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To What Extent Is Hector Portrayed as a Comic Hero?

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than a comic hero. Bennett grants the audience a glimpse of himself in this scene as it says “like Posner, Bennett matured late, his voice had not broken and like Posner he had a crush on a student he hoped to impress by getting a scholarship to Oxford.” (Robinson, 2009) .The audience see a different side of Hector again when Dakin comes to accompany Hector on the bike, Hector replies “Not today. No. Today I go a different way.” he uses short sentences to show that his answer is final. It can also mean a masked fear, anger or resentment. This change in Hector can mean that he might be tired of hiding his true identity and wants to be accepted without anyone judging him for who he is; “Today I go a different way” is an admission that he is different from the other teachers in the school. By doing this, Bennett presents to the audience that Hector himself is quite lonely and finds his happiness with the boys as they are like his only family. This also shows that he is a character that is lonely and is being misunderstood by society. This could hence provide a social commentary. By accepting his imperfection and admitting it, he once again gains the audience’s approval and becomes a comic hero.

Finally, the end scene clearly shows Hector as a comic hero because Bennett enables the audience to see how the boys turn out after university and also shows us the memorial held for Hector after his death, by crafting it in double time. Letting the audience see the present and the future in the same instance. We find out that “There is only one who truly took everything to heart, remembers everything he was taught…the songs, the poems, the sayings, the endings; the words of Hector never forgotten.”- Posner. Bennett makes Hector a true comic hero by finishing the play with Hector’s words “Pass it on boys. That’s the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.” This is a powerful end to the play because just like Hector passed on his knowledge to the boys about literature, poems and life it insinuates they should do that same. Through this Bennett represent Hector as a champion of education rather than an individual with faults, thus making Hector a true comic hero in the eyes of the audience.

A direct structural comparison Bennett reminds the audience that Hector may not a complete comic hero because of his inappropriate behaviour. During Act 1, the boys make excuses not to go with Hector and when Posner volunteers and gets rejected, Dakin says “be grateful”. The audience can understand that Hector has been doing it for a while to all the boys except Posner. In the movie version by Nicolas Hytner, Posner is a boy who is socially awkward, young and inexperienced and therefore Hector perhaps ignores him because he can easily get attached emotionally. This is ironic in a way because Posner wants Hector’s help. In comparison, in the last scene, Posner can be grateful because Hector dies due to his only non-comical characteristic. Some of the members of the audience may feel like he deserved it while others might be more sympathetic.

Again, Hector can be presented as a tragedian because he misuses his powers to fondle the boys. When Dakin says “I wish sometimes he just goes for it…. Not on the fucking bike. I’m terrified.” It shows that the boys hate being fondled on the bike even though they do it to keep Hector happy. When Dakin says he is “terrified” the audience might be able to understand that Hector might be abusing his power and doing something dangerous. Through Dakin’s words “in controlled conditions” it shows to the audience how uncontrollable Hector has become after so long and cannot seem to stop himself. Also, when Scripps asks what he is terrified of, he answers by saying “of the next roundabout”. The word “roundabout” can symbolise a journey, potential and therefore perhaps the concept of their life itself as homosexual constructs in 1980’s England. Also, Bennett foreshadows Hector’s accident because he fondles the boys during a turn in the road. This can present Hector as a non-comical person.

In conclusion, Hector’s major over throw was his paedophilia. However, Hector changes the views of the audience about him when he accepts that he is imperfect and has flaws and then refrains. As a peer said “Regardless of whether Hector admits he has flaws or not, I, as an audience member, do not feel any more amiability towards him”. Even after Hector misbehaved with the boys, they maintain respect for him; he was in a way their inspiration in some aspects of life – especially Posner – and therefore was seen as a comic hero rather than an anti- comic hero.


• Robinson, M. (2009). The History Boys: Studyguide. Bennett in the History Boys.

Word Count: 1789


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