“A fatal disease of the mind and heart” (based on the poem “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”) - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

“A fatal disease of the mind and heart” (based on the poem “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”)
Lord George Gordon Byron

The work of the outstanding English poet George Gordon Byron is inextricably linked with the era of romanticism in the history of world literature. He belonged to those writers whose works were filled with the pathos of freedom, hatred for the oppressors, faith in the triumph of justice. However, the romantics of that time did not yet have a clear goal in front of them and did not see the ways to implement their ideals.

These characteristic features of the romantic writer were most fully reflected in the poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, imbued with subtle lyricism and a resolute call to fight, the hero of which was a young man from a noble family, tired of a cheerful and carefree pastime. Disillusioned with his empty life, he sets off on a journey to distant, unfamiliar lands. Meeting new people, with a different environment, with a different environment; awareness of the global problems of mankind, the greatness of the spirit of peoples help him to free himself from oppressive anguish and disappointment. In the appearance of Harold, the features of the author himself are traced, and his wanderings repeat the route of Byron, however, the poet deliberately separates his hero from himself and even gives him the features of many contemporaries from a society well known to him.

Despite the fact that, it would seem, the central figure of the poem is Childe Harold, the main place is given not to him, but to the events that he witnesses, as well as reflections on these events. The struggling peoples of various countries are gradually being brought to the fore.

In the first song, we see a vivid picture of the invasion of Napoleon's troops on the Iberian Peninsula. At the same time, the author with all his thoughts is on the side of the Spaniards, who bravely fight against the invaders. In his firm conviction, the struggle of the Spanish people is important not only for Spain itself - it can inspire other peoples:

But the enslaved peoples are waiting,

Will Spain achieve freedom,

So that more countries will rise behind it.

The poet tells with admiration about the heroic deeds of partisans, members of the people's militia, emphasizing their positive features: love of freedom, patriotism, determination, courage and courage.

The author continues the theme of the struggling people in the second song, where enslaved Albania, which is under the yoke of Turkey, appears before us. Speaking against the oppressors, Byron also expresses open contempt for the traitors of the people, who became the deputies of the Turkish Sultan, cowardly executors of his will. The poet opposes such traitors to the motherland as simple freedom-loving Albanians, who sacredly keep the memory of the national hero Iskander, who frightened the Turkish army. In this memory is the belief that the people will not reconcile themselves with the despotism of the feudal lords and the Turkish yoke, will rise to an active struggle and will certainly win it.

Then the hero ends up in Greece. And here, in contrast to the former greatness of this country, we see its humiliated position. With pