“That man of loneliness and mystery,
Scarce seen to smile, and seldom heard to sigh […]
He knew himself a villain—but he deem’d
The rest no better than the thing he seem’d;”
~Byron (The Corsair)
The languidly bored and the passionately violent heroes of novels like The Sorrows of Young Werther and A Hero of Our Time has always been a trope in literature and in culture; brooding his way into millions of hearts every day by NOT playing it safe in a society that requires him to do just that.
Well let’s see what the signs say:
1. You don’t hold back the fact that you are better than others
(You would really like to read Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time to get this straight)
You are introspective and self-critical but at the same time, you are aware that you are better than the whole herd of them.
You would rather sting with the truth than kiss with a lie. If that fails, however, you know you were right and that you tried.
2. You draw people towards you because of the aura you exude; one of mystery and darkness
Safety, be it in life or even in companionship was never your thing. You do not seek comfort in others and hence can safely deliver truth as the bitterest pill possible. You are willing to be notorious if it waters the desert. Your greatest weapon of seduction is the dark and enigmatic personality, but you are always sincere, even in your philandering.
3. You wouldn’t think twice before swinging the axe at yourself just to get laughter from your peers
“Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name”. — Vladimir Nabokov in The Paris Review, 1967.
You have the ability to laugh at anything: death, birth, love, hate and emotions in general. Just as you are able to laugh in the face of anything: cops, heroes and Satan and Satanic figures like God. It’s on them if they can’t laugh back. The joke’s on them. The cosmic joke might be on you too, but the crucial difference is that you’re able to laugh back.
4. It’s either your way or the highway
You embody an innate distaste for hierarchy, norms, rank and privilege. You break/bend rules to exhibit their flaws and indirectly ask others to do the same because they don’t make sense.
And if anything being the wanderer who doesn’t obey is your life; like the poet himself, you too are conscious of your image.
5. There is nothing you can’t overcome or adapt to
Your cunning and conceit is of a superhuman level. The Byronic hero itself was modelled on one Lord Elgin who was so cunning that he convinced the erstwhile Ottoman sultan to let him vandalise the Parthenon and take back spoils.
You will also continuously challenge yourself to do better for some abstract cause or the other. You adapt where you can’t beat but you get the job done.
6. Your personality and attributes are not things one would associate with “heroes”
“They say everyone’s born a hero. But if you let it, life will push you over the line until you’re the villain. Problem is, you don’t always know that you’ve crossed that line. Maybe it’s enough that the world thinks I’m a hero.”
~Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Your troubled past has led to a troubled present that projects a furthermore troubling future, but you are all the stronger for it; there might be storms of feelings inside you and not to mention your self-destructive behaviour but you will proactively wrestle those demons and make them reconciled allies.
You might not wear a cape and go on an urban crusade, but you are Dark Knight.
7. Your loyalty is complicated
“Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor.”
(A dragon is not a slave)
~Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen
Your loyalties lie exclusively with freedom; an anarchic one if need that. You have a French Revolution inside you and you wouldn’t mind sending a few Marie Antoinettes to the guillotine if that made the bigger picture clearer.