The Byronic hero is a variant of the Romantic hero as a type of character, named after

the English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Both Byron's life and writings have been
considered in different ways to exemplify the type. The Byronic hero first appears in
Byron's semi-autobiographical epic narrative poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812–
1818), and was described by the historian and critic Lord Macaulay as "a man proud,
moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his
kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection"
The idea of the Byronic hero is one that consists of many different characteristics.
The hero must have a rather high level of intelligence and perception as well as be able
to easily adapt to new situations and use cunning to his own gain. It is clear from this
description that this hero is well-educated and by extension is rather sophisticated in
his style. Aside from the obvious charm and attractiveness that this automatically
creates, he struggles with his integrity, being prone to mood swings. Generally, the
hero has a disrespect for certain figures of authority, thus creating the image of the
Byronic hero as an exile or an outcast. The hero also has a tendency to be arrogant and
cynical, indulging in self-destructive behaviour which leads to the need to seduce
women. Although his sexual attraction through being mysterious is rather helpful, it
often gets the hero into trouble. Characters with the qualities of the Byronic hero have
appeared in novels, films and plays ever since.


Childe Harold became a vehicle for Byron's own beliefs and ideas; indeed in the preface to canto four
Byron acknowledges that there is little or no difference between author and protagonist. According
to Jerome McGann, by masking himself behind a literary artifice, Byron was able to express his view
that "man's greatest tragedy is that he can conceive of a perfection which he cannot attain"


Childe Harold
A young nobleman (as indicated by the title "Childe") coming of age to receive his due
honors in British society. Although Byron insisted that Harold was not a stand-in for
himself, Harold's "pilgrimage" parallels Byron's own journeys through western Europe.
By the third canto of Childe Harold's Pilgirmage, Byron had given up claiming that Harold
was merely an artistic device and admitted Harold's autobiographical connection.
Harold is mostly a figure devised to establish point of view for the reader. Although he
begins the first canto as a proto-Byronic hero, complete with regret for some mysterious
past folly and an exile to the European continent due to his errors, Harold often vanishes
entirely from the narrative to be replaced by Byron's own narrative commentary on the
situations described

Ada Byron
Byron's young daughter, whom his estranged wife Annabella took with her when
separating from Byron in London. After their departure, Byron never saw his daughter
again. She is his muse in the third canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and embodies his
frustration at being denied his paternal rights even as he struggled with his role as an
absentee father and poor role model for the girl.

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