Friday, July 22, 2011

Research Paper on Lord Byron

Research Paper on Lord Byron

Poets of vision and revolution, the Romantics rejected the established political and social values of the 18th century. The Romantic age occurred against the setting of the French Revolution. Both represented freedom and a shift in society's values and concerns. Lord Byron was among the most famous of the England's Romantic poets. His unwillingness, or perhaps inability, to conform to society, and his acceptance of the Romantic values, individualism, freedom, imagination and nature, is reflected in his poetry. The poems, Darkness and She Walks in Beauty, can be seen to reflect such values.


Romanticism saw a radical change in attitude towards the value of the individual. Romantics were interested in the feeling, not the facts. In the poem Darkness, Byron describes the different responses of man, at a time when death seems imminent. Some "hid their eyes and wept", others "hurried to and fro", while "some did rest chins upon clenched hands and smiled". He expresses the range of emotions from acceptance to the frustration. These broad descriptions demonstrate the Romantic idea that an individual's emotional response is more important than a rational one. She Walks in Beauty, focuses on the internal beauty of a woman. There are no descriptions of the woman's body; instead Byron chooses to emphasise her facial features:

"And on that cheek, and over that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent"

Her eyes, hair, cheeks and brows can be seen to be doorways to her internal beauty. He explores the woman's ability to contain opposites in her personality in order to attain a perfect balance:

"And all that's best of light and dark
Meet in her aspect and her eyes"

Byron's emphasis on her interior beauty and her individual characteristics challenged society's value in physical beauty.

Romantic poets real links were with nature, rather than urbanised societies. Byron, like most Romantic poets, found beauty and inspiration in nature. Throughout Darkness animal imagery is significant, with Byron using animals to portray the response of humans in times of chaos. The snakes "twine themselves among the multitude" to seek comfort, mirroring the action of human bonding during a crisis. Birds are shown flapping their useless wing's symbolising man's futile attempts to bring light back into the world. He shows that in times of chaos all creatures are brought down to the same level, performing similar actions in order to survive. Byron association of dark and cold images of nature conveys the atmosphere of the poem:

"the icy earth swung blind and blackening in the moonless air"

She Walks In Beauty combines both dark and light images to describe the beauty and balance in the woman's character:

"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies"

The use of these nature associated objects in Byron's imagery, is an attempt to draw attention away from custom and tradition and towards the beauty of the natural world.

Romantics saw no need for reason and logic in their quest for truth, but instead relied on the individual experience and the imagination. Darkness sets up a dream like atmosphere in it's beginning lines: "I had a dream, but it was not all a dream." It allows the reader to explore an environment spawned by the author's imagination, and experience an almost unbelievable situation. In this dream sequence, Byron is able to embed a wide range of values, such as the rejection of religious ideas. The men in the poem forget the significance of holy objects and lose faith in their once strong beliefs. This mirrors Byron's revolt against his religious upbringing at a time of social upheaval. The poets imagination allowed for spontaneity and lyricism to develop in many poetical works. Regular metres, strict forms and other convention of rhyme were no longer employed. Blank verses, such as in Darkness, dominated over the rhyming couplet that was prominent in the 18th century. Imagination facilitated the questioning and change in established values of society.

Above all Byron valued freedom, freedom from tyranny and convention. He donated his money and time to the revolutionary society of the Carbonari in his support of Italian freedom. He also worked beside the Greeks in their fight for independence from the Turks. His enthusiasm inspired all those around him. In Darkness social classes are abolished and all brought down to the same level, all striving to survive. This expresses the Romantic ideal of freedom. It is a freedom from oppression of the lower classes, and the sovereignty of the upper classes.

Lord Byron challenged the established political, social, artistic and intellectual norms of society. His poetry privileges the imagination, individual freedom and an idealisation of nature. Many of his poems, including Darkness and She Walks in Beauty incorporate many of Byron's values, and the ideals of the Romantic Movement.

Warning!!! All free online research papers, research paper samples and example research papers on Lord Byron topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

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