically when he helped an old man who was about to be killed by an incoming truck. During the accident, Matt was doused with radioactive chemicals that permanently blinded him but also gave him supernatural senses.
Despite gaining those superpowers, Daredevil never gained extraordinary physical attributes, and this naturally meant that he would never be able to fight cosmic-level threats. Daredevil became a street-level superhero, deciding to protect Hell’s Kitchen both as a lawyer and as a masked vigilante operating outside of the bounds of the law.
Daredevil’s villains are most often criminals, such as Wilson Fisk, and he rarely goes up against extraordinarily powerful godlike creatures. But we already explained why that is.
Being a street-level superhero means that Daredevil often gets his hands dirty, and he often employs “grey” methods to achieve his goals. Does this mean that Daredevil is an anti-hero?
Daredevil is violent and brooding
Daredevil often takes law into his own hands, even though his daytime job is being a lawyer. He embraces fear as a weapon and doesn’t shy away from manipulating emotions to take down his rivals. He also employs violent methods to achieve his goals. He is willing to go as far as disabling his enemies to teach them a lesson and is known for torturing them.
Even though Daredevil’s primary weapon is violence, he has a strict no-killing policy. It’s important to note, however, that there are some storylines in which Daredevil has taken a life, but most are alternative and not part of the main continuity.
Daredevil also struggles with personal demons, which leads him to pursue a questionable relationship, and he is known to be among superheroes who dated villains and formed close relationships with them. However, even when he is literally sleeping with enemies, his morals remain steadfast.
Matt also has a dark and brooding personality, and he often questions right and wrong and how to separate them. This is the influence that Frank Miller had on the character.
Despite his short-coming Daredevil is at his core a hero
Now that we’ve given you plenty of reasons why Daredevil can be considered an anti-hero, it’s time to debunk them. First and foremost, Daredevil has a pronounced sense of justice.
He witnessed how tough life can be while growing up, which is part of why he pursued a career as a lawyer. So he could help the most vulnerable in the society. He often takes on cases that deal with crime and corruption that exploit the most vulnerable in society. Additionally, he provides legal aid to those who cannot afford it, which means that at his core, Daredevil is not pursuing justice due to his selfish reasoning or personal vendetta against all who wronged him.
A large part of Daredevil’s character is his catholic faith. Even though he often struggles with it and has a hard time living fully to the tenets of his faith, the fact remains that faith remains one of his greatest sources of inspiration.
Daredevil also often acknowledges the mistakes he made in the past and actively works toward repentance. When he goes especially far with dealing with criminals, he is often plagued with guilt. His altruistic motivations were recognized by a lot of other superheroes, and he often teams up with them.
He embodies the classic superhero traits such as strong moral standing, courage, selflessness, and resilience.
To summarize everything, even though some of Daredevil’s storylines are extremely dark, and he is generally a brooding character who uses violence, threats, and fear to achieve his goals, Daredevil demonstrates more heroic qualities than anti-hero ones. At worst, Daredevil can be considered a vigilante because he takes justice into his own hands and operates outside the law’s boundaries. His motivations are also not, in large part, inspired by selfish goals.
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