The Narcissistic Psyche

Ambrose Research Conference presentation
Byron’s dramatic poem, Manfred, is a highly complex work that deals with elements of the supernatural, metaphysical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological, among others. One of the most interesting aspects of this poem is what many critics assume to be the autobiographical element, the never-stated but ever-present shadow of Manfred’s relationship with his sister Astarte. Another key aspect is the extent to which this poem is saturated with references to ancient traditions and stories: Biblical, Egyptian, and Greek, to name just a few. But though Byron evokes much mythology throughout Manfred, there are two myths in particular that he utilizes and re-writes into the relationship between Manfred and Astarte: one is Echo and Narcissus, the other is Cupid and Psyche. By taking a deeper look at the themes and ideas within these two myths and comparing the loves of these ancient couples to that of Byron’s Romantic hero, we will gain a clearer understanding of the temperament of Manfred, and the true nature of relationship with Astarte.
14 pages