Posted at 11.18.2018
In Don Juan, Lord Byron criticises and mocks many of the ideals of his day, seeking to sketch the planet 'exactly as it moves' and offering us a harsh dose of reality coupled with a primary disregard for convention. In 'A Thousand Colours', Dude Steffan highlights our inclination to presume Don Juan to be largely, if not wholly, negative in its manifestation because of this of the constant and numerous portrayals of the inconvenient truths of contemporary society at the time. Though Byron will provide viewers with little special event of his time, this will not imply that he will not offer viewers any positive beliefs of his own. It is actually quite contrary; the values Byron offers us in Don Juan are, in many ways, the most positive worth he can offer us. They are the precious ideals such as truth, education, introspection, wish; in a way, that is full of energy, good humoured and colourful. Byron himself asserts, "Good workmen never quarrel with their tools" (Canto 1 Stanza 201). As Helen Gardner most aptly records, in her article 'Don Juan' - "Although Byron can be bitterhe is not sour", and while the sceptic frame of mind he has are available today, his mighty spirits and passion for life are much rarer features.
By supplying us a depiction that is ruthless and unflattering to our hopes, Byron will not deflate us, but reminds us - through the example and selection of protagonist - that the normal man is capable of serves of great compassion and kindness. Byron finds an equilibrium - refraining from the self-righteous mother nature of the epic practices without compromising his thirst to color the thousand colors of reality. He is also smart enough to comprehend the nature of truth as being ever changing and intricate - too complex for him to declare a universal truth, instead wisely proclaiming "I don't pretend i quite understand/My own so this means when I would be very fine;" (Canto 4 Stanza 5). Byron calls for the accepted mould of not simply the epic custom but society all together; and does not just question and criticises them, but also, and more importantly, leads us as the audience to question them. This is one of, if not the, most significant and most positive value he offers viewers.
One of the main ways Byron's does this is through the character of Don Juan. The decision in making Don Juan the protagonist for his poem is an important one. Through the first canto, Byron's rule is set in opposition to the established lines, shown through his choice in his epic hero - much to the disregard of telephone calls from his contemporaries such as John Murray to make a 'great work'. How come this choice an important one? Don Juan represents an option in a guy who was simply an infamous womaniser and rogue - relatively a counter intuitive choice to make after declaring, "I'd like a hero, an unusual want, " in the 1st collection. However, the fictitious Juan created by Byron is not the productive agent in his pursuit of experience and women throughout the entirety of the poem, but sufferer of the ambitions of successive women, including his own mom, Donna Inez. The Juan created by Byron is very different to what we'd expect - eternally young, innocent and "good at heart". Regardless of the constant changes, whether in setting up, lovers or situations, he remains to some degree the same and changes very little. Therefore, when set against the prevailing creeds and conventions of Byron's time, the character of Juan mixes in as an all natural man of his environment. We are able to explore the type of the partnership between the individual and population from a point of view that is equal to that of contemporary society - Juan is neither a hero nor villain. The perspective Byron offers us through the character of Juan is genuine. He is not the best or the most severe of his time which works in Byron's favour, and moreover inside our favour, as we're able to see things from a far more honest human perspective - for any its imperfections and contradictions. By using a figure as well chronicled and known as Don Juan, Byron is able to play with our expectations, because they are not the principles we would anticipate from Juan.
The horrors of the struggle of Ismail, where 30, 000 men are massacred, shows us one of the better examples of our objectives being taken by surprise and the individual perspective proposed by Juan. As described by Person Steffan, Juan is vunerable to the existing of "wild seas and wild men" (Canto 3 Verse 54) but is ready t0 wipe out without hatred to go up in his compassion and save the life of Leila the orphan - the sole kind deed amidst a "contagion of glory madness". Byron depicts the 'madness that has seized' us in detail in Canto 8 Verse 123, when he writes:
All that your brain would shrink from of excesses,
All that the body perpetrates of the bad,
All that people read, hear, imagine man's distresses,
All that the devil would do if run stark mad
All that defies the most detrimental which pen expresses,
All by which hell is peopled, or as sad
As hell, mere mortals who their electricity abuse,
Was here (as heretofore and since) let loose.
