Don Juan Essay Research Paper In order

Don Juan Essay, Research Paper

In order to grasp the full meaning of Lord Byron?s ?Don Juan?, the style, the

speaker, the listener, and the literal and underlying meaning of the poem must be

analyzed. ?Don Juan? is a mock epic that vividly narrates the exploits of the infamous

character of the title. This poem is considered Lord Byron?s (a.k.a George Gordon)

masterpiece and placed Byron on the list of one of the great poets of the Romantic Period.

Byron?s style is different of that of any other nineteenth century poets. In ?Don

Juan?, Byron evolves a form that best fits his subject. The style used in ?Don Juan? is

personal and subjective, but the themes are universal (Boyd 109). Byron uses language

that expresses a full range of emotions which lends to ?Don Juan?s? amazing tone and

tremendous energy. This tone and the energy also come from Byron?s complete

understanding of the spoken language (Bottrall 108). In his poetry, especially in ?Don

Juan?, Lord Byron demonstrates the rhythmic ideals of colloquial English through the

devices he employs. ? The huddled speed of question and answer, parenthesis, court

gossip, innuendo, thrust, and repartee, is breath-taking? (Bottrall 109). Byron sticks with

a common ABABABCC rhyme scheme throughout ?Don Juan? along with the normal

word-order, and yet the rhythms of everyday speech are also introduced and meshed with

all of the intricate stanza work. This produces a frantic energy in the poem that alleviates

the potency of the story. The way that Lord Byron fits form to subject in ?Don Juan?

adds immensely to the enjoyment of the poem an many levels.

?Don Juan? is told from the perspective of the main character, Don Juan. He is a

classic ?Byronic hero?, characterized by his moods passion, and dark sexual allure (Keith

87). ?Don Juan? is considered by most to be autobiographical, though none of the love

scenes are strictly so. Byron approaches many subjects through Don Juan?s exploits and

handles them all ?playfully on the surface, but with an underlying seriousness? (Boyd 109).

Through his main character, Lord Byron explains the confusion and loss of reputation in

his life brought on by love affairs (Boyd 112). He also condemns the hypocrisy of

society?s and individual?s ideals of love and especially marriage. In accordance with his

beliefs on these ideals, Byron proceeds to make Juan out to be a hero in every respect of

his life except in his relations with women, giving the listener a peephole in which Byron is

revealing a bit of himself. Byron explains or excuses the behavior in his own life by

writing about Don Juan. He says,

? This is how the human being is evolved whom the

world ignorantly dubs a Don Juan. Hypocrisy, violence, and vicious

self-indulgence in individuals combine with an unnatural civilization to ruin the

pristine beauty and purity of the human heart? (Boyd 112).

In most literature containing references to Don Juan he is portrayed as deceitful and

immoral, but in Byron?s ?Don Juan? he is shown to be an innocent, beautiful, and

charming young man whose way with women leads to many sticky situations. The

ingenuity of this poem is the lapses in the story in which Lord Byron has interjected his

own reflections on the subject. In this way Byron both separates himself from Juan and

simply displays their similarities.

Lord Byron wrote ?Don Juan? in a period of literary history when conservatism

ruled. Public tastes were controlled by groups such as the Society for Suppression of

Vice, and many writers and publishers feared prosecution for immoral material. In fact the

first two cantos of ?Don Juan? were in jeopardy of being edited out of the poem because

of their content. In this atmosphere, Byron wrote his most risqu? poems in response to

and possibly because of the increasing conservatism. ?Don Juan? is a satire of the political

and social problems during the Romantic Age and clearly is a release from the prudish,

censored works of the time. It is a direct plea to an audience of readers to discern the

truth of his words and statements on life in his mixture of sexual and adventure themes.

The literal and underlying meaning of ?Don Juan? are, in instances, both clearly

stated and ambiguously interchanged. Though Byron?s preoccupation is with all things

romantic, he writes of politics, religion, metaphysics, history, and nature. He uses a

plethora of themes to reiterate his main theme of Nature vs. Civilization. The best

summary of the themes of ?Don Juan? is found at the end of Canto VII , ? Love – Tempest

- Travel – War? (Byron 109). Byron wrote a poem with deep literal meaning in the form

of a light-hearted, adventuresome, sex-laden tale to attract an audience whose ignorance

overrode their ability to grasp the severity of the problems in their lives. In this sense,

Lord Byron succeeds in capturing the truth in human nature and was left with a poem that

has been enjoyed through the ages.


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