Main Byronic Hero Discussion

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08:10:56 PM Jul 21st 2013
edited by
Just to point out, the quote underneath the trope image, "...turbulent as the sea.":

The trope image is of a mountain range covered by low clouds/fog (the work's fairly famous). Does the needs to be addressed or shall we just leave well enough alone?
07:48:55 PM May 6th 2013
edited by
I am concerned because this page says that most or all Byronic heroes are morally in the gray to dark area, but a Byronic hero is simply someone who is moody, introverted, having deep emotions. He is usually a melancholic loner (and that is not always a bad thing) and he does not hold with the beliefs of his society as a whole and does what he thinks is right. This is a man who thinks that his society is doing something wrong and is likely trying to fix it on his own, and he may succeed and change the society. Some examples of morally good Byronic heroes are Samus Aran and Philip Marlowe the detective.
07:55:16 PM May 6th 2013
edited by
After all, it is not morally wrong to be moody, introverted, or melancholic, and there are plenty of examples of good guy Byronic heroes. Besides no one is perfect.

Look in the second paragraph beneath personality and portrayal. Wikitroid is a wiki, but so is this site. Just examine what the page says and see it it makes sense.

Let's make the Byronic hero page make the BH sound like he is more generally open to being good as well.
10:52:00 AM Aug 13th 2012
Also would Sandor Clegane The Hound count as a Byronic Hero. He is a outcast, has anger problems, a dark past and very sympathetic.
05:04:23 PM Sep 26th 2012
I don't believe so. A Byronic Hero has to have a great deal of charisma. Sandor is an Anti-Villain, later Anti-Hero, so he's definitely sympathetic in spite of his flaws, but the only one shown to be drawn to Sandor in any sort of way does so because he rescued her and protects her.

The two listed examples for A Song of Ice and Fire, Jaime and Tyrion, both have the emotional flaws (arrogance, cynicism, authority issues, introspection) of a Byronic Hero, but they both also have a great deal of charisma: Tyrion is one of the best Guile Heroes/Magnificent Bastards in the series, being incredibly persuasive despite being a disfigured dwarf, and Jaime is both incredibly attractive and quick-witted. Sandor's close, but he doesn't quite fit, lacking the in-universe charisma that a Byronic Hero requires.
03:52:08 AM Jan 21st 2014
What about Arya?
05:57:06 PM Feb 9th 2014
No. She might be able to pose as one, but the role is male.
05:03:17 AM Dec 10th 2016
What do you mean by «the role is male»? There's already Jessica Jones proving Byronic Heroines exist... And countless others.
10:13:54 AM Aug 8th 2012
edited by goblinking
Would Greed from FMA count as a Byronic Hero. He has a Dark past, is charismatic, he is greed itself, he has strong personal beliefs, and is also sympathetic
05:00:44 PM Feb 9th 2014
I'd definitely agree, especially Second Greed from Brotherhood. Thing is, his example was completely removed with absolutely no explanation from the editor whatsoever. I'm tempted to add him back in, considering he has many traits consistent with the trope.
09:14:06 PM Apr 23rd 2012
I'm really curious as to how Hamlet is "a very borderline case" of a Byronic Hero. I'm currently in a production of Hamlet (not as Hamlet himself, mind you), and comparing his actions to the definition here and the more expanded one on Wikipedia, he seems to fall perfectly into this trope. Arrogant? God, is he ever. It's very clear when he's explaining how he foiled Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Horatio. He's practically swimming in his own ego. Cunning and able to adapt? Very quickly after hearing of his father's murder, he comes up with a plan of what to do, and he's constantly shown to be able to adjust on a dime. Cynical? To the core. Disrespectful of rank and privilege? He's defiant of both the king of Denmark and his surrogate father, even before finding out what he did. Emotionally conflicted, bipolar, or moody? He's constantly debating internally on what he should do, or if he should even go on living. Having a distaste for social institutions and norms? A little more difficult, but he is shown to be a bit of a black sheep: reading for hours on end in the lobby, brooding incessantly. This one is a bit tougher. Having a troubled past or suffering from an unnamed crime? His father's death, and later revealed to be fratricide. Intelligent and perceptive? His keen perception and intelligence help him deduce that Polonius is spying on him. Jaded, world-weary? The "To be, or not to be" and "Too solid flesh" speeches vouch for this one. Mysterious, magnetic and charismatic? He's definitely mysterious, and he's very capable of putting on the charm with the Player King and others he's trying to manipulate. Seductive and sexually attractive? Hard to show, but Ophelia's pretty crazy about him, in a few ways. Self-critical and introspective? Obviously. Self-destructive? Suicide is a perpetual option in the back of his head. Socially and sexually dominant? Shown pretty well in his "Get thee to a nunnery" tirade, though he was playing it up as part of his madness. Sophisticated and educated? As a prince. Struggling with integrity? One of his key character traits. Treated as an exile, outcast, or outlaw? Partially of his own choice, but Claudius immediately starts treating him as an outcast at the wedding due to his brooding.

