Discuss Lord Byron’s epic poetry

MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE NOTES

Lord Byron belongs to the younger generation of Romantics. He embodies all the features of a romantic poet – he was an alienated outsider. He was the first English poet to influence Europe.
His poem Don Juan is an unfinished epic satire, which:

  • - combines seriousness and humor (the tone of the poem is light-hearted and comic despite the serious subject)
  • - semi-autobiographical
  • - composed in ottava rima
  • - the poem’s light tone suggests Byron doesn’t take the characters and events seriously; the language is colloquial and slangy
  • - Don Juan is a replica of  Childe Harold, but he is more light-hearted, craving for experience and sensation; he is passive and mostly acted upon: he is a constant seeker of meaning
  • - Don Juan represents physical desire divorced from any spiritual or even humane feelings
  • - He undergoes a series of adventures but does not mature
  • - A range of ideas; from the supposed glory of war and heroism to fidelity in love and oriental exoticism

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