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Home » » Write a note on the romantic elements in Don Juan

Byron is the chief exponent and most renowned figure of the whole romantic movement. But he is hardly a romantic at all. His apology is not in favour of romanticism as it was with his . contemporaries including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, Southey, Scott. He was not a romantic in the way the word means for the traditional romantics. Byron was fascinated by the Augustan code of life which was a consistent reincarnation of the classical view of life. 

If we consider his treatment of nature, we find that Byron looks at nature with his classical eyes. Coleridge imposed a moral tone on the existence of nature. Shelley is the accomplishment of revolutionary thought. He intellectualizes nature as a destroyer and preserver at the same time. In the poetry of Blake, nature plays symbolic role. But to Byron, nature is a helping agent and destructive at the same time. Nature helps Juan and Julia’s union, it is warm enough to make one imaginative and contemplative. But in the shipwreck scene nature provides the opposite sight, it contributes to a horrible revelation of human meanness, when the sailors feast on the flesh of their fellows. 

Byron is a realist rather than a romantic poct. For this nature does not appear to him as a fairy force. Byron's realism of observation was a way of exposing the corruption of human nature, He criticised the suppression of sex and illicit love. The problem of Julia in a relationship with Alfonso and of Inez with Jose, and Juha with Juan, Inez with Alfonso, is visualized clearly and condemned with due arguments. 

Byron differed from other romantic poets. Whereas other Romantics tended to follow a single principle in their approach to life, Byron followed his own way-ward changing moods. Like the romantics his nature could not be confined to one single channel. He had a variety of tastes and responses. He has an omnivorous taste from experience and tried most things that came his way. The result of that his great poem Don Juan provides a vivid and searching commentary on the contemporary rescue. 

In Preface to Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth defended prose and the language of a “man speaking to men” as the best model for good verse. But Byron took a different view and his Don Juan is a deliberate attempt to write a long poem and that does the opposite of Wordsworth’s recommendation. Byron gives the impression that he knows what he is doing and that language the uses is greater than he is and commands his loyalty. 

Byron differs from the authentic Romantic not merely in his low estimate of the imagination but in the peculiar quality and power of his wit. Indeed, his wit rises largely from his loss of belief or the relevance of his wilder inventions, he turned on himself and laughed. He mocked at the gaudy nature of women through the description of Inez’s cress very wittily: 

Her morning dress was dimity, Her evening silk, or, in the summer muslin And other stuffs, with which I won’t stay puzzling. 

Byron was the romantic of the romantics. He was more typical of his time than either Wordsworth or Shelley, for Byron absorbed the life around him and expressed what thousand of his contemporaries felt. It cannot be denied that he was fascinated by the Augustan age  but here is difference between the classicism of Pope and thé classicism of Byron. Pope and Dryden seem characteristically to write as the spokesmen write of a coherent and civilized social group: Byron with an equally keen awareness of his public.


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