Don Juan: Lord Byron - Summary and Critical Analysis

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Don Juan: Lord Byron - Summary and Critical Analysis

By | Jan. 2013
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Don Juan: Lord Byron - Summary and Critical Analysis
Don Juan is a vast creation and it is not always interesting; there are many dull stanzas in which Byron says nothing interesting. But despite some weaknesses in structure, characterization, and philosophy of life, Don Juan is an 'epic carnival'. It has scope, variety of human experience, common sense, much matter for laughter, clever and witty observation, ease and fluency; that is why Walter Scott said the "it has the variety of Shakespeare". Don Juan was intended as a satire on abuses of the ‘present states of society.’ It is a quietly mocking satire on everything, and a serious satire on the hypocrisies of high society, the false glory associated with war, man’s pursuit of fame, the little devices by which people try to deceive themselves, the human penchant for rationalization, It ridicules things in a unique tongue-in cheek manner that strikes, without seeming to, everything on its way. In general, the style, of Don Juan is the easy conversational or epistolary style. Byron has written this poem in the Italian ottava rima, or eight-line stanza, the poetic form favoured by the Italian satirical writers of mock-heroic romances. The rhyme scheme of ‘ottava rima’ is abababcc. But Byron used a lot of a new comic rhyme, forcing slant and unusual rhymes to hint at the incongruity and satires beneath. He has also used the concluding couplet to round off the whole stanza by giving a sudden twist or commentary on the preceding lines themselves. The witticism and the anti-climax, or a swift fall from the lofty-sounding idea to the low, that surprises the reader are also other features in Don Juan. The style of Don Juan is the antithesis of the grand style. It has the easy going laxity of ordinary conversation. In fact, Don Juan has not one style but a "multiplicity of styles" or tones, the "medley" style: grave, gay, serious, ludicrous, sentimental, laughing, ironic cynical, urbanely, naughty, wittily outrageous,...