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Journal Analyzing The Byronic Hero And Lord Byron’s Writing Styles

3139 words - 13 pages

A Journal Analyzing the Byronic Hero, Those who Closely Resemble the Hero, Byron’s Writing Styles and Literary Criticism

(Journal entry 1, Defining the Byronic Hero)

The Byronic Hero is a term derived from the poetic narrative, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, by Lord Byron. Though the idea of the Byronic Hero originated with the creation of Byron’s characters, Byron himself possessed the physical features associated with the Byronic Hero. These features include dark brooding eyes, dark hair, pale skin and a slender frame. The Byronic hero derived from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, strays away from the typical “hero” role by possessing dual characteristics of good as well as ...view middle of the document...

” (Byron,C.H.211). The elevated emotional state of the Byronic Hero leads him to be or appear egocentric and introverted “hating the world he had almost forgot”, characteristics which deter from the standardized hero who “fights for the good of man-kind.” Guilt from the past also plagues the Byronic Hero, “for he through Sin’s labyrinth had run, nor made atonement when he did amiss…” (Byron,C.H.181). The haunting illusion to past wrongs or sins taints the Hero and casts a shadow over his overall character and deeds. Due to his past the Hero often carries some form of defect (physical or physiological), a “ heart and harp have lost a string…” (Byron,C.H. 210) that further isolates him from society.

(Journal entry 2, Ichabod Resembling the Byronic Hero)

No characters outside of the characters created by Lord Byron himself could fully encompass the idea of the Byronic Hero, though many narratives have since been created which bare notable resemblance. Washington Irving created such a character when he wrote the story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Though Ichabod (the main character within the Irving narrative) embodies qualities of the Byronic Hero, he fails to fully mirror the concept. Ichabod’s physical persona is described as “tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves…” (Lauter,2095). Ichabod’s slender frame and distinct features, such as his “long snipe nose” and “huge ears” give him an abnormal appearance that make him a spectacle, distinguishing him from the rest of his acquaintances. Like many of the Byronic Heroic characters, Ichabod has an irregular frame that does not project the typical masculine ideal. Ichabod’s strength is in his intellect. He is a schoolteacher whose “appetite for the marvellous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary…” (Lauter,2097). Ichabod was known “as a man of great erudition, for he had read several books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather’s…” (Lauter,2097). Ichabod’s ability to comprehend and master novels and curriculum directly aligns with the stock characteristics attributed to the Byronic Hero. Though Ichcabod’s possesses traits of the Byronic Hero he could never fully fit into the true definition created from Lord Byron’s writings. The true Byronic Hero is isolated from society and withdraws himself from society’s social scene. Ichabod by contrast relished in social settings becoming “a kind of traveling gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to house: so that his appearance was always greeted with satisfaction.” (Lauter,2097). By joining in the town’s social gatherings, Ichabod separates himself from the essence of the Byronic Hero who prefers solitude and, “ stalk’d in joyless reverie, and from his native land resolv’d to go, and visit scorching climes beyond the sea; with pleasure drugg’d he almost long’d for woe, and e’en...

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