Child Harold - Characteristics of a Literary Hero - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

Child Harold - Characteristics of a Literary Hero
Lord George Gordon Byron

CHILD-HAROLD (born Childe Harold) is the hero of the poem by J.G. Byron "Child Harold's Pilgrimage" (1812-1818). Ch.-G., the first romantic hero of Byron's poetry, is not a character in the traditional sense of the word. This is the outline of character, the embodiment of a vague attraction of the soul, romantic dissatisfaction with the world and with oneself. Biography Ch.-G. typical of all "sons of his age" and "heroes of our time." According to Byron, “an idler, corrupted by laziness”, “like a moth, he frolicked fluttering”, “he devoted his life only to idle entertainment”, “and he was alone in the world” (translated by V. Levik). Disappointed in friendship and love, pleasure and vice, Ch.-G. falls ill with a fashionable disease 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. "Thirst for new places" the hero begins to wander the world, in the course of these wanderings, becoming, like Byron himself, a cosmopolitan or citizen of the world. Moreover, the wanderings of the hero coincide with the travel route of Byron himself in 1809-1811 and in 1816-1817: Portugal, Spain, Greece, France, Switzerland, Italy. Changing pictures of different countries, national life, the most important events of political history form the fabric of Byron's poem, epic and lyrical at the same time. Glorifying Nature and History, the poet sings of the free heroism of the national liberation movements of his time. The call for resistance, action, struggle is the main pathos of his poem and predetermines the complexity of Byron's attitude towards the literary hero he created. The boundaries of the image of Ch.-G. - a passive contemplator of the majestic pictures of the world history opening before him - fetter Byron. The lyrical power of the poet's complicity turns out to be so powerful that, starting from the third part, he forgets about his hero and narrates on his own behalf. “In the last song, the pilgrim appears less frequently than in the previous ones, and therefore he is less separated from the author, who speaks here from his own face,” Byron wrote in the preface to the fourth song of the poem. “This is explained by the fact that I was tired of consistently drawing a line, which everyone, it seems, decided not to notice, < ...> I argued in vain and imagined that I succeeded in this, that the pilgrim should not be confused with the author. But the fear of losing the distinction between them and the constant dissatisfaction with the fact that my efforts did not lead to anything oppressed me so much that I decided to give up this idea - and I did. Thus, towards the end of the poem, which is becoming more and more confessional in nature