Four fictional heroes I'd love to meet
books and films which feature my fictional heroes
The BBC television production is in my view the best version of Pride and Prejudice ever. Colin Firth as Mr Darcy is to die for. Women, get ready to swoon.
Pride and Prejudice
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Severus Snape makes an unbreakable vow
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a theoretical perspective
Tall, dark and tortured - fictional men who steal our hearts
Most romances and many classic novels and books work on the premise that there's just something about a man who is in need of a good woman to save him and show him what love is all about. At least, I think so. The dark and dangerous lover, his torment, his agony, all of it can be alleviated by the love of a good, honest woman who sees beyond the surface right to the heart that lies beneath the cold, cynicism. If you look at fictional heroes that continue to inspire love and adoration, this pattern becomes almost immediately obvious. From Hamlet in Shakespeare to the alpha males who make up the bulk of romantic partners in most Mills and Boon romances the formula has held true over the generations. What is it about these types of men that continue to hold women's interest? I mean, really, I don't think I would want to live with a man like this in real life, but in my dreams, he is the figure I yearn for. Is it perhaps that there is something in women that desires escape? If a strong, capable man swept us off our feet, we would no longer be held responsible for our behaviour. He would be in charge and we would be protected. Or is it that we, the female readers identify with the heroines? They are strong, intelligent women but they still manage to not only save the strong, silent male, they even manage to tame him and make him the ideal would-be father?
In any case, here is my list of top 4 fictional heroes I would love to meet. I'm not sure I'd want to live with them forever more, but for moments when life seems irritating, too much or just plain boring, they do the trick nicely.
1. Mr FritzWilliam Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. He is scrumptious, silent and intelligent. He is proud and haughty but finally brought down to earth via Elizabeth Bennett who is everything a modern woman should be. Strong herself, articulate and with enough flaws to make her very human indeed. I'd love to meet him and see if he thought me worthy of friendship. He was known to be the kind of man who could not suffer fools easily. I kind of like that - the fact that he would rather not say anything if he had nothing interesting to discuss. And if Lizzy Bennett was not in the scene, I think a romance with this man would be worth exploring, not least because his fictional home Pemberley is supposedly just as scrumptious as he is. Darcy comes across as a man who has read widely, thought deeply. I'd love to meet him, to figure out what he thought of the industrial revolution that was slowly starting to overtake Britain at that time.
2. Mr Edward Rochester from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I love the fact that he loved Jane not for her outer appearance but for her inner beauty and purity. He adored her strength, her artistic talents and her ability to do what was right. Yes, he tried to make her run away with him and live in sin on the Continent, but in the end, he loved her for who she was completely. Moreover, Jane finally becomes his wife, not when he is the proud master but the man brought low by pain and suffering. Here is the man who has shut himself away from the world, blind and crippled and then here comes Jane, who can finally love him and be useful to him. He now not only wants her, he needs her. Rochester strikes me as the kind of man who would be a brilliantly witty conversationalist. He has travelled widely and that is sure to have made him ponder on the nature of man and humanity. I would love to talk to him about the world he lived in, the nature of the colonies that he visited. I'd love to ask him what he thought of concepts like racism, freedom, equality.
3. Professor Severus Snape from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Severus is a man who has lived a life without love. He has lived for duty, for repentance and for forgiveness from the woman he loved as a teenager. It seems obvious that he is in need of loving from a good woman who will understand his tortured past, his guilt and his feelings on unworthiness. It seems sad that he is killed off in the books without giving him any kind of reward for the suffering he has been through. I mean, really, he's not going to be rewarded in the hereafter, is he? Lily will always be with James, and poor Severus is going to be alone. I'd love to meet him, to love him, to show him that there's someone out there who sees him for the brilliant man he is. The fact that he is a wizard and can do amazing things with Potions would not go amiss. Perhaps he has a magical remedy or brew to help me lose unwanted weight easily without the painful route of diet and exercise.
4. Captain Frederick Wentworth from Jane Austen's novel Persuasion. Captain Wentworth is intelligent and ambitious, but poor and is cast out by Anne Elliott's pompous father. But Anne's love for Wentworth is true and she spends the next seven years alone, a spinster. I adore Wentworth. He starts off with nothing but works his way to being a Captain of a ship, making much money in the process and becoming in the eyes of Anne's greedy father, eminently suitable. I'd love to meet this hero. The stories I'm sure he could tell from his voyages are sure to be utterly enthralling. He is probably going to be bitter and angry after being rejected by Anne, not because she didn't love him but because he didn't have enough money. I think that's one of the shallowest reasons to reject someone, especially someone who was seen to be intelligent and ambitious to boot. But then, material comforts were important considerations when marriage was discussed in those days. Indeed, it still is in many parts of the world.
Thees types of heroes have been called Byronic heroes after the Gothic writer Lord Byron. The Byronic hero is said to be mad, bad and dangerous, but thus, all the more appealing. Some of the typical characteristics of the Byronic hero, and thus the four on my list demonstrate include:
- having a strong sense of arrogance or self-worth mainly because they possess a high level of intelligence and perception. The heroes usually also demonstrate sophistication and learning, while having a devious or cunning nature, which gives them the ability to adapt to different and difficult situations
- have a troubled, tortured past and thus be jaded, cynical and world-weary
- be highly introspective and self-critical and struggle to be the best they can be, thus possessing great integrity
- by their silent nature be seen as mysterious, magnetic and charismatic. The hero is also seen to be highly attractive sexually, often being able to seduce the heroine with just a glance. They are also seen to be dominant both socially and sexually, they sweep the heroine off her feet
- goes through an emotional conflict which makes them moody and even at times, bipolar. The hero often portrays self-destructive behaviour and has dark tendencies
- demonstrates a marked distaste for social institutions and norms, thus be an exile, a rebel, an outcast or even an outlaw. The hero does not care for rank and privilege. He is above such things
Do you agree? Who do you think are your favourite fictional heroes? Do let me know. I would really be interested in finding out what you think of all this.
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