Saturday, 2 January 2016

'B' is for Byronic Hero

(I love this guy!)
I hate this guy!

The Byronic Hero is generally defined as mad, bad and dangerous. Named after the English poet Lord Byron, he's a popular figure in Gothic and Romantic works.

Byronic Heroes include Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Mr Rochester from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. The most famous Byronic Hero is probably Heathcliff from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights

The main difference between the Anti-Hero and the Byronic Hero is the Anti-Hero usually has a good reason for his or her amoral actions. Maybe they became a murderer to save their younger sibling. Maybe they were brought up as an assassin and so lack a common sense of right and wrong. Maybe they suffered a loss that left them feeling bitter and alone. There's usually something in their backstory or motivation that makes them sympathetic or, at least, understandable. The Byronic Hero, on the other hand, is motivated entirely by self-interest. They want something - be it power, love or money - and nothing will stop them from getting it. The idea that the people around them have their own needs, wants and opinions never really seems to occur to them.

Byronic Heroes are often Tragic Heroes too, with karma catching up to them at some point in the story. That said, there are some, such as Heathcliff, who are implied to get what they want in the end without ever really reforming. 

Let's have a vote. Are you a fan of Byronic Heroes? And, just out of interest, what do you think the letter 'C' will be?