Crompton states in his epilogue "...diverse sexual lifestyles still arouse apprehension even when they threaten no direct harm to others. In this particular matter, our culture faces business unfinished by the Enlightenment" (381). Examining Byron and Shakespeare's poetry, opens a window to the prevailing sexual attitude of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and defines more clearly the intent of these poets. A sexual metamorphosis involving the realization of homosexual desires and nonconventional erotic preferences occurs in both Lord Byron's "To Thyrza" and William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 20", but the poets, known for the gender ambiguity in their prose and personal relationships, differ greatly in their portrayal of homosexuality and the effect that homosexuality had on both themselves and their poetry.
Byron’s homosexual temperament contrasted sharply to the orthodox attitudes shared by his society. Byron's bisexual nature troubled his adolescence, as homosexuals faced hostile public opinion during the early 1800's. Portraying the illegality and barbaric acts that homosexuals committed, newspapers of the day referred to gays as "monsters whose rarity matched their enormity" (Crompton 164). Secular England also condemned homosexuals for their "neglect of women" (164); however, Byron's good looks and glamour as a poet attracted women, and he was not unresponsive to his popularity.
Intense feelings of desire and affection towards men colors Byron's early life. A precocious child, Byron was an heir to the family title at age eight. A peer at age ten, his emotional and sexual life seemed to have developed correspondingly early. Seduced at...
... middle of paper ...
...peare displayed affection for a "Master mistress", also a male, but sublimates the desire due to disapproval of his own homosexual urges and fear of public ridicule and exile from society. Unlike Byron, Shakespeare's homosexual affair, fictitious or genuine, does not seem to involve a physical relationship but rather an emotional bond between two men.
The existence of homosexual desires is clearly demonstrated in Shakespeare's "Sonnet 20" and Byron's "To Thyrza." However, these poets' environment dictated the sexual metamorphosis that enabled them to maintain their sexual ambiguity and protect their anonymity in their respective works. These poems provide a framework to serve the duality that reflected this era in British society; preservation of a nation's preferred orthodox sexual identity, and the reality of its' authors heretical erotic feelings.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Historically, the Romantic era has come to symbolise an age of change and desire in the social and political sense. In a time of revolution abroad and domestic reform, one can see the importance of desire as a vehicle for change. By examining Byron, Austen and Edgeworth in a new historicist style, one is presented with differing viewpoints on desire, its effect on the narrative and its inferred comments on society. In Byron’s ‘Manfred’, the theme of desire primarily concerns knowledge and in the latter acts, a need for forgiveness.... [tags: The Significance of Desire]
1122 words (3.2 pages)
- A Journal Analyzing the Byronic Hero, Those who Closely Resemble the Hero, Byron’s Writing Styles and Literary Criticism (Journal entry 1, Defining the Byronic Hero) The Byronic Hero is a term derived from the poetic narrative, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, by Lord Byron. Though the idea of the Byronic Hero originated with the creation of Byron’s characters, Byron himself possessed the physical features associated with the Byronic Hero. These features include dark brooding eyes, dark hair, pale skin and a slender frame.... [tags: Lord Byron]
3014 words (8.6 pages)
- Works of Mary Shelley, William Wordsworth, and Lord Byron Literature is filled with the rise and fall of heroes, of civilizations, of men in general. The Romantic Era in England turned out works that dealt specifically with the rise and fall of the human spirit. Writers examined what makes us thrive as humans, and similarly what makes us fail. Such works commonly contain the theme of spiritual or social atrophy, and because the Industrial Revolution was in full swing at the time, these works often address the modern human break with the natural world.... [tags: Shelley Wordsworth Byron Essays]
1273 words (3.6 pages)
- Lord Byron's Manfred George Gordon, otherwise known as Lord Byron, was the most controversial poet of his time. As one of the “second-generation” romantics, Byron fused together high romance with a love of nature and tragic loss. He virtually invented the idea of romantic irony, or the idea of the hero as a tragic figure who is born to “desire a transcendence that can never be achieved” (Hogle, March 21 Lecture). Byron perfected this technique through the creation of what is now called the Byronic hero.... [tags: Lord Byron Manfred Essays Poetry]
2337 words (6.7 pages)
- The Theme of Hopkins' Sonnet, The Windhover "'The Windhover' is one of the most discussed, and it would seem least understood, poems of modern English literature." These opening words of a Hopkins' critic forewarn the reader of Hopkins' "The Windhover" that few critics agree on the meaning of this sonnet. Most critics do concur, however, that Hopkins' central theme is based on the paradoxical Christian principle of profit through sacrifice. Although most critics eventually focus on this pivotal concept, each one approaches the poem from a different analytical perspective.... [tags: Sonnet Essays]
3201 words (9.1 pages)
- [Line 1]* - 'that time of year' being late autumn or early winter. [Line 2]* - Compare the line to Macbeth (5.3.23) "my way of life/is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf". [Line 4]* - 'Bare ruin'd choirs' is a reference to the remains of a church or, more specifically, a chancel, stripped of its roof and exposed to the elements. The choirs formerly rang with the sounds of 'sweet birds'. Some argue that lines 3 and 4 should be read without pause -- the 'yellow leaves' shake against the 'cold/Bare ruin'd choirs' .... [tags: Sonnet essays]
1683 words (4.8 pages)
- Analysis of Sonnet 65 Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower. Oh how shall summer's honey breath hold out Against the wrackful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays. Oh fearful meditation. where, alack, Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid. Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
521 words (1.5 pages)
- Analysis of Sonnet 154 The little Love-god lying once asleep Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand, Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand The fairest votary took up that fire Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd, And so the General of hot desire Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm'd. This brand she quenched in a cool well by, Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual, Growing a bath and healthful remedy For men diseas'd.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
414 words (1.2 pages)
- Analysis of Sonnet 55 Not marble, nor the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme; But you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time. When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And broils root out the work of masonry, Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn The living record of your memory. 'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
650 words (1.9 pages)
- George Gordon Byron Their are many different opinions on the written works of George Gordon Byron which could include one very big question. Was he a natural born poet or simply a product of abuse and mental illness. His writings may have been more a way to ease his pa and suffering rather than a natural talent. Perhaps his writings were a form of self therapy. Throughout his writings and life history there is much evidence to suggest that his poetry was being greatly influenced by his mental instability.... [tags: George Gordon Byron Essays Biography]
3280 words (9.4 pages)