Idiot Hero / Mythology & Religion

  • Thor thanks to being depicted by skalds who preferred Odin to warriors who preferred Thor.
  • The mythological Hercules doesn't fit the trope, but a lot of modern interpretations do, usually because the writers didn't know better. However, in Marvel's The Incredible Hercules, the writers did do the research, and decided on an Alternate Character Interpretation which is hiding from his numerous screwups by being a Cloudcuckoolander Bruiser - Like, he gets too hot, so he fires arrows AT THE SUN. (Which does nothing.) Or once the waves are rocking his ship too much, so he leans over the side and TELLS THE WAVES HE WILL WHIP THEM if they don't stop. (They don't.) He also does a lot dick moves and is generally too nice... except when he goes nuts and slaughters people.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In the biblical Book of Judges, Samson is an archetype of the super-strong fighter who makes a habit of acting without thinking. He's most blatantly an Idiot Hero when he lets Delilah talk him into revealing the secret of his strength.
    • He even tested Delilah by feeding her false information. Despite betraying him twice, he still tells her the (true) secret of his strength the third time.
  • In Russian fairy tales, male heroes often fit this pattern - tell them they must or must not do something, such as not fall asleep while guarding a bridge, and nine times out of ten that is precisely what they will do. Funnily enough, heroines seem to be much better at taking good advice and heeding warnings.
  • Percival from Arthurian myths dumbfounds the rest of the knights with his sheer stupidity. Some of this can be chalked up to him being raised alone in the wilderness and having his knightly education sort of given to him on the fly. It's particularly blatant in that Percival causes his quest to be an Idiot Plot because the hero is an idiot by the author's own admission. Percival finds himself in the castle of the Holy Grail by happenstance, and has questions about what it is and what it does. If he had asked, he could have used the Grail to heal the Fisher King and bring prosperity back to his kingdom. However, he follows his mentors Exact Words not to ask too many questions of his host and allows the Grail to pass by him without comment. Characters will frequently engage in What the Hell, Hero? because if he had just spoken up the whole quest would have been over right there.