You may disagree with me that Once Upon a Time's Rumplestiltskin (the brilliant Robert Carlyle) is a Byronic hero, but I'm pretty sure he is. Rumple is certainly not heroic in the the way most of us use the word, but then again, neither is Wuthering Heights' Heathcliff, and few would dispute his status as a true Byronic!
The Byronic hero is a specific archetype in literature of all types – intelligent and magnetic, melancholy and brooding, isolated and always burdened with significant flaws. He is part of a grand tradition of romantic heroes.
Brooding? Melancholy? With his demented laugh and gleeful menace, that doesn't necessarily sound like our Rumple, at least on the surface. But it seems like a pretty good description of his Storybrooke alter ego Mr. Gold.
There is a sadness and loneliness about Mr. Gold that Rumple also possesses, although he does a great job of covering it beneath his flamboyance and bravado, his spells and deals. Yet, in last season's "Skin Deep," there it is. Spinning at his wheel "to forget," contemplating the loss of his son, even telling Belle, when sending her out for straw, that he knows she'll not return to him, it's all there. His intelligence is displayed not by Regina's curse but for its place within the elaborate set of manipulations and consequences he has devised to put it into motion, all designed for one purpose: to find his son Baelfire. It is a romantic quest worthy of any Romantic hero, Byronic or otherwise.
The original Byronic hero was the English Romantic Period poet Lord Byron himself, described by his lady as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know." For some undefinable reason, Byronic heroes seem to draw women like moths to a flame. Whether it is that their wounded souls tug at our hearts or (as some might, I believe wrongly, argue) we just like "bad boys," Byronic heroes come in many guises: vampires, dark knights (and the Dark Knight), disillusioned idealists jaded by injustice or betrayal.
So, that brings me to Once's Rumple. The creators of the show Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis the writers, and Carlyle have collaborated to create in Rumplestiltskin a Heathcliff Byronic hero. He is more in the Byronic mold of Heathcliff, the anti-hero of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights than, than he is the softer Edward Rochester of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, but Rumple is in many ways a very classic Byronic hero.