The prices depicted to the audience here are extremely bleak, portraying a vivid image inside our brains of something similar to Dante's Divine Funny. The effect is powerfully emotive, as shown through the combo of all of 'man's distressesrun stark mad' are 'let loose'. Byron does not limit the inferno of Ismail to this single minute, but expands this image for this, reverberating in our heads the gravity of the 'blindness' as ongoing and infinite - much like that of the Hell depicted by Dante. Due to these moments, the narrator's early comments that "War slices up not only branch, but main, " (Canto 7 Verse 41) now hold greater poignancy and so this means amidst 'the sea of slaughter'. There are no positive principles offered here by Byron. To become more precise, there seem to be to be no ideals in sight - only a good amount of vices, 'cemented in individuals bloodstream' by the 'Cyclops mad with blindness' - which is juxtaposed when the chief Pasha calmly puffs his tube with 'martial stoicism'. The image created in the viewers' imagination by Byron is extremely bleak, as the hellish views of battle are brought to life at Ismail, as the top notch few sit back to see the assault. George D. F Lord represents the manner used by Byron as 'hard-edged casualness' in his article "Heroic Mockery"; and Byron uses this hard advantage to dismantle the area provided by the battlefield within which we usually find our epic heroes - 'the desire becomes a problem', as Person Steffan shrewdly notes. Steffan surmises that the political and military services conquests are disclosed as 'offences against humanity, ' conquests which are affected a collapse morally, as the 30, 000 who are slaughtered are commemorated by the 'witty rhyme of victory' sent by Suwarrow.
Despite these piercing illustrations, Byron possesses us a speck of expectation - a good deed among various carnage and devastation. Earlier in Canto eight, in the 3rd verse, the narrator lightly implies "The drying up a single rip has more/Of genuine fame than dropping seas of gore. " Byron explains to us, without any of the bravado and exuberance he often uses, comments that the value of compassion is so excellent, that this outweighs any amount of assault. Upon first reading these responses, it would be easy for this assertion to be lost in the 'battle's roar' as a result of quiet way Byron touches about them, moving smoothly along with the narrative - not allowing us to dwell for even a moment to soak up the weight of his words. This will not however cause the poignancy of his communication being overlooked, as this assertion is later bolstered through Juan's take action of kindness in rescuing the orphan Leila, and in doing so, fulfilling the activities to give greater this is and relevance to the narrator's words. Drummond Bone commentary - "duality pervades the majority of the poem", and this is visible in the battle of Ismail. The battlefield of Ismail is a location where a basic can screen his 'talents' on the 'noble art of getting rid of', and on the other end of the variety, Juan is changed to tears in his compassion to protect the 'Moslem orphan'. The consequence of this is, our company is shown that Juan, who's not elevated to the position of your epic hero, a typical and natural man, is able and capable of great works of compassion, loyalty and kindness. Therefore, we as the audience, even if we do not learn anything from the parody and humour, are shown that there may be a speck of trust amidst the chaos of even the inferno of Ismail. Byron softens the hard blows and we are able to take comfort that a good character like this of Juan is able to be successful where so numerous others are not.
This is not the one positive value proposed by Byron to be able to comfort the blows provided by the mockery and harm of american culture throughout the poem. Through Juan's love with the type of Haide, we receive for a short time a romantic image of a youthful interest that is innocent and natural - embodied in the perfect physical image of Haide. Even the narrator is taken in, despite the ominous signs of 'poison through her heart creeping' (Canto 3 Verse 1) with sentimentality and remarks 'oh, that quickening of the center, that combat!' (Canto 2 Verse 203).
Byron may suggest to his reader that he sings 'carelessly', however, on closer inspection of many revisions and meticulous planning which he devote Don Juan, we realize that this is false. It had been not until 1944, when Professor G. Steffan started his lengthy analysis of the manuscripts of Don Juan, does the focus shift from Byron the man to Byron the poet. The result was a printing that included variants of Don Juan, including drafts and notes created by Byron. Thus giving us a very important insight in witnessing Byron at the job as a poet, through the changes and methods he made - the many revisions of the first canto being truly a prime example of this. Helen Gardner commentary that the revisions show us the initiatives created by Byron to be able to give 'maximum expressiveness to the reality of material and power of sense'. This brings us onto another positive value offered to the audience by Byron - his 'gusto of appearance' as Steffan calling it.
