Romantic hero of the works of G. G. Byron (on the example of the poem “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”) - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

Romantic hero of the works of G. G. Byron (on the example of the poem “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”)
Lord George Gordon Byron

Childe Harold (G. Byron. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 1818) is the first romantic hero of Byron's poetry. This is the embodiment of romantic dissatisfaction with the world and oneself. Disappointed in friendship and love, pleasures and vice, Childe Harold falls ill with a disease that was fashionable in those years - satiety and decides to leave his homeland, which has become a prison for him, and his father's house, which seems to him a grave: "an idler, corrupted by laziness", "his age he devoted only to idle amusements”, “and he was alone in the world”. "Thirst for new places" the hero sets off to wander the world.

There are two layers in the poem: epic, connected with Childe Harold's journey, and lyrical, connected with the author's reflection. Childe-Harold sometimes diverges from the lyrical hero, sometimes merges with him. At the beginning, the attitude of the author to the hero is almost satirical.

The poem is written in the form of a kind of lyrical diary of a traveler - a genre that easily accommodates both the lyrical beginning (thoughts, experiences of the hero, author's digressions and generalizations, description of pictures of nature), and the epic breadth dictated by the very movement in time and space. He admires nature, art, people, history, but at the same time, as if unintentionally, he finds himself in the hottest spots in Europe - in Spain, Albania, Greece. Echoes of the political struggle of the beginning of the century break into the pages of the poem, and it acquires a political and satirical sound.

At the beginning of the poem, Childe Harold, with his loneliness and romantically unconscious longing, is detached from the world, and the attention of the young author is entirely focused on comprehending the inner world of his restless soul. But gradually the author, as it were, separates from the hero, even rarely remembers him: he is completely absorbed in the perception of the world that has opened up before him. He transfers all the passion that was originally aimed at himself, at personal experiences, to the suffering, oppressed, struggling Europe, perceiving everything that happens as his personal suffering. This romantic-personal perception of the world as an integral part of one's "I" becomes an expression of "world sorrow". Constantly found in the poem are direct appeals to the peoples of the countries engulfed in the flames of struggle: “To battle, sons of Spain! To the battle!.. Have you really / Forgotten that the one who craves freedom / Himself breaks the chains, which sets a bold goal!

In the third and fourth songs, youthful enthusiasm, expressiveness, rebelliousness, intolerance are replaced by philosophical thoughtfulness, an elegiac-sad statement of the irresistible disharmony of the world.

The discrepancy between the world and the ideals of the poet is the pain of Byron's soul, in which the personal and the public are inextricably intertwined. "Running from people is not the same as hating them."

Byronism is a protest against the inhumanity of the world, against oppression, lack of freedom and a sense of the highest moral responsibility of a person for everything that happens in the world, the conviction that a person is obliged to bear the burden of the pain of the world as his personal human experience.

V. G. Belinsky wrote: “Byron is the Prometheus of our century ... Carrying the suffering of millions in his chest, he loved humanity, but despised and hated people, among whom he saw himself lonely and outcast.”

The moral pathos of the romantics is associated primarily with the assertion of the value of the individual. A special hero is created, opposed to the crowd. This is a person with strong feelings, rejecting the laws that others obey, lonely, passionate. Sometimes it is an artist who has risen above the crowd, who has been given the right to judge the world and people. The subjectivism of the romantics, their emotional attitude to the depicted, led not only to the flowering of lyrics, but also to the invasion of the lyrical principle into all genres (the leading genre is the poem). The Romantics were acutely aware of the discrepancy between ideal and reality and longed for their reunion. They defended the right of the human person to freedom and independence.

Romantic heroes are always in conflict with society. They are exiles, wanderers, wanderers. Lonely, frustrated, challenging unjust social order. Feeling the tragic incompatibility of the ideal and reality, opposing nature (as the embodiment of a beautiful and great whole) to the corrupted world of people, individualism (opposing a person to a crowd).

The “Byronic hero” was soon fed up with life, he was seized by melancholy, he lost touch with the outside world, a terrible feeling of loneliness became familiar to him. Egocentrism brought to the limit leads to the fact that the hero ceases to experience pangs of conscience, committing bad deeds, he always considers himself right. A hero free from society is unhappy, but independence is dearer to him than peace and happiness. He is free from hypocrisy. The only feeling he recognizes is a feeling of great love, growing into an all-consuming passion.