Byronic Hero

Published: 2021-09-14 20:05:10
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Category: Romanticism, Frankenstein, Heroes, Tragedy, Courage

Type of paper: Essay

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Byronic Hero – Romantic Hero – Tragic Hero – Anti-Hero During the Romantic Era, a hybrid of the Romantic Hero evolved out of the writings of Lord Byron and the combination tragic hero/romantic hero/anti hero characterization of many of the protagonists in Gothic Novels. Frankenstein is considered one of the Gothic Novels that developed out the the Romantic Era. The “heroes” in Frankenstein could fit into the Byronic Hero category or be classified as Romantic, Tragic, or Anti Heroes.
Lady Caroline Lamb, a former lover of Lord Byron’s called him “mad, bad, and dangerous to know. ” This epitaph stuck as a way to describe a Byronic Hero in literature as well. See if Victor Frankenstein fits the description of the Byronic Hero or if he embodies more of the traits of the other heroes. What about Captain Walton and the Monster?
Characteristics of The Byronic Hero:

high level of intelligence and perception
 cunning and able to adapt
 sophisticated and educated
 self-critical and introspective mysterious, magnetic and charismatic
 struggling with integrity
 power of seduction and sexual attraction
social and sexual dominance
emotional conflicts, bipolar tendencies, or moodiness
 a distaste for social institutions and norms
 being an exile, an outcast, or an outlaw
 "dark" attributes not normally associated with a hero
 disrespect of rank and privilege
a troubled past
 self-destructive behavior

Characteristics of The Romantic Hero: Birth and class are unimportant: the individual transcends society

 The battle is internal: it is a psychological war won by the “courage to be me”
 Moral codes are eccentric–heroes make their own rules
 Passions are outside of individual control
Self knowledge is valued more than physical strength or endurance (physical courage is de-valued)
The hero is moody, isolated, and introspective
 Loyalty is to a particular project and to a community of like-minded others

Characteristics of The Tragic Hero:

 has strong extraordinary character of noble birth (aristocrat or royalty)
 possesses a flaw in character which is his or her weakness
Great Weakness (obsession, lust, greed, desire) leads to ultimate downfall
 has a moment of Tragic Choice which spirals into the downfall of hero
Downfall always includes death in a traditional tragedy
Downfall also brings about far-reaching catastrophe: many deaths, downfall of family, kingdom or society
 Tragic Hero has potential to turn into an Anti-Hero

Characteristics of The Anti-hero

 foil to the mission or life of the hero possesses a sharp mind or cunning nature
often possesses superhuman strength or power
 may be profoundly evil
may be misunderstood and have potential for good
 may have been wronged and bent on revenge
 may elicit no sympathy from reader
 may elicit some sympathy from reader
 may possess strong ambition to succeed or desire for power
 lives on fringes of society
 may be considered ugly or unattractive or possesses/obtained some physical scar, deformity or imperfection that may have lead to their evil behavior

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