Don Juan: by Lord Byron - Summary and Analysis

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      Don Juan is an epic satire in sixteen cantos by Lord Byron. Don Juan, a young man of sixteen is sent abroad on a ship by his mother for his amorous intrigues with Donna Julia. There is the shipwreck and Don Juan is cast upon a Greek island. He is restored to life by Haidee, the beautiful daughter of a pirate and the two love each other. The pirate father, who was supposed to be dead returns and punishes Juan by sending him, bound in chains, to a sailing ship. Haidee dies of broken heart. Juan is sold as a slave to a Sultana in Constantinople who falls madly in love with him. But stung by jealousy she threatens to kill him. Juan escapes to the Russian army which is besieging the land. Juan plays a gallant part in the siege. He goes to Russia, where he finds favor with the Empress Catherina. By her, Juan is sent on a political mission to England, where a fresh intrigue is just beginning. But the poem suddenly breaks off at this point.

Don Juan is an epic
Don Juan

Critical Analysis

      The poem Don Juan is a medley of the grave and the gay, narrative and descriptive, philosophy and satire. Some of the most beautiful poetry of Byron occurs in the poem. The famous lyric The Isles of Greece occurs in Canto III of the poem. The Haidee - Juan episode is a charming love-idyll. With the main story are mingled several digressions, in which Byron, the fierce satirist lashes at the society and the enemies that so ill-treated him. Byron with his sharp humor and wit, heady passion and thirst after beauty reveals himself unmistakably in the poem. The whole poem flows with the ease and naturalness of Byron's conversation, a stream sometimes smooth, sometimes rapid, sometimes rushing down in cataracts - a mixture of philosophy and slang - or everything.

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