Monday, May 20, 2019
Characteristics of the Byronic Hero
The Byronic heroso named because it evolved primarily due to Lord Byrons writing in the 19th centuryis, according to Peter Thorslev, one of the most prominent literary character types of the Romantic level Romantic heroes represent an important tradition in our literature . . .. In England we have a reinterpreted paradise Lost, a number of Gothic novels and dramas . . . the heroic romances of the younger Scott, well-nigh of the poetry of Shelley, and the works of Byron.In each of these works the Byronic Hero is the one protagonist who in stature and in temperament best represents the heroic tradition in England. Thorslev 189) A Byronic hero exhibits several characteristic traits, and in many ways he tummy be considered a rebel. The Byronic hero does not possess heroic virtue in the usual grit instead, he has many dark qualities. With regard to his intellectual capacity, self-respect, and hypersensitivity, the Byronic hero is larger than life, and with the loss of his titanic passions, his pride, and his proof of self-identity, he loses also his status as a traditional hero (Thorslev 187).He is usually isolated from society as a wanderer or is in exile of some mannequin. It does not matter whether this social separation is imposed upon him by some external force or is self-imposed. Byrons Manfred, a character who wandered desolate mountaintops, was physically isolated from society, whereas Childe Harold chose to exile himself and wander throughout Europe. Although Harold remained physically present in society and among people, he was not by any means social.Often the Byronic hero is moody by nature or emotional about a particular issue. He also has emotional and intellectual capacities, which are superior to the come man. These heightened abilities force the Byronic hero to be arrogant, confident, abnormally sensitive, and extremely conscious of himself. Sometimes, this is to the point of nihilism resulting in his ascent against life itself (Thorsl ev 197). In one form or another, he rejects the values and moral codes of society and because of this he is often unrepentant by societys standards.Often the Byronic hero is characterized by a guilty memory of some unnamed sexual crime. Due to these characteristics, the Byronic hero is often a figure of repulsion, as well as fascination. Harold Bloom notes that between them, the Brontes can be said to have invented a relatively new genre, a kind of northern romance, deeply influenced both by Byrons poetry and by his myth and personality, notwithstanding going masking also . . . to the Gothic novel and to the Elizabethan drama (1). When Byron died at the age of thirty-six in 1824, Bronte was but eight years old.Brontes youthful age, however, did not preclude Byron and his works from having a profound effect on her and her writing indeed, the cult of Lord Byron flourished shortly after his death dominating the Brontes girlhood and their young fair sex (Bloom 2). Of the Bronte siste rs background, Tom Winnifrith comments that a study of the Brontes juvenilia provides confirmatory evidence of the sisters preoccupation with the aristocracy, their emancipation from Victorian prudery, and the attraction of the Byronic hero, exquisite but damned (4).