Lord Byron Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2450 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Lord Byron

One of the most important English poets who can be considered to have brought a relevant contribution to the universal literature is Lord Byron. Considered to be part of the Romanticism movement, he is famous for one work in particular, that is "Don Juan." Let us analyze his poem called "Churchill's grave."

The poem was written in 1816. There are several themes that the poet addresses. One of them is represented by glory and its relation to life and eternity. Another one is represented by the shortness of life, by the reaction of the human being in front of death. A further theme is represented by the desire to achieve immortality.

The poet begins by telling us that "he stood beside the grave of hum who blazed / The comet of a season and I saw / The humblest of all sepulchres." Right form the beginning of the poem, the author make sit clear for us that he is directly involved in the action. From a certain point-of-view it could be stated that the poet become s a character in his poem. The fact that he is directly involved in the story that we are about to discover is a supportive argument for the implied thesis.

The "him who blazed" is naturally Churchill, a conclusion that we can derive from the poem's title. The words "comet and blazed" suggest the great importance of Churchill's life. The blazing refers to the shiny, beautiful, glamorous if you want part of it. The connotations reach the important deeds from his life.

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The comet in another metaphor, used nevertheless in order to perfectly underline the short life of the one who blazed. And here we might directly understand the main theme of the poem: the shortness of life which is to be applied to all the human destinies, especially (in an ironical manner) to the most exceptional ones.

The metaphor of the comet suggest something else as well. Just like comets are usually fascinating fro people through their rarity and through the fact that they last so little, so Churchill's life, although short, managed to have the same impact on people through the importance of his deeds.

Research Paper on Lord Byron One of the Most Important Assignment

There is a strong contrast between the image of the comet and the one which follows "the humblest of all sepulchres." The humble grave is a symbol for the decay of life and the fact that all people are equal after dying through that that their bodies become dust. The fact that all people die, even the ones who seem to be incarnations of fantastic destinies creates a feeling of sorrow. And indeed this is the reaction o the poet in front of the grave " and gazed / With not the less of sorrow and awe."

If the sorrow is clear (caused on the one hand from the fact that Churchill the hero had died and on the other hand from the humble condition of his grave), why should the poet be in awe as well? The answer is offered immediately "On that neglected turf and quiet stone / With name no clearer than the names unknown / Which lay unread around it." The fact that the grave is neglected is a sign of the fact that people tend to forget the great deeds of the person who is dead.

This is why the stone is metaphorically silent. If people forget Churchill's deeds it will be the same thing as annulling his existence. Forgetting the importance of his deeds means annulling his very own existence. What the poet is trying to tell us is that people ought to be remembered through their deeds and that once these are forgotten, so are the people. Forgotten, we lay undifferentiated, just like the unclear names on the shady tomb stones.

Then the poet starts a conversation with the Gardener of the place. It is important to underline the fact that the word Gardener is written with a capital letter. This has two direct implications.

On the one hand, his profession defines him as a person so much that it has become his name. On the other hand, the capital letter reveals his importance. Since it is in his duty to take care of the plants and flowers in the cemetery, where plants are flowers are symbols of oblivion or remembrance according to the case, the Gardener can be interpreted as the voice of humanity to whom the poet asks for an explanation.

The Gardener speaks of "thick deaths of half a century." Time is measured not in lives, but in deaths. Ironically time as an eternal axis is formed, not by lives but by deaths. Death is the agent which takes men to eternity. The poet is surprised by the contradiction between the state of the grave and the fact that people keep coming to visit it. If they come to see it, it means that the dead man's memory is still alive.

The visits repeat at intervals, obeying a sort of procedure and this turns them into a ritual. The visitors become pilgrims and the grave a pilgrimage location. The implication may be that people tend to pay more attention and give more importance to the apparent things than to substance. This might explain why the grave is a poor condition notwithstanding the fact that people come to visit it regularly.

the following passage is strikingly beautiful " and do we rip / The veil of immortality? And crave / I know not of what honour and of light / Through unborn ages, to endure this blight?/So soon and so successless." What the poet is trying to say is that people are hungry for immortality.

Immortality is interpreted as glory achieved after life, as appreciation and adoration for our deeds, which we obtain however post mortem. Death acts as a supportive argument, transforming the dead person into an object, an object which is turned into the subject of a cult. The unborn ages are the times to come and a very suggestive construction to suggest the idea of eternity.

However, the veil of immortality is ripped. Through this metaphor Lord Byron suggests that is all completely useless., on the one hand. On the other hand he suggests that it is all our doing and not life's. Another important theme arises, that of freedom and power of one's will. If we rip the veil of immortality, it is because we want to do it.

It is important to notice the use of the collective pronoun "we." It suggests that the poet includes himself in the mass and that the mass in case in actually the entire humanity. At this point we may very well speak about human nature and the fact that the desire for glory and eternity is something similar to a genetic print.

From the tone of voice that Byron adopts it seems that Churchill was a master of his own destiny and had actually desired his death that could have made him eternal. This may seem so, but I believe that the actual irony is aimed at the rest of the humanity which has turned him and his grave into the object of a cult and the centre of a ritual while forgetting the substance of his deeds.

A further romantic theme can be found here, the one of futility. People live a short life and are meant to die despite of their own will. In addition, it often happens for people who perform extraordinary deeds for humanity to be soon forgotten after death. From this point-of-view everything becomes in vain and without meaning. Such a destiny is characterized by the poet as one completely lacking success. A desired success implies a leading will and a purpose.

The result is complete failure which creates a feeling of futility. The desired goals are " I know not of what honour and of light." Honour on the one hand is the earthly advantage (glory, appreciation, the realization of one's potentials). Light on the other hand should be the more seraphic goal of immortality and eternal glory transcending both the geographical barriers and those of time.

But, the expression " I do not know what" underlines the bitter ironical tone of the poet, a tone which suggests that everything is in vain, both the honour and the light and that the final destination is a sad and shady tombstone which people come to visit driven out by curiosity more than by admiration or real appreciation.

The tone continues to become even more pessimistic. The earth is seen as a huge tombstone and the destiny of the entire humanity seems to be its complete annulment. Taking this into consideration, everything becomes dark, sad and prey o a feeling of futility. If man is destined to die, to be forgotten and to have all of his deeds and his energy abolished, then what is the use, the meaning of even trying to do anything with your life. Man may… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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