Byronic hero

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Why is the byronic hero trope so persistent?

Analyse why the byronic hero trope continues to be popular and "sexy" male characters are still often depicted as arrogant, proud, brooding, unemotional on the surface and somewhat antagonistic to the female protagonist in the beginning to create sexual chemistry. Why haven’t we moved past the Mr.Darcy fantasy- now the Mr.Grey/Edward Cullen fantasy? Why do male characters, especially those in YA such as Jace Herondale in the City of Bones series for example, continue to be by far one dimensional leather-jacket-wearing, smouldering "bad boys". There are SO MANY examples that could be discussed and explored here!!

  • I think that, largely, it has to do with toxic masculinity. We’ve been programmed to view men who don’t express outward emotion (except in very intimate settings) as “strong”, when in reality that isn’t the case at all. In the case of Edward Cullen/Christian Grey specifically, I think these characters romanticize relationships where there is an unhealthy balance of power. In any other context but a book, controlling who you see or don’t see would be considered abusive. Twilight and 50 Shades, however, paint these behaviors as “he just cares about you”. It also really doesn’t help that Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele seem completely oblivious to how problematic these behaviors are. – RebaZatz 6 years ago
  • Nice topic. Don't forget Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester. Other examples might include the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, or even Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series is said to qualify too, although he's not considered completely Byronic. – Stephanie M. 6 years ago
  • And don't forget Deadpool! Also worth considering is Dallas from "The Outsiders." Dally was the ultimate byronic hero. Throughout the novel, Dally is represented as the uncaring bad boy, but at the end it is revealed that he was the character that truly cared the most. – EmskitheNerd 6 years ago
  • They appear in shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. See the link: – L:Freire 6 years ago
  • i feel like men are shamed for being vulnerable by showing compassion etc. – Glimmerkill 6 years ago
  • Feminism created an entire genre called YA for young adult women to enjoy the strength, independence and power we aren't given in a patriarchal society. In these novels, young women are constantly undermining structures of power and are given a wide range of character types and depths. And yet YA has failed in many ways to provide the same feminist message to men by giving them characters who are emotionally vulnerable and sensitive. – sonyaya 6 years ago
  • My understanding was that a big motive for writing original "Byronic heroes" was so that female authors could have male characters who were a little more like themselves--privileged by being male but still "lesser" in some way (for instance, Mr. Rochester is a younger son and so not first in line to inherit an estate). Probably the closest thing to this I've seen in a modern work is, interestingly enough, the male lead in Me Before You--a rich and powerful man who's held back by having a profound disability (or so he thinks). So, in a strange way, I think they are more "relatable" to the female audience than a lot of male characters who are targeted toward men, even if they treat women badly in general. – Debs 5 years ago