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How does the narrator's character emerge from the final stanzas of Canto II of Byron's "Don Juan"?

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Andrew Whitworth 23.01.03 How does the narrator's character emerge from the final stanzas of Canto II? (Canto II, Stanzas 208 - 216) Much of what we learn about the narrator's character in the early part of the book comes from this passage. Beforehand, we do not know too much about him, just that he is an old friend of Don Juan's family (Canto I, Stanza 23). As the poem progresses, the narrator becomes a more and more important part of it: at some points he is more important than Juan, as at the end of this canto, when for the last 8 stanzas, Juan is barely mentioned. As the poem goes on, the narrator's digressions get more frequent and longer. The poem Don Juan was written by Lord Byron, in his own distinct style. One of his method's of writing is bathos, and there are many examples of it, for instance stanza 209. Also, when reading Don Juan you never know what the author's tone of voice is going to be, as Byron changes between being serious and comic very often. ...read more.


He says in this stanza that when men criticise something beautiful they are actually admiring it. He is thus making the point that beauty is very important in life, more so than men think; this last point about his personality also strengthens my view that he is a romantic, as aestheticism is sometimes a feature of the Romantic Movement. In addition to his romanticism, the narrator also has a sympathetic view to the human condition. At the end of stanza 208, he calls humans, 'us poor human creatures', in reference to our inability to stand up to our emotions. This philosophical approach to life is reflected in stanzas 210 and 211, when he holds a conversation with Philosophy itself. From the final stanzas of canto II we learn that he is a philosophical man, with many strong, personal convictions about life and human failings. We are shown this by his almost schizophrenic episode in stanza 210, when he conducts a discussion with Philosophy. In this passage, Byron, through the narrator, sums up one of mankind's biggest problem - the conflict between the mind (Philosophy) ...read more.


He feels that first love is by far the most important, and the longest-lasting form of love. This is evident in the two questions posed by the narrator in stanza 208, 'But Juan, had he quite forgotten Julia? / And should he have forgotten her so soon?' However, he also has a sense of humour about these things; as he then goes on to suggest that it was all because of the moon. You could also say that the narrator is a humble man, supported by evidence from the last lines of the canto: 'Leaving Don Juan and Haid�e to plead/ For them and theirs with all who deign to read.' This suggests that he is unassuming, but it could equally be an example of false modesty. From these stanzas alone it isn't really possible to determine this, but with knowledge from the rest of the poem, the second option looks more likely. As the poem progresses, the narrator starts to commandeer the poem, and at times Juan is left out for many stanzas, as the narrator's digressions get longer and longer. This reflects the growing importance of the narrator as a character in the poem. � 1000 words ...read more.

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