Jon Bon Jovi as the "Byronic Hero", Part One.

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Introduction of topic:

Lord Byron’s “Prometheus” was one of the literary pieces that led to the “Gothic” genre during the Victorian Period. Byron’s “Prometheus” (1816) references the ancient narrative of the Titan Prometheus through intertextuality. Prometheus steals the gift of fire from the gods, as a means of benefitting human life. In saying that, Byron’s poem addresses issues such as appreciating the quality of life, despite the fact that death is our ultimate destination. With respect of intertextuality, Byron draws from the ancient fantastical story of Prometheus through which he establishes his perspective of the narrative. Although a large portion of “Prometheus” highlights the issue of eternal punishment for deceiving the gods, another important aspect of Lord Byron’s poem addresses the nature of the human condition. Bryon’s version of “Prometheus” emphasizes that individuals should essentially disregard the fact that we are all going to die, and instead live the best possible life while given that opportunity. The final lines of “Prometheus” states:

Triumphant where it does defy, and making Death a Victory (lines 55)

Within the final lines of the poem, Lord Byron conveys a message of living the best possible life and to capitalize on given opportunity. In saying that, Lord Byron intertextualizes the story of Prometheus, considering the character steals from the gods in order to benefit human beings. Although the character’s actions brings satisfaction, doing what he sees is right brings eternal punishment to himself.

Lord Byron’s inherent goal, and making a connection to Bon Jovi:

The inherent goal from Byron is to emphasize the nature of the human condition, such that this concept encourages individuals to accept that death is our final destination while simultaneously recognizing life as a precious gift. In saying that, individuals should make a point of living the best possible life and take opportunity rather than dwell on the inevitable. With the issue of intertextuality, Byron’s “Prometheus” made me realize that one could argue that Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” (2000) intertextualizes major themes presented in Lord Byron’s “Prometheus”, at least in certain aspects.

New Jersey rock band Bon Jovi released their album Crush in 2000, and the lead single was “It’s My Life”. At the end of the first chorus, Bon Jovi says:

My heart is like an open highway, Like Frankie said I did it my way; I just want to live while I'm alive.

This statement draws from the message Lord Byron conveys in “Prometheus”. Something to consider is that the character of Prometheus steals from the gods to benefit human life, and that was his decision. Jon Bon Jovi sings “Like Frankie said I did it my way”, he is referring to the song “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, but this refers to the issue of making decisions to live the best life possible. Bon Jovi follows the previous line with:

I just want to live while I’m alive

which resonates with individuals, because in most cases life is viewed as an opportunity and that we should make the best of it. Drawing from analysis of certain aspects of Byron’s “Prometheus”, the speaker encourages readers to accept that death is inevitable, but also realize how great life is and to go out of their way to make sure that comes to fruition. Lord Byron’s poem is intertextualized through Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” because truly living during your lifetime is something that easily resonates with the person reading the poem, or in this case listening to the song.

(C)The Modernist Son, 2020.

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