In recent years a number of studies have examined the function of heroic narratives in the propaganda of empire and the construction of “Britishness.” Graham Dawson has argued that such narratives “became myths of nationhood itself providing a cultural focus around which the national community could cohere.” In the light of the nineteenth-century chivalric ideal, the Victorian military hero was expected to be “the embodiment of the virtues of bravery, loyalty, courtesy, generosity, modesty, purity, and compassion, and endowed with an indelible sense of noblesse oblige towards women, children and social inferiors.” The English and upper-class image of the “British” hero served, among other things, to inculcate these supposedly English characteristics in the Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. Courage was taken for granted as the essential characteristic of British imperial officers in the Victorian period but, while courage is a personal quality and is not in itself a quality belonging to the public domain, heroism is, by contrast, something definitionally public. The courageous man becomes a hero only when he is declared to be one. The roots of the hero are in dramatic narrative, which spans the epic myth and the reality of war. The hero is “made” whether in a dramatic fiction or in the representation of events, though the latter produces the problem of molding reality to the requirements of the genre. Military heroes in the genre of the imperial adventure story and in the representation of “real” events are hardly distinguishable, for they are “made” to serve the same purposes. The hero is part of a story and, as Northrop Frye has argued, that story or langue has certain generic features throughout history. On the other hand, though the hero is made, the individual can, and often did, prepare and present himself for the role.