According to The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Oxford University Press, New York, 1985), a Byronic hero is “proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart.” … implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection.”
“Wuthering Heights” is a novel by Emily Bronte in which Heathcliff, the protagonist, is defined. Heathcliff is a man who has committed crimes in his life and thrives on revenge, yet he may (at times) be sympathized with. As a result, Heathcliff is an excellent example of a Byronic hero for these reasons.
Heathcliff is the protagonist of Wuthering Heights. He has a unique personality that may be interpreted in various ways. Emily Brontë’s character is frequently referred to as a Byronic Hero. Heathcliff is regarded as a diabolical villain, but he is also attractive and fascinating. His charisma attracts the reader’s attention, even though he possesses enormous fury.
The Byronic Hero was inspired by Lord Byron’s poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-1818), which introduced the idea. In an imperfect world, Byron’s hero is a romantic hero who endures because of his devotion to it.
In the name of the greater good, he commits evil acts. The Byronic Hero has come to stand for a variety of people due to its literary charactercasting significance. A hidden and clever individual is usually involved.
The protagonist should be both charming and dangerous at once. The Byronic Hero, in the first place, is an antihero. His allure, on the other hand, makes him fascinating to the reader. Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff is a protagonist. He’s a perplexing and compelling figure who gained global popularity for Brontë’s work.
In the novel, George is a Byronic Hero. As the tale unfolds, it becomes apparent that he is one. At first sight, he appears to be a snobbish individual who causes distress to those around him. Isabella Heathcliff wonders whether he’s human at all. The man is trapped in his heritage and seeks vengeance on his enemies. Heathcliff’s origins are a mystery to the reader.
Hareton Earnshaw suffers at the hands of Heathcliff. The one who endures the most is Hareton. The boy grows up in a dark and cruel environment thanks to Heathcliff. Even though he comes from a noble family, he becomes callous and does not receive a decent education. Despite their differences, Hareton still considers Heathcliff his father and loves him very much.
The persona of Heathcliff remains enigmatic throughout the novel. He is an outcast who has withdrawn from reality and become focused on himself. He dwells on the past and his tragic love affair. His love for Catherine is obsessive. Heathcliff is a Byronic Hero, whose life is governed by emotions. His feelings attract the reader but also destroy his own existence.
His high ideals and passion for justice, along with his kind disposition, make him a courageous brother who will go to any length to defend others. He puts the needs of others ahead of his own in everything he does.
Even if it means putting himself in danger of harming someone else, he helps out wherever he can. Despite the fact that there are times when his compassion may cause him trouble, he always works hard not to hurt anyone unintentionally or exacerbate things.
“He delighted to witness Hindley degrading himself past redemption; and became daily more notable for savage sullenness and ferocity.”
But there are occasions when the guy opens up his heart and shows his soft side. Heathcliff has the capacity to love with all of his beings. He keeps those human emotions tucked away inside him. Heathcliff might have been a better person if circumstances were different.
The Byronic Hero is someone who refuses to accept reality as it is. As a result, he becomes an antihero as a consequence of this refusal to acknowledge reality as it is.
Brontë used a unique psychological formula to create Heathcliff’s personality. This same method is utilized in many subsequent notable novels. The Byronic Hero has evolved and appeared in several cultural phenomena over time.