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Byronic Hero

The general conception of the Byronic hero is that such a character is cunning, cynical and a touch rebellious against society. Also, intelligent, emotionally sensitive and  jaded about the basic nature of life, love, and humanity. These w qualities are among a number of others that define the Byronic character. Perhaps the most interesting of the characteristics of those which define the Byronic hero is that the Byronic hero is always leaning toward subversiveness against society and government. This characteristic makes the Byronic hero a symbol for freedom and individuality. This association with the Byronic hero is undoubtedly one reason the Byronic hero has remained in popular consciousness for so many years. The appeal of the character is that the character almost always maintains an individuality against all forces of oppression nd even tragedy. Another appeal is that the Byronic hero is always intelligent and perceptive.

Obviously, Don Juan which features the title character as a Byronic hero, is on e of Byron’s most famous and enduring poems. Don Juan is also the character that is most immediately recognizable as a typical Byronic hero.  For example, in Canto 3 of the poem, Byron describes Don Juan with the following lines: ”He was a man of a strange temperament,/

Of mild demeanour though of savage mood,” (Byron, Canto 3, stanza 53). This shows the jadedness and subversive anger of the  Byronic hero. Further lines from the same Canto represents the quintessential Byronic characteristic of rebellion. Byron writes that Don Juan has been made into a cynic by his government and experiences of society. He writes “His country’s wrongs and his despair to save her /

Had stung him from a slave to an enslaver.” (Byron, Canto 3, stanza 53) These lines show that Don Juan embodies the characteristics of a typical Byronic hero. he is rash, moody, intelligent, subversive, and just a bit mysterious. The character of Don Juan can therefore be cited as a clear example of a Byronic hero.

Work Cited

Greenblatt, Stephan.  The Norton Anthology of English Literature.  W. W. Norton and Company.  New York and London. 9th Edition, Volume 2.