What makes a hero? What drives heroic acts? To American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892), heroes are like artists in that they strive for beauty. But while a poet works with words and musicians with tones, heroes use great deeds and moral action to bring beauty in the world. 

It's a poet's perspective for sure, but Whitman's words paint a vivid portrait of the heroic core:

"I think of few heroic actions, which cannot be traced to the artistical impulse. He who does great deeds, does them from his innate sensitiveness to moral beauty."