A Byronic hero is defined by Thomas B. Macaulay according to The Oxford Companion to English Literature as “proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart … implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection.” Another description of the Byronic hero is “sad, mad, and dangerous to know.” The Byronic hero is easy to understand when looked at in regard to the life of Lord Byron.
Lord Byron was a bitter man. He was born with a physical deforminity which caused him to ber very hard on himself. He also partook in homosexual activities and battled with eating problems. He was not a happy person, and this led to his hero being one that is not what a hero should be at all. Surely anyone that describes a hero as such things as moody, cynical, miserable, mad, and dangerous has a different picture of life as it should be. Byron wrote with a passion that was parallel with his feelings towards life. He wrote poetry about unattainable love which was caused by the rejection of a women he aspired to have, Mary Chaworth. Bryon almost fought a duel during a journey over a married woman that he loved. He did not, and he did not garner her love either. He later fell in love with a woman named Lady Caroline Lamb. This relalationship ended leaving him with a sense of guilt. After this Byron did marry,and fathered a child, but his wife took his son, left, and told him she never planned to return. Byron also fathered an illegimate child after this while traveling with the Shelley’s. This sense of guilt led to some of his poety which states his bitterness with life. All these relationships just kept building up and building up and forming a stockpile of ammunition which he used in his literary works to display his Byronic hero. In his poem “Manfred “, Byron shows his feelings of man and all the pain that his past has given him. He states that man is, “half dust, half deity, alike unfit to sink or soar.” This shows his disillusionment towards life in general. It is easy to see why someone like this would have his charcters placed in a category of ” sad, mad, and dangerous to know.” Obvoiusly, the Byronic hero is simply a relection of the man that was Lord Byron.
Hero is a simple-sounding two-syllable word, which many people freely use to name and describe others. But, how many people really know what a hero is? One of the most know codes for defining a hero would be Ernest Hemingway’s code, which can be seen in his novels. “The code hero is a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is ...
A good example of the elements of the Byronic hero can be found in the charcter of Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff, like Byron, has an unattainable love, and when he is shunned by this love, he becomes bitter towards life, seeking revenge at all cost and making everyone’s life miserable that was around him. Of couse, this sounds like someone who is sad, mad, and dangerous to know. But even more so, it sounds like the story of Lord Byron himself. The Byronic hero can be best desribed by how Ralph Waldo Emerson described Lord Byron. He stated, “His will is perverted, he worships the accidents of society, and his praise of Nature is thieving and selfish.”