The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else. If it had been possible he would have settled the matter otherwise, and without bloodshed. He doesn't boast of his own death or of others'. But he does not repent. He suffers and keeps his mouth shut; if anything, others then exploit him, making him a myth, while he, the man worthy of esteem, was only a poor creature who reacted with dignity and courage in an event bigger than he was.
-- Umberto Eco (1932-), Italian philosopher, semiotician, and novelist, "Why Are They Laughing In Those Cages?", in Travels in Hyperreality: Essays (1986), Ch. III: The Gods of the Underworld, p. 122