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Women's Roles in Lord Byron's Don Juan Canto I and Jane Austen's Mansfield Park - Essay Example

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The story of Don Juan that is famous all over the world is based upon ancient Spanish legend about a handsome man who falls in love with a daughter of the Seville commander, and then seduces her. After their affair becomes known to public, her father challenges him and is killed by Don Juan…
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Womens Roles in Lord Byrons Don Juan Canto I and Jane Austens Mansfield Park
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Women's Roles in Lord Byron's Don Juan Canto I and Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

"Don Juan" by Byron is one of the most famous retellings of this legend, changed by the poet. The poem by Lord Byron differs much from the original version in plot, characters and narration. Originally the character of Don Juan embodies a physical desire that is independent from any feelings and morality that are inherent to human beings. The character of the legend is cold and heartless, but Byron gives this name to a young loving and dreaming man, who is modest, romantic, nave and honest. He charms the women as his prototype, but Byron's character is involved into the interplay of feelings and he also falls in love and seeks for happiness, Byron's Don Juan is not a heartless seducer. (Cuddy-Keane)
Canto I describes the family of the character and his youth and his first love affair. Don Juan was born in aristocratic family. His mother is educated and experienced woman, and it is she who brings Don Juan up after the early death of his father. She involved him into the world of art and science, but she forbade him learn something that can get him aware of physical love. She also doesn't allow him to read suggestive books, and the author marks that this manner of education was wrong. (Cuddy-Keane)
The story proceeds to the youth of Don Juan and his first affair. ...
Don Juan, who is unaware about physical sides of his personality, cannot find the reasons for his discontent. He tries to find the answers in the environment and sciences. There is a scene in the poem that depicts Donna Julia and Don Juan together in the garden. The narrator ends up the scene with the speech against the ideas of platonic love. The tension grows and Julia cannot hide her feelings any more:
But who, alas! can love, and then be wise
Not that remorse did not oppose temptation;
A little still she strove, and much repented,
And whispering 'I will ne'er consent'--consented.(Byron)
When the author returns to this affair in his narration, six months already passed, and they are loving each other. The husband of Donna Julia becomes suspicious, and he tries to establish the guilt of his wife, coming to her bedroom at night with his friends to seek for lover. Fortunately, his attempts were not successful, and he begs pardon for being jealous. But suddenly he notices the shoes of Don Juan near the bed of Donna Julia. He goes on seeking and at last he finds Don Juan in bed clothes. The husband and a lover start to fight, but fortunately none of them has a sword. At the end, Don Juan runs away, but he cannot prevent the scandal. Julia is sent to convent by her husband and Don Juan's mother makes him leave to see the other countries and improve his moral principles.
Literary critics, observing Byron's "Don Juan", often remark that the author portrays definite features of women characters ironically, or even satirically. For instance, he treats educated women with satire. Some authors state that this attitude is determined by author's relations with his wife, from whom he ... Read More
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