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Byronic Hero

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Ben Leung

on 4 May 2014

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Transcript of Byronic Hero

Some example of heroes that may have developed through the definition of a hero in the Romantic era are:
Evolution and Impact of Heroes

Inspirational Fiction Factors between Greek and Romantic Era
Romantic Hero
One of the greatest changes in literature during the Romanticism time period was the introduction of the "Romantic Hero". This archetype of character was created as a response to both the French Revolution and Napoleon.
Byronic Hero
During this time period, another variation of the "romantic hero" came into existence. This was the "Byronic Hero", named after its creator, Lord Byron (1788 to 1824). The difference between the Byronic and Romantic hero was the introduction of a protagonist who is not the stereotypical "good guy".
The Beginning of Heroes
Heroes about 6000 years ago were much different from heroes we know existed during the Romantic and Modern era.
Most of these heroes were different in a sense that they stood out in every single aspect from the commoners around them.
Between 30 BCE and 1830, many pieces of fictional stories were created that helped transition into the Romantic Era, such as :
"The Sorrows of Young Werther"
Plays of William Shakespeare (1589-1616)
"The Divine Comedy"
During this time period, Napoleon was seen by many as a "hero", due to his military feats (similar to feats of Greek and Roman Heroes). However, after his fall, people began to challenge the idea of a hero who upheld social order. This eventually would lead to the creation of the "Romantic Hero"
Rejected standards of society
Had their own moral sense of right or wrong (Batman)
Understood inner self
Stood for the individual person against the rest of society
The stories of these heroes existed mostly around ancient Greek times. The stories of Hercules, Achilles, Odysseus, Perseus, Theseus, and Orpheus defined heroes from that time period all the way until the 1700s..
As we move closer to the Romantic era however, the definition starts to change and there will be different definitions along the way until we reach what we call "The Byronic Hero".
They almost set in stone a definition of a hero that required a person to have physical ability, more knowledgeable, used popular technology at the time, and had support from the people around them. Commoners could not really relate to them but rather looked up to them.
Characteristics of the
"Byronic Hero"
Cunning and able to adapt
Disrespectful of rank and privilege
Emotionally conflicted, bipolar, or moody
Having a distaste for social institutions
Having a troubled past or suffering from an unnamed crime
Intelligent and perceptive
Mysterious, magnetic, and charismatic
Struggling with integrity
Treated as an exile, outcast, or outlaw
Examples of Byronic Heroes
Many factors also influenced Romantic Era literature. Time periods and events such as the Roman Empire, Medieval times, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance and American and French Revolutions all created ideas for authors to write about.

Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster (Frankenstein)
Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre)
Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
Elpheba (Wicked)
Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)
Quasimodo (Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Conrad (The Corsair)
Griffen (The Invisible Man)
Captain Nemo (20,000 Leagues under the sea)
The Hunchback
Beast (From Beauty and the Beast)
Jack Sparrow
Iron man
Katniss (Hunger Games)

All of these Byronic heroes have this dark side to them or dark way of thinking that makes them all similar. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are evil but they don't always do the right things in the eyes of society. They will rebel, they will kill to achieve their goals even if it isn't always justified. But in the end, they are the ones that save the day, and they are the type of heroes that the majority of a population can relate to. They basically are heroes experiencing tougher challenges than us. However they face the challenges even if they are imperfect and achieve their goals. Ultimately what we learn from them is we don't need to be like the Greek heroes to overcome obstacles and have a better life.

By: Ben, Moe and Zain
TOK Link
At a more philosophical standpoint, one of the fundamental themes the Romantics Period had was the idea that a lie was better than the truth, contrary to the ideals of the church. This was due to the creation of both the romantic hero and the Byronic heroes.
The heroes and stories of the romantic period has had a lasting impact on many people, and has resulted in the creation of what we would call "Drama Queens". Based on the influences of both the Romantic and Byronic hero, people who watch movies and read books learn that the mentality drama is the "key" to becoming said heroes, thus attaining their "happy endings".
Lord Byron
During the romantic era, people always dreamed of the perfect life. This was the introduction of a new concept in people's daily lives. They dreamed. They had goals, ambitions, happiness, and looked for a better life than what they lived and what their ancestors lived. These are all the reasons for why the Romantic era is also known to be as mostly illusions, or concepts of the mind and not actual events that physically happened. The reason for all these fictional books coming out at this time was because people were tired of being nothing. They hated looking up to the leaders and not being able to compare themselves with them because the leaders were always better than the commoners in every aspect (like greek times).
So they started imagining how life would be if they were the heroes that saved the day and got the reward. This is why we start seeing stories emerge to do with normal people, or not gifted or talented but in the end, they get praised by the whole town. They get money, fame, and the girl in the end and live happily ever after. We can see some of these aspects tying in to modern literature, especially in Disney's fairy tales. We have the ugly creature Shrek that becomes the hero, or Aladdin as a thief, the beast from Beauty and the Beast, and so on. They of Disney tales and even books and movies nowadays all show a variation of the romantic hero from the romantic era; the byronic hero.
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