The Quintessential Byronic hero, Don Juan
A Byronic hero is a certain character type that George Gordon Byron introduced to readers in his works using various fiction methods. This type of hero is often considered to belong to Romantic hero family since Lord Byron was a representative of English Romantism. However, a Byronic hero is psychologically and emotionally more complex, than simply a Romantic hero.
Don Juan, the protagonist of Byron’s last and greatest poetry, unlike Childe Harold, is seldom referred to as an example of such. Yet, if we analyze the poetry, we will understand why Byron’s Don Juan is different from Moliere’s and Tirso’s eponymous characters and what makes him a real quintessential Byronic hero (Wilson 248).Byronic hero is always in the center of composition, as if decorating the whole work with his grim greatness. Byron pays great attention to his heroes’ appearance: melodramatic expressiveness of face, movements, and gestures, emphatic pose are of the same importance for him as depicting romantic episodes and hero’s inner feelings. Byronic heroes are noticeable for their rejection of virtues and values traditionally considered heroic. They are also outstandingly intelligent and cunning, value individual freedom above all (“The Byronic hero” 199), are impulsive, rather cynic, and have dark sensibility along with arrogance and dark humour. Byron explicitly outlines the motive of his hero’s solitude, his detachment from the world. Byronic hero is a rioter, a renegade, usually surrounded with mystery. His restraint and secrecy are closely connected with his solitude and mysteriousness.
He underlines his individuality with everything he can: costumes, manners and behaviour. Byronic heroes seem egoistic from the first glance, but as we go deeper we realize in fact they serve greater virtues though never admit it.Don Juan is character most critics refuse to regard as Byronic (“The Byronic hero” 199), yet he is rather such a hero displayed from the other perspective, than, for instance, Childe Harold. Byron’s Don Juan is actually very different from traditional legendary character and from that of Moliere or Tirso (Wilson 246). In his numerous love affairs, he is put forward not as seducer, but as the one being seduced. To some extend he resembles Lord Byron himself.
Nature granted courage and nobility to him. It is displayed when he fights with Alfonso, though he could escape from the window; also, when Don Juan is on board the ship, and it seems they will all die, he shows his courage: “For Juan wore the magisterial face / Which courage gives” (Byron 700).He is initially capable of strong feelings, sensitive and intelligent, as we read in Canto 1: “…so pursued / His self-communion with his own high soul, / Until his mighty heart, in its great mood”(Byron 681). To his first mistress, Julia, he feels genuine love, as described in Canto 2: “Sooner shall earth resolve itself to sea, / Than I resign thine image, oh, my fair!” (Byron 699). With Haidee, he finds that innocence and purity he is looking for, and he loves her with …