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Rated: E · Essay · History · #2004964
Ned Kelly despite many of his criminal acts, imparts his fascinating heroic character.
         Ned Kelly Hero or Villain Essay                    

By          Abanoub K. Tawfik

Ned Kelly is a famous Australian bushranger who has undoubtedly caused controversy as to whether he was a murderous villain or an inspirational folk hero. Ned Kelly should be considered as a hero as historical evidence proves, that he was pushed to crime as his family was beleaguered, also he worked for the unfortunate rather than himself and finally he displayed unambiguous mateship and loyalty. Therefore it is explicit that Ned Kelly demonstrates his heroic tendencies.
Ned Kelly should be renowned as a hero as he was forced to act criminally due to his family being targeted. Ned's father Red Kelly was transported to Tasmania as an assigned Irish convict at 1841. The Irish disliked the British as; Ireland was ruled from England, the Irish were Catholics but had to support the Church of England rather than building Catholic schools and Irish land was owned by absentee British landlords. Once Red Kelly died in 1866 Ellen Kelly (Ned's mother) moved with her seven children to a selection place near Greta in North-Eastern Victoria. As Australia was a British colonised country it was inevitable that the Kelly family was about to undertake severe injustice. The Kelly family began to drift into poverty as their selection was too small and a railway line was built over the area which reduced passing traffic in 1873. Then the ultimate discrimination event that occurred in April 1878. Where Constable Fitzpatrick came to the Kelly house in order to arrest Ned's brother Dan, previously before Fitzpatrick had harassed Ned's sister. Then Ellen Kelly was accused of throwing a shovel at Fitzpatrick and was unfairly sentenced to three years jail. Even Ned Kelly was accused of hurting Fitzpatrick although he wasn't even there at the time. This incident must have angered Ned and was the trigger event to his crimes, "This sort of cruelty and disgraceful cowardly conduct to my brothers and sisters who had no protection, coupled with the conviction of my mother certainly made my blood boil."-Ned Kelly. Ned Kelly was the oldest male in his family and should be seen as a father figure, as he had to stand up for the rights of his family. Therefore it is explicit that Ned Kelly displays heroic character.
Ned Kelly highlights his outstanding patriotism as he worked for the underdog, rather than for himself and became familiar with the public. In 1879, the Kelly gang robbed the Euroa and Jerilderie banks and burnt mortgages. Many people have accused him of this being a villainous act however he gave the money that he stole from the banks to other poor settlers and selectors. As an outcome of this he is now depicted as the Australian or Irish version of Robin Hood. "Perhaps he was the only real Robin Hood who had ever lived."-Ian Jones, author. Due to his affectionate care for others the Australian public became sympathetic for Ned Kelly and his gang. This is evident when thirty-thousand people signed a petition to prevent Ned Kelly from being hanged. Furthermore despite the drawbacks of robbing banks at Euroa and Jerilderie, Ned imparts the notion that due to him helping the poor, his heroic character is still somewhat imperative.
Ned Kelly should be reminisced as a hero due to him displaying mateship and loyalty. Ned Kelly even at a young age was imminently developing as a true hero. At the age of 10 in 1865 Ned Kelly patriotically saved a boy from drowning (Richard Shelton) and received recognition from the Shelton family (green sash). When Ellen Kelly Ned's mother was cast into prison for three years, he showed his loyalty and care by wanting to surrender for the release of her but it was rejected. "I offered to surrender if my mother was released but the offer was ignored."-Ned Kelly. Ned Kelly stood out against overshadowing cunning policeman not just for his family but for his fellow Irish poor selectors. "The Police are my natural enemies."-Ned Kelly. By robbing the banks at Euroa and Jerilderie and burning mortgages he signified his devotion to others who were poor rather than for himself. At the final stand at Glenrowan Inn in 1880, Kelly's plan was to derail the train and hold the police hostage, for the sake of the justification of his mother's release. However, it was wrecked when a British school teacher Thomas Curnow flagged down the train and surprisingly wasn't shot by Ned. Ned Kelly let him escape without killing Curnow despite he wrecked his plan. Also at Glenrowan inn in the final shootout as his family was in danger, Ned drew all the attack on himself. He deliberately walked out in his armour and attracted the attack upon himself. Ned Kelly sacrificed himself for the sake of others by putting himself at risk. Therefore, Ned Kelly should be remembered as a hero.
Since his death in 1880, many people have argued that he is a villain due to his murderous and villainous acts by killing Constable Lonigan at Stringybark creek in October 1878. However, he was pushed to crime from the previous incident of Fitzpatrick, he had to stand out against police. When the gang arrived at the place the policemen were carrying weapons and danger was surrounding the gang. Then Ned wanted to assert his authority by forcing them to surrender, "Bail up hold your hands!"- Constable McIntyre. However, McIntyre surrendered but Lonigan ran away to the log and attempted to shoot Ned. Then Ned acted out of self-defence and shot Lonigan. "I shot him that instant or he would have shot me."-Ned Kelly. It is explicit that from McIntyre's inconsistent statements Ned acted out of self-defence. In one of his statements McIntyre proposes that Lonigan didn't attempt to shoot Ned. "That's nonsense he had not his revolver pointed at you."-McIntyre arguing with Ned in John Kelly's (policeman) statement. In another witness account he states that Lonigan did have his revolver pointed at Ned. "Lonigan had his head above the log and was about to use his revolver."-McIntyre. Therefore from the hesitation of Constable McIntyre Ned Kelly acted out of self-defence rather than it being cold-blooded murder, Ned should not be seen as a villain.
Ultimately, Ned Kelly is a prodigious Australian folk hero, as he was obliged to crime, he worked for the underdog and displayed outstanding mateship and loyalty. Overall Ned Kelly's final defiant stand against the felon's apprehension acts and his plea for justice to end discrimination against poor Irish selectors has definitely opened the eyes of Australia. Ned Kelly in his armour came to resemble a fight by a flawed hero for justice and liberty and 'innocent people,' has captured the imagination of authors, writers and the general public alike, coupled with his humble last words, "Such is life."-Ned Kelly

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