Character Analysis Of A Byronic Hero – Dr Gregory House, MD

Despite being a fictional character, Dr Gregory House’s life on reel remarks upon so many different nuances of humanity, that I cannot stop myself from writing this analysis after having watched the entire series thoroughly. Although mostly inspired by Sherlock Holmes, yet this character’s sardonic, misanthropic persona and cunning, dry wit are what affirm his unique identity.

“Everybody Lies”

Before elaborating on this personal maxim that Dr Gregory House always goes by, I would like you all to think about this

Q: Do you think everybody lies?
a) Yes
b) No

If you said yes, then this character’s overtly inquisitive thinking and critical view of humans as selfish liars would hit close to home. It is something that governs House’s exceptional diagnostic abilities and his personal life. Almost every time House and his team get a new patient, they always end up catching them in a new lie, before making the correct diagnosis.
From the pilot episode itself, one gets to know that House has an addiction to Vicodin (narcotic painkiller), amongst other things. Five years before the first episode, he had suffered from infarction of his right quadriceps and a late diagnosis by the team of doctors, ended up turning him into a cripple. Things start to make sense from here onwards. The great Dr House is so distraught by the irony of not being able to save his own leg, that
he drowns his sorrows in not only drugs, but also by taking saving lives to another level, such that he crosses the line between sanity and madness.

Q: Who do you relate with most?
a): The complex, moody, intelligent, rebellious person with immense psychological depth and curiosity
b): The modest, accommodating, nice and intellectually average person
If you find the former stimulating and the latter pretty boring, then you are on the path to becoming a Byronic Hero (just kidding 😉
This is a character archetype originally written by Lord Byrone which describes them as moody, brooding rebels often haunted by a dark secret from their past. Equipped with a dry, acerbic almost cruel sense of humour, House is enigmatic and conceals many facets of his personality with a veneer of sarcasm. His narcissism and contempt for societal institutions
like religion and feminism make him no less than a Byronic Hero himself (just like Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice or Snape from Harry Potter)
” It’s one of the greatest tragedies of life, something always changes “
House describes himself as a “military brat” with an overprotective mother and blatantly brutal, abusive father.

Q: Batman vs Joker
a): Batman
b): Joker
c): Both

If we look carefully, Batman and Joker are the two sides of the same coin, Batman finds the good in people and Joker believes that people are only as good as they are allowed to be. Dare may I say then, that House is a cross between the Batman and the Joker! There is a battle between nihilism and salvation always brewing inside him. On the outside he craves fun, chaos and proof that humanity is predictably simple. On the inside he is cursed with the talent and need to prove that humans are more than what he knows it to be.

Why then do we hate arrogant jerks in real life, but love Dr Gregory House?
Mostly because we got to see his entire journey through to the very last episode, to the point when….well, I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t
taken the journey. Nonetheless, House’s character is much more likeable since it allows us to see the ups and downs of his journey in its entirety, including his strengths, weaknesses, family history, pain, suffering and his take on humanity. While seen as uncaring and apathetic, House has also shown many levels of compassion in various
episodes. For real-life jerks though, we don’t have a full access pass into their lives, thus preventing us from giving them the same kind of leniency of empathy.
Looking at it from a third person perspective is much different than being under the brunt of the negative consequences.
To summarise, I would conclude that House is a multilayered, complex character with fatal flaws in his personality, some redeeming qualities and excellent diagnostic skills. I personally would love to meet up with Dr House in person, even though I end up cursing him later.

Dr Mannat Kaur Bhatia

Intern, GMC Patiala

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