Lord Byron's Poems
Nature, Spirituality and Individuality in Don Juan College
The Romantic Era was a period in which poets and intellectuals challenged the emphasis on reason and science espoused by the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. Lord Byron, or George Gordon Byron, was a leading romantic poet who lived during the nineteenth century and was best known for his epic poem Don Juan. Byron’s poem follows the life of a young man, Don Juan, as he is exiled from his home and journeys across the Mediterranean. Don Juan is a satire whose purpose is to critique nineteenth-century societal norms and conventions. At one point during Juan’s journey, his ship sinks in the middle of the Mediterranean. Stranded in the middle of the ocean with no hope of rescue and with ravenous hunger ensuing a number of the men aboard Juan’s ship resort to cannibalism. Those that partake in consuming the man chosen, Pedrillo the priest, eventually go mad and die. Juan is the only survivor of the shipwreck and the only man who does not succumb to cannibalism. This cannibalistic episode challenges pre-romantic concepts of nature, spirituality and individuality. When life and death hang in the balance reason, religion, science and god no longer matter. This cannibalistic episode is but one of many instances in which Byron...
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