I think I was supposed to blog on Valentine’s Day, but I couldn’t think of anything to say about Cupid Day, except Enjoy! So, I’d rather talk about our favorite subject – heroes. In particular the Byronic hero:
Byron’s first introduction to this type of character was in his epic poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, published in 1812-1818. Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights, was influenced by Byron. Byron was the model for the title character of Glenarvon by his lover Lady Caroline Lamb, and for Lord Ruthven in The Vampyre by his physician Polidori.
The Byronic hero is an idealized but flawed charter exemplified in the life and writings of Lord Byron, characterized by his ex-lover Lady Caroline Lamb as being “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”
Characteristics of the Byronic hero:
- Intelligent and perceptive
- Cunning and able to adapt
- A troubled past
- Dark secret
- Sophisticated and educated
- Seductive and sexually attractive
- Social and sexual dominance
- Emotional conflicts
- Exile, outcast or outlaw
- Jaded, world-weary (has seen the world)
- Good heart in the end
This describes the hero in all of my works. I write about vampires and fallen angels, both of which already have a dark secret, are bad boys and can definitely be dangerous to know.
In Sinners Opera, the hero, Morgan D’Arcy, is a British lord, a concert pianist and a vampire. All of the above characteristics apply to Morgan—in spades! He must learn to balance his nature against his love for a mortal woman.
In Black Swan, the Byronic hero is Tristan. He runs away from the woman who knows what he is and loves him, trying to escape the “serial killer” that he inherently is.
A few examples of the Byronic hero: Edward Cullen in Twilight, the vampire Lestat, Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights), Lucifer (Paradise Lost), and both Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.
Know any real-life Byronic heroes? Tell us about them or this type character in your works. I find them fascinating (obviously) but I’m not sure I’d want one in my life.