On: The Byronic Hero

  • The Byronic Hero
    • restless/moody
    • prideful and alienated
    • revenge and remorse
    • secret, sinful past
    • educated, sometimes noble by birth/intellectual
    • pure love for “gentle” woman
    • honor and courage
    • dark, handsome, and mysterious
    • individualism
    • a physical marker/disability
    • eloquence
      • Thorslev’s Spectrum of the Byronic Hero
        • child of nature
        • gloomy egoist
        • man of feeling
  • Pre-byronic
    • not as sympathetic, can’t consolidate the past of the hero as much vs. Byronic/post-Byronic is more noble, kinder, easier to sympathize with
    • Romantic period -> noble outlaw
  • Byronic Heroes in literature
    • Satan-Paradise Lost
    • Ahab- Mobey Dick
    • Heathcliff- Wuthering Heights
    • Rochester- Jane Eyre
  • Qualities/element of excess
    • the byronic hero has the characteristics of good and evil in excess
      • in the gothic, there is a lot of excess
      • Milton’s Satan
        • Paradise Lost was written as an epic with Paradise Regained
        • Has shaped the human imagination because of the popularity of Paradise Lost and with the character of Satan
          • characters of individualism and autonomy
          • attraction to the ideas freedom brought by Satan but “eloquence is not truth”
          • Satan was initially the arch angel, best beloved
            • only when he falls out with God/ refuses to bow down to human kind then he is separated from God
            • ironically, Satan follows God’s first commandment: will not bow to no other but God
              • Satan is still seen as the abject in Christianity, in other traditions he is seen as otherwise
    • We seek for characters with complexities -> attraction to the Byronic
      • evil characters tend to stay in your mind
      • alluring/enticing
        • the intellectualism is also an addition to why the byronic is enticing
                • brutish emotion in the extreme would not be forgiven if it were not for the intellect behind it
      • unjust treatment of the misunderstood
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