Lord Byron vs. Caroline Lamb

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Lord Byron vs. Caroline Lamb

Throughout his poem, Don Juan Lord Byron is poking fun at other poets, critics, and society. He places himself in a position of elevation, which Caroline Lamb then mocks in her rebuttal poem, A New Canto. Lamb was distraught when Byron broke off their love affair. She was obsessed and stalked him.

The dedication segment of Don Juan is directed towards Robert Southey, and Byron takes the opportunity to make fun of the “Lakers,” or the lake poets in regards to their political stance. (see poem) He also does not leave out mention of the “bluestockings” which Lamb was a part of. (see poem) Once Byron embarks on his first canto, his initial statement makes fun of the traditional epic style. Instead of following suit and beginning in medias res, he proclaims to begin with the birth of his hero and tell about his education and parents for the first canto. The romantic interlude with Julia is also covered in this canto; it is what inevitably causes Don Juan to flee and take board on a ship. In accordance with his mocking of the traditional epic, instead of the hero telling his story, Byron is the narrator. It is as if he is the one sitting around a table telling the story.

A common technique of Byron in this piece is to insert himself within the story and speak directly to the reader (see poem). He includes many tangents, on which he either makes a sneering, yet humorous comment (see poem), or adds in his own experiences or feelings about the topic at hand (see poem). Many times these tangents seem unrelated to the text, (line 1700ish) and only serve as a chance for Byron to say his piece on something he finds interesting or relevant in placing himself as distinct from the rest (line 697). These lines of humor are made more apparent through the rhythmic nature of his rhymes, and the placement of the individual lines (line 320-2). He tends to follow up a serious event or thought by a more trivial and light comment, making the first serious thing seem less heavy (line 752).

Byron introduces many different forms of femininity through the different female characters in the poem. His mother is very good at math and a very learned person in general. (link) This was not the typical form of femininity that was always seen, because an education was hard to come by for some women.

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