Discuss the concept of the Byronic hero in "Prometheus Unbound."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When we consider the traits of the Byronic Hero, we gain a composite sketch of the figure who believes in self sacrifice. We can see this in the mere selection of Prometheus as a subject.  The God who was punished for giving fire to man and teaching individuals how to trick the gods received punishment for a crime that did not benefit him, but rather gave profound benefit to others.  When the reader is introduced to Prometheus, his crime is unnamed, remaining consistent with another Byronic Heroic trait.  The treatment of Prometheus is consistent with that of an outsider, or someone who experiencing the wrath of the social order.  This is yet another trait of the Byronic vision of the protagonist.  One significant difference is that the Byronic Hero is one who is condemned to suffer and almost wallows in it.  The grace shown to Prometheus with the overthrow of Zeus and gaining his freedom in Shelley's poem is an aspect that is not entirely consistent with the Byronic Hero.

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