Date of Thesis



On December 1, 1949, an influential figure in Colombian history, Pablo Escobar, was born. In his relatively short life he would accrue so much money that he would begin to burn it, struggling to find secure areas to bury it. He would also come to wield an incredible amount of power over the Colombian government and legislature, creating his own prison, practically destroying any credibility in the Medellín police force, and striking several deals for reduced sentences. How is it that the most wanted man in the world, head of the Colombian drug cartel¿who utilized kidnapping, fear, bribery, torture, death, and the targeting of innocent people¿could, upon his violent death, be mourned by thousands? In order to provide a comparative analysis of Pablo Escobar's life, I will explore different variations of heroes. I will focus on theories of heroic archetypes, utilizing well-known figures from myth, scripture, history and legend, such as Robin Hood, the ancient Greek heroes Odysseus and Achilles, the biblical David, and more recent Latin American heroes such as Pancho Villa and El Chapo. By considering heroes across various cultures and temporal locations, I will be able to develop a richer analysis of Escobar as a "hero" of and for the Colombian people. A key aspect of my argument will be that heroes are rarely if ever "perfect," but normally embody flaws indicative of their humanity, and that rather than preventing him from being perceived as a nearly divine figure, Escobar's flaws to a large degree, and somewhat paradoxically, actually undergird that status.


Pablo Escobar, Colombia, drug lords, heroic archetypes

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering


Comparative Humanities

First Advisor

James Mark Shields

Second Advisor

David Rojas