The Superhero Archetype as an Auxiliary Class in Marvel’s Avengers Movies
The superhero is a much-maligned figure in contemporary culture. In what follows, I draw upon Plato’s idea of the auxiliary class and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth to read the superhero as a modern version of the auxiliary class. Focusing on the superhero archetype that is found in the MCU or Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, I argue that the superhero-auxiliary is underpinned by an ethos that privileges values like public service, teamwork, social cohesion, and self-sacrifice. The significance of this reading lies in showing how the MCU re-mythologizes Plato’s auxiliary class for contemporary culture. As a corollary to that, I hope that the reading will ameliorate some of the negative reception that has plagued the superhero archetype in literary and media discourses.