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The Brontes and Byronic Heroes

            Charlotte and Emily Bronte shared some very interesting, and dreadful experiences throughout their childhood together. Tragic events such as their mother dying when they were under the age of 5 and then followed by the passing of the two oldest Bronte siblings, no doubt affected both authors works. The most obvious example of this affect is Charlotte's depiction of Lowood, compared to her experiences at Cowan Bridge. Helen Burns plays a strong maternal role in Jane's life, just as Charlotte's oldest sister, played in hers. Charlotte's bitterness towards the school where two of her siblings passed away is very evident in her portrayal of Helen's death at the school. This essay will attempt to show that because of the time period they grew up in, and their own family experiences the Byronic hero is so prevalent throughout their novels, "Jane Eyre," and, "Wuthering Heights," by using psychoanalytic and postcolonial criticisms. .
             Rochester and Heathcliff are described by the Bronte's as near perfect models of a Byronic hero. Both are handsome, but also with dark past secrets. Emily Bronte goes as far as describing Heathcliff as both, "a gift of God," and, "as dark almost as if it came from the devil," (Bronte, E 77). Rochester and Heathcliff both share the quality of want for a woman they can't have, which is also a very common trait of the hero character created by Lord Byron. In Rochester's first meeting with Jane, she describes him by saying, "had he been a handsome, heroic-looking young gentleman, I should not have dared to stand thus questioning him against his will." This shows that he isn't what most thinks of as a conventional hero, once again playing into the Byronic hero roll. Before this meeting, Mrs. Fairfax describes Rochester as, "rather peculiar, perhaps: he has traveled a great deal, and seen a great deal of the world, I should think.

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