A sixteenth-century patriot imprisoned for his defense of the freedom of Geneva. Byron memorializes him and his sacrifice in "The Prisoner of Chillon," which describes his imprisonment in the Chateau de Chillon and his eventual--but much delayed--release.
A young nobleman (as indicated by the title "Childe") coming of age to receive his due honors in British society. Although Byron insisted that Harold was not a stand-in for himself, Harold's "pilgrimage" parallels Byron's own journeys through western Europe. By the third canto of Childe Harold's Pilgirmage, Byron had given up claiming that Harold was merely an artistic device and admitted Harold's autobiographical connection.
Harold is mostly a figure devised to establish point of view for the reader. Although he begins the first canto as a proto-Byronic hero, complete with regret for some mysterious past folly and an exile to the European continent due to his errors, Harold often vanishes entirely from the narrative to be replaced by Byron's own narrative commentary on the situations described.
The comic hero of Byron's mock epic Don Juan, the young man is innocent without being completely naive and finds himself in a variety of compromising situations with women who pursue him for his good looks and vitality. Unlike the popular conception of "Don Juan," this character is not an aggressive, lascivious lover; instead, he is an accidental paramour to various women who seek his favors over those of their own husbands. By the end of the mock epic, Don Juan matures enough to care for an orphaned Muslim girl and establish her in the relative safety of England even as he flees his unintentional bad reputation.
A bandit lord infamous for his army of ruffians and their exploits throughout Albania. Byron commemorated him in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, wherein he descibes the man's charisma and positive leadership qualities along with his savagery and instability. Ali Pacha was in many ways a role model for Byron himself, who idealized his banditry as a form of struggle against oppressive forces.
Lady Charlotte Harley, daughter of Lady Oxford and a woman of amorous interest to Byron. Charlotte is made the muse who inspires Byron in the first canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; although only eleven years old when Byron first met her, she became for him an ideal of unreachable love. Her youthful beauty inspired him to optimism concerning his more prevalent belief that beauty--along with so many other pleasures--fades over time.
A choirboy at Harrow during Byron's time as a student there. Edleston is the subject of much sorrow on Byron's part, particularly in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Edleston and Byron began an intimate relationship at school which lasted until Byron took the peerage upon achieving his majority. Although Byron seems to have ignored Eldeston for many years following, after he learned of the younger man's early death he devoted several stanzas of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage to bidding farewell to his beloved choirboy.
The Greek goddess of wisdom and architecture. Byron invokes Athena as his muse in the second canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Her invocation there is particularly poignant, as that section of the poem describes his sense of outrage at the desecration of Athenian ruins and--by extension--classical Greek culture.
Byron's young daughter, whom his estranged wife Annabella took with her when separating from Byron in London. After their departure, Byron never saw his daughter again. She is his muse in the third canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and embodies his frustration at being denied his paternal rights even as he struggled with his role as an absentee father and poor role model for the girl.
Byron's short-term wife, who eventually separated from him, citing abusiveness and possible insanity. Once she left hiim and made the separation legal, Byron left England to undertake self-imposed exile in Geneva. She is the basis for the foolish and overbearing Donna Inez, mother of the title character in Don Juan.
Byron's long-time schoolmate, friend, and fellow traveler. Hobhouse accompanied Byron on the journeys that made up the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Piligrimage and is himself the object of the dedication in the fourth canto of that work. Hobhouse was a constant companion to Byron and corroborates much of Byron's poetic travelogue in his own prose account of the journey.
Lord Byron’s Poems Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Lord Byron’s Poems is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.