Byronic Hero in English Romanticism
Author(s):
Vinod Kumar Mahawar
Keywords:
Byron; Byronic hero; Classical Greek hero; Nietzschean superman; Pan heroism
Abstract
The archetype, or character type, of the Byronic hero was first developed by the famous 19th-century English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Most literary scholars and historians consider the first literary Byronic hero to be Byron's Childe Harold, the protagonist of Byron's epic poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. However, many literary scholars and historians also point to Lord Byron himself as the first truly Byronic hero, for he exemplified throughout his life the characteristics of the sort of literary hero he would make famous in his writing. A Byronic hero can be conceptualized as an extreme variation of the Romantic hero archetype. Traditional Romantic heroes tend to be defined by their rejection or questioning of standard social conventions and norms of behavior, their alienation from larger society, their focus on the self as the center of existence, and their ability to inspire others to commit acts of good and kindness. Romantic heroes are not idealized heroes, but imperfect and often flawed individuals who, despite their sometimes less than savory personalities, often behave in a heroic manner. According to many literary critics and biographers, Lord Byron developed the archetype of the Byronic hero in response to his boredom with traditional and Romantic heroic literary characters. Byron, according to critics and biographers, wanted to introduce a heroic archetype that would be not only more appealing to readers but also more psychologically realistic. The archetype of the Byronic hero is similar in many respects to the figure of the traditional Romantic hero. Both Romantic and Byronic heroes tend to rebel against conventional modes of behavior and thought and possess personalities that are not traditionally heroic. However, Byronic heroes usually have a greater degree of psychological and emotional complexity than traditional Romantic heroes. Byronic heroes are marked not only by their outright rejection of traditional heroic virtues and values but also their remarkable intelligence and cunning, strong feelings of affection and hatred, impulsiveness, strong sensual desires, moodiness, cynicism, dark humor, and morbid sensibilities. Byronic heroes also tend to appear larger than life and dress and style t
Article Details
Unique Paper ID: 151647

Publication Volume & Issue: Volume 8, Issue 1

Page(s): 448 - 450
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