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When we discuss Byron’s legacy we should pay attention to his principles which were based on romanticism as a trend. He tried to find an ideal as all romantic poets, but he seemed to speak about both past and future, and about a human being who is undeserving in the present. At the beginning of his career Byron was a romantic poet, in the end – realistic poet. Byron was born when the French revolution came to an end, it experienced a complete defeat and caused the appearance of poets who tried to change the ugly reality. Byron’s father was a profligate. He married Byron’s mother for money, and after wasting his wife’s fortune he escaped. He died when George was 3 years old. His mother was left with a very small income. She was fond of her child, but at the same time she was capricious and violent in temper. The boy loved her a lot, but he couldn’t respect her. He was handsome in features but clubfoot. He was painfully sensitive of this defect. Byron went to Harrow where he made his first essays in verse. He felt in love with his cousin Mary, but she married another man (he later wrote “A Dream”). Then he went to Cambridge (2 years later published “Hours of idleness”). Critics say none of the poems show a great merit, but they may be regarded as a promise of future excellence. Byron travelled a lot (to the East – Spain, Malta, Greece, Constantinopole) and his experience found its reflections in the first two cantos of “Child Harold’s Pilgrimage”. This book was entirely different from his publications. It showed that now there was a poet no one could compete with in talent & poetic imagination. Byron found himself famous. Nothing is more remarkable in his career than the rapidity with which his mind expanded. “Don Juan” is the last great work of Byron (1818). Here Byron came to an attempt to create realistic character. The poem was begun when he left Italy for Greece. The poem records 6 major adventures of his hero. It opens with the description of his childhood & his early love affair with Donna Julia – a married friend of his mother. The love affair was discovered & this discovery led to Don Juan’s being sent away from the country. The first half on canto 2 contains the account of the shipwreck & Don Juan’s sufferings in an open boat. The beginning of the novel shows that Byron has changed his method, that the character is much different from the previous ones. Byron shows that he became the realistic writer & the sign that makes us be convinced of it is that we know a lot about the character’s background. When we have to deal with the romantic character we usually don’t know anything about his past. We know only his qualities. With Don Juan things become different – we know much about his childhood, we’re given much information about his parents & the society he grew up in. From the first 2 cantos we can see that Byron pays much attention to the realistic details. Describing shipwreck & the character’s wanderings in an open boat, Byron shows us that one & the same thing may be treated s taken of passionate love & the instrument of cannibalism. When Don Juan went on bordership, he had a very cherished thing – a love letter from Julia. But after the shipwreck when all the crew wanted to eat they decidedto draw lots in order to choose who will be eaten (used the love letter). The third adventure involves Haidee – the daughter of a Greek pirate. Haidee finds Don Juan unconscious on the shore – she becomes his lover – her father’s unexpected return – Don Juan is seized & sent into slavery. In Constantinople Don Juan has courage to resist the advances of the sultan’s favorite wife. Byron describes his solitude from the 4th canto till the end of the 6th canto. In “Don Juan” Byron reveals many topics: love, fame, politics etc. he voices quite explicitly his ironic but finally compassionate sense of human comedy. The intention of the novel is to represent like in “Canterbury tales”, “Don Quixote”, “Tom Jones” the human comedy, that changes with the time but in reality remains the same. In this respect Byron employs traveling, adventure to give us a model of different situations & these different parts are united by the main character, who serves like a pivot around which the whole world evolves. But Don Juan is a special type of character – he is the center of the plot, but excites practically no interest on his account. Our attention slips poet Don Juan. We are interested in the people he meets & the settings in which he meets them. In this we come realize that Byron gives us an opportunity to attach importance even to secondary characters. Byron’s tone differs sharply when he deals with different characters, tries to represent their speech. This quality makes the novel sound dramatic. We have a lot of conversation. In some parts of the novel Byron himself comes to the proscenium & addresses to the public. But even in the time when his characters speak he tries to realize his dramatic method, he brings himself in. He is ever-present – he doesn’t pretend to remove himself from the stage. As a commentator he is rather witty. In “Don Juan” he sentimentalizes occasionally. Normally his fundamental comparison shows itself through high-spirited mockery which is typical of him. He may use some literary digressions, but soon returns to his habitual tone – irony & mockery – which becomes keen when in the last 6 cantos he is admitted to British polite society.

“ In the Great World, - which being interpreted Meaneth the West or worst end of a city, And about twice two thousand people bred By no means to be very wise or witty, But to sit up while others lie in bed, And look down on the universe with pity, - Juan, as an inveterate Patrician, Was well received by persons of condition..” He employs all sorts of devices: alliteration (West, worst, World) puns (west – worst) He gives us a picture which is very vivid, but at the same time it’s open, unveiled satire. “But Juan was a bachelor - of arts, And parts, and hearts: he danced and sung, and had An air as sentimental as Mozart's Softest of melodies; and could be sad Or cheerful, without any 'flaws or starts,' Just at the proper time; and though a lad, Had seen the world - which is a curious sight, And very much unlike what people write.” “Don Juan” was never completed. Within a year poet’s life was ended. Byron was an arrogant lover of liberty, fought in the revolutionary Italy. As many great poets Byron predicted his fate & death. “Don Juan” is an exhibition of character and a picture of manners. Byron described the manners of people all over Europe. Don Juan visited many European countries – the opportunity to show moral drawbacks of different societies.