I'm more than willing to listen to counterpoints, and I suppose a lot can change depending on how you interpret him, but, to me, he seems like a completely straight example of a Byronic Hero.
01:14:14 AM Apr 26th 2012
edited by CrazyDawg
It's been a while since I've read Hamlet, but I'd say you've got very convincing evidence for Hamlet being a Byronic Hero. I can't accuse you of not knowing the text well, either. And this is coming from the guy who included Hamlet as a "very borderline example" on this page. Not to mention that he has strong passions and ideals as well.

The only counter-argument I could think of is that Hamlet didn't kill Claudius in Act I when he had the chance. He knew Claudius did it, and that was his chance. Byronic Heroes always struck me as being pro-active and effectual in the pursuit of their ideals.
06:28:15 AM Apr 30th 2012
edited by Denman
True, but that ties in with his emotional conflict. He doesn't know if the ghost of his father is genuinely his father, or the devil trying to deceive him, so he stages The Murder of Gonzago to try and get a reaction out of Claudius, which he does. Not long after, he finds Claudius alone and is ready to do the deed, except that he's currently praying, and Hamlet doesn't want Claudius to go to heaven despite murdering his father. He wants his soul to rot in hell. The audience of course finds out that Claudius wasn't actually praying, but Hamlet is unaware. The second he thinks that he has a chance of killing him and sending him to hell for his crimes, he goes for it. Unfortunately, the man he thinks is Claudius turns out to be Polonius, and thus everything starts going to hell. While I agree that his tragic mistake is refusing to off Claudius then and there, I think his reasoning behind it falls very much into this trope. It's similar to Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist: He's biding his time and waiting for his chance to make his move, which hurts him almost as much as it does help him.
01:48:30 PM May 7th 2012
While I was aware of Hamlet's motives behind not killing Claudius in Act I because he wants him to go to Hell, I still wouldn't have said that in favour of him being Byronic until now. This is a very convincing argument and I'm going to edit the Hamlet example to being just a straight example.
03:19:17 AM Apr 16th 2012
edited by CrazyDawg
I don't know why Michael Corleone wasn't on the page until I recently added him. He ticks all the boxes!
06:32:42 PM Apr 16th 2012
I agree! Good call.
06:54:08 PM Apr 3rd 2012
Just a quick question. When it comes to literature, what criteria are we using for "Classic" and "Modern"?
11:37:08 PM Apr 3rd 2012
That's really a pickle, because "modern" can mean "after the Middle Ages", "After the French Revolution" etc. I think the differentation shouldn't be done at all - or if it is really needed, label them with centuries instead of the vague Modern/Classical.
11:14:04 AM Feb 2nd 2012
edited by JoePGuy

"Byronic Heroes are charismatic characters with strong passions and ideals, but who are nonetheless deeply flawed individuals who may act in ways which are socially reprehensible, and whose internal conflicts are heavily romanticized."

Yeah, he's charismatic as hell, isn't he?

I understand the urge to add him, but like a lot of the discussion topics above (which I agree with), I don't think he fits. I think too many examples on the list are focusing on "deeply flawed individuals who may act in ways which are socially reprehensible" who happen to be cast as (or one of) the protagonist(s). The Byronic Hero (as mentioned above) is more than that - it's the whole package.

EDIT: Reading the list further...

Tony Montana?

"...their bad actions may be as numerous as those which are heroic, but never are they evil for evil's sake."

He's a criminal. He is not unaware of this. He "murders and betrays his way to the top of the Miami drug lord heap." There's literally nothing heroic about him. Had somebody accidentally spoiler-tagged the "Hero" portion of "Byronic Hero" in the title when this example was added? (Among many, many other examples. Some which I may not even know, not being familiar with the stories.)
11:16:19 PM Apr 2nd 2012
edited by EKK
I put Montana back in. Your reason for deleting him is just bad. "There's literally nothing heroic about him", that's true, but would you please take the time to read more than just the name of the trope before making such adjustments? The very first line of the trope's description states unambiguously that anti-heroes and even villains can be Byronic heroes.

EDIT: I also put Rorschach back in, for similar reasons. I'm not very familiar with the character but some reading convinced me that cutting the example was unjustified as well.
02:11:37 PM Apr 10th 2012
I certainly took the time to read "more than just the name of the trope" - that assumption's a bit on the "uncool" side, yeah? (Which I've heard somewhere isn't cool, when you're editing tropes.) In fact, I'd say that actually knowing some of Byron's work (and his contemporaries) would sum up to a bit more than reading "just the name of the trope." I won't make any similar assumptions - I'll just guess that you've read him, too. But really: a) you could certainly have replied to this question long, long ago (instead of pushing for an edit war - which won't happen, I'm not that invested or aggressive about it); and b) let's keep those assumptions to a minimum and just work out what works here and what doesn't, on a site which is awfully fun to read.

So - I strongly disagree with Montana being any kind of Byronic hero: "never are they evil for evil's sake." If we can justify how none (or even very few, I'll agree) of his evil actions are, pretty much, purely evil, then sure. He doesn't seem that way to me at all.

As for Rorschach? I am familiar with the character, and also familiar with the archetype of the Byronic hero. A key element of that Byronic hero archetype, largely lost in the glut of "badasses" in the Chromium Age, is that in other circumstances, they'd be just as dashingly heroic as the dashingly heroic hero. It's not just about being a Nineties Anti-Hero. It's not just about making morally gray decisions.

This trope doesn't define it all that way, only because modern vampire fiction and Chromium Age superheroes muddied the waters. I can live with that, no worries.

But when you come down to "considered very attractive physically, possessing a great deal of charisma, sophistication, and intelligence, as well as emotional sensitivity, which may translate into moodiness"? Rorschach's got the last two in spades, and you could argue intelligence as well (though it's seriously overpowered by his convictions, which cause him to miss out on his reasoning). The rest? Nope.

He just doesn't seem to fit the archetype. In my opinion, at all, but I can see how some might think he has a toe in the water. As for wading in or dunking underwater? I don't see how that makes sense.

Feel free to show me how it does. But let's keep that "cool" thing going, instead of pretending that I'm just diving into shit without bothering to think at all. I left this discussion post up for quite a while, waiting for anybody to dispute it, before I made any edit. I stand by my reasoning - but I'm certainly open to convincing.

In the end, I just think it's silly to throw in eighty characters because they "kinda sorta" fit a trope. Tony Montana fits plenty of tropes, as does Rorschach. They'll be all over the site; I can honestly guarantee they won't be left out!
02:27:53 PM Apr 10th 2012
Why didn't you have these reasonsings the first time around? Go ahead, I won't stop you.
01:49:55 PM Apr 13th 2012
edited by JoePGuy
Actually kinda sorta did have those reasonings the first time round, if you look back (look at my sarcastic bit for Rorschach and the direct trope quote for Montana - and my point that a Byronic Hero is generally a whole package, not just bits and pieces). I just didn't expound on them at length, so as not to bore everybody. My bad - I'll expound in the future!

Feel free to revert if I'm stepping on your toes, but it seems that you've agreed with the reasoning above, so I'll jot those two off the list again. Thanks for getting it back on track!
04:55:45 PM Sep 1st 2011
Don Draper of Mad Men has to be the most obvious example in modern culture. Why isn't he here
07:17:45 PM Sep 1st 2011
I remember seeing him there... someone probably just took it down.
09:02:52 PM Aug 17th 2011
I haven't got around to watching the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie yet, but ... Jack Sparrow? Really? He doesn't seem to do nearly enough brooding, and seems to be far too comedic a character.
10:35:23 PM Aug 21st 2011
edited by tropetown
It takes some thinking about, but yes, he does fit the mold rather well. Passionate? Yes, since he was willing to make a Deal with the Devil to become captain of the Black Pearl. Introspective? Indeed, if you watch the second movie, he spends quite a bit of time inwardly focused: both on his growing attraction to Elizabeth, on his predicament, and on his heart's desire, which is why he needed Elizabeth around in the first place, since he had conflicting emotions on what he really wanted, yet another Byronic trait. Disdain for authority goes without saying, cynical and jaded, definitely, though it's difficult to see behind his comedic exterior. Determined to live out his philosophy at all costs? Well, considering his backstory (too complicated for this), oh yeah: it's bitten him in the ass a few times, but he never compromises his own principles, though his principles are more morally flexible- and at times inscrutable- than other characters', arguably another Byronic tendency. I could do a whole analysis on the character, but I think I've made my point. It's just not as easy to spot because a) it's a movie, not a book, so it's not as easy to show the Byronic introspection as it would be on paper, b) until the 4th movie, he isn't the main character; therefore, we wouldn't be seeing things from inside his head enough to make the other qualities as obvious, and c) he seems to be having too much fun to qualify for this trope; however, keep in mind that Byronic Heroes are not exactly the most open about their inner emotional state; the only reason we know is because we can see their private moments, something which doesn't happen too often with Jack.
12:03:43 PM Nov 29th 2010
edited by cclospina
The problem is that many believe the Byronic hero is very poorly defined.

as others had said before most of Byronic heroes are morally neutral (Not evil).
09:34:51 AM Nov 30th 2010
I tried redoing the definition a bit to make it a little more consistent. Any improvement?
11:09:30 AM Nov 30th 2010
Yes, Thank you.
03:08:13 PM Nov 27th 2010
There seems to be some confusion over what constitutes a Byronic Hero, but how can Tara Chace possibly qualify? Granted, she has character flaws (notably, she drinks), and she isn't a pure white-hat (she is a secret agent, after all), but she's basically a good and decent person who tries to do the right thing.
09:50:30 PM Sep 21st 2010
edited by MarqFJA
This trope appears to be a almost perfect opposite for Noble Demon - they're basiclaly "a self-proclaimed hero/villain who does/possesses little heroism/villainy". Thoughts?
10:33:19 AM Sep 15th 2010
So the Byronic Hero is the middle ground between the magnificent bastard and the guile hero? It's possible for type IV and above anti heroes to come across as magnificent bastards but these are human flaws and they're on their way to becoming Guile Heroes.

The magnificent bastard is a villian and rightfully should be stopped but you have to admit that he's good. Also people love to hate this guy because well even the guys want him.

The appeal of the byronic hero is kind of like the appeal of a scary movie. It's not real but it fulfills a need to be scared without being put in real danger. Like Lady Caroline Lamb said. They are mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

01:26:10 PM Jul 11th 2010
It seems that the examples to some large degree confuse Byronic Hero with Villain Protagonist or just plain Villain. I'm too lazy to go clean it all up, but I wish someone would.
04:38:53 PM Oct 3rd 2010
Seconded, well at least for the Byronic Hero and Villain Protagonist part of it. (Both of these are considered protagonists in the story but act like villains). The two articles don't have any way of differentiating themselves from each other, and even their laconic versions sound exactly the same.
03:49:46 PM Nov 25th 2010
The difference is that the Byronic heroes have some redeeming qualities.
05:18:49 PM Mar 29th 2010
According to this troper's understanding, a Byronic hero must also be a sex magnet and socially dominating, a Chick Magnet bordering on Even The Guys Want Him. Howver, because of his cynicism and self destructive nature, he doesn't really care about his conquests and has trouble forming long term bonds.

Should this be added? I think it's pretty important to the trope.
10:14:01 PM Apr 17th 2010
I'd be okay with adding that. I'd like to add that I think the laconic description really is more fitting for the Villain Protagonist.
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