Flawed Perfection: The Bronte's Use of The Byronic Hero.
Few writers capture the essence of the human condition like the Bronte sisters, Emily and Charlotte. Their influential use of strong female characters was revolutionary for their time. But the Brontes superb powers of characterization were not limited to females. Among several monumental works, two novels stand out among the rest, in large part due to their use of mysterious Byronic, male characters. The overwhelming success of these classics has earned Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre a permanent place on countless book shelves the world over. .
Today, Wuthering Heights' Heathcliff and Jane Eyre's Rochester continue to be provocative individuals, owing in large part to their intriguing Byronic identity. In the next few pages, we will examine three similarities, and three differences which shed light on the dark identities of these two, timeless characters.
In Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte builds Heathcliff's Byronic character by describing the appearance and movement of his eyes. In the first paragraph of Wuthering Heights, Lockwood describes Heathcliff's eyes as, "black,"" and "withdrawn suspiciously under their brows- (Bronte 3). Early on in the novel, this description provides the reader with vital, introductory information about Heathcliff "that he is a dark, and mysterious individual with hidden motivations. Later, as Cathrine lies ill, he comes to her, and kneels at her side. Emily Bronte describes his eyes as "wide, and wet at last, [his eyes] flashed fiercely on her- (Bronte 124). Heathcliff's "wide,"" "wet- and "flashing- eyes portray a man stricken with titanic passions. (add quote from "rejection-) By using physically vivid descriptions of Heathcliff's eyes, Emily Bronte identifies Heathcliff as a Byronic individual.
In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte employs similar physical descriptions to construct the Byronic identity of Rochester.