Beneath the digressive aspect of his epic and the nice humour of his narration, is placed what George D. F Lord creates as, a rebellious and defiant voice, stemming from John Milton's character of Satan in his epic poem, Paradise Lost. Despite attracting origins from the tone of voice of Milton's Satan, Byron's defiant tone of voice rebels up against the 'incorrect poetical groundbreaking system' when Byron mockingly declares: "Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope" (Canto 1 Verse 205) used later on by cries of "Hail, Muse! etc" (Canto 3 Verse 1). In the section entitled "Irony and epic interest: Byron & Keats", Michael O'Neill commends the tone of voice utilized by Byron stating: "His ottava rima is an affront to Milton who selected bare versehis poem mock epic pieties, but manages to make a vision that comes with an epic validity. " It is not only the way in which of this tone which works well, but also the end itself. Even as we move further in to the depths of Byron's epic, his viewpoints and thoughts are completely clear. As a result of breaking the conventions of the epic custom by not offering us the omniscient narrator's divine-like judgement, Byron instead provides us a detailed reality (of war, or love for example), and then feeds the audience with questions. These questions are left the reader to answer, somewhat than providing us a crystallised judgement, and these questions are another example of the positive worth he offers in Don Juan. That is a view distributed by E. W Marjarum, in Byron as Sceptic & Believer (1938), who remarks Byron "educates us, but does not answer us". In Don Juan Byron does satirise many of the beliefs of his day, however, in doing so he offers visitors a scope on reality, which really is a positive value in itself, without any statements to knowing a universal truth. Byron as a poet is positive and intuitive enough to comprehend that values such as the truth will themselves slice through "canals of contradiction", yet also humble enough to understand that "But what's certainty? Who may have its clue. . . Ask a blind man, the best judgeI know nought; little or nothing". Because of this, Byron is able to, despite his own feelings being clear, mock the negative principles of his time and present the audience with the truth. He will this not by portraying the truth itself, but by combining and satirising the steady dualities throughout his epic; allowing the contradictions to expose themselves. The result is the audience is provided with an image truth, which is unflattering, but exposing nonetheless in its purity - minus the intrusion of Byron or his narrator.
There is, because of the brilliant depictions of the reality, a danger that the poem becomes lost in negativity and dullness. However, Byron strongly detested dullness and Dude Steffan remarks it was Byron's try to "blast dullness out of the epic. The greater earnest Byron is about what he has to say, the more energetic he becomes in the manner he says it". The effect, Steffan proposes, is the fact that Byron provides the entertainment and satisfaction to fulfil the needs of readers suffering from boredom and restlessness. Steffan amounts the positive value provided by Byron in Don Juan all together when he writes: "We can be struck just as much by the manner as by the matter, and frequently only by the manner. The poet should make the manner, but sometimes in Juan, the way in which makes the poem". To give further facts to back up this assertion, we can easily see lots of types of this throughout the poem, one of which in particular is seen in Canto 3 Verse 88:
But words are things, and a little drop of printer ink,
Falling just like a dew upon a thought, produces
That making thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, think.
'Tis strange, the shortest notice which man uses
Instead of conversation, may form a prolonged link
Of ages. To what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when newspaper, even a rag such as this,
Survives himself, his tomb, and that's his.
The poetic image created here by Byron is a lovely expression of the power of thought. Byron, amidst his digressive bombardment of criticisms against Homer, Milton, Horace, Pope and Dryden, briefly exhibits the depths potential as a poet as he demonstrates on the immortality of any poet's words, striking the reader using its deep poignancy. The way in which where he will so reminds us of William Shakespeare's famous final lines in Sonnet 18 - "As long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, /So long lives this, which offers life to thee", and this is just one more example of the positive principles Byron offers to the audience.