Don Juan, Notes by Dougald B. MacEachen

By Dougald B. MacEachen

Don Juan is a rambling, unfinished, and enormous literary construction that succeeds as an epic carnival. the tale of the mythical lover's travels and romantic escapades has scope, number of human kinds and event, logic, laughter, statement, and straightforwardness. it isn't specifically deep or highbrow, yet is a extensive and brazen slice of human life, writ huge.

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Lambro is a patriot in his own way; it is his bitterness about the present enslaved state of Greece that makes him an enemy of the world. He has in him the rudiments of ancient Greek culture in his taste for music, architecture, and beauty. His soured patriotism makes him a misanthrope, but he has a genuinely deep and tender love for his only child, Haidée. Thus when he comes back and finds that Haidée has practically forgotten him, the only spark of humaneness in him is extinguished. Having brought Lambro into his palatial residence, Byron creates suspense by holding off the anticipated reunion of father and daughter by descriptions of clothing and viands, a patriotic interlude, cynical stanzas on the nature of fame, the perfidy and dullness of the Lake poets, the religious atmosphere of twilight, when the Angelus bell strikes holds it off for fifty stanzas of ottava rima plus a lyric of sixteen six-line stanzas.

Their existence is a perfect one. They are like children, or like a nymph and her beloved, and are not meant to fill a place in a real world. They are perfectly happy. Page 37 This particular evening a tremor sweeps over them, they know not why, and a tear appears in Haidée's eye, but she dismisses the omen with a kiss when Juan questions her. Later, while they are taking their siesta, Haidée dreams that she is chained to a rock. Then in her dream she is released and begins to pursue something in a sheet which keeps eluding her.

Although Byron does not refrain from making Lambro's way of making a living a target of his mockery, he characterizes the freebooter seriously and even makes something of a hero out of him. Lambro is a patriot in his own way; it is his bitterness about the present enslaved state of Greece that makes him an enemy of the world. He has in him the rudiments of ancient Greek culture in his taste for music, architecture, and beauty. His soured patriotism makes him a misanthrope, but he has a genuinely deep and tender love for his only child, Haidée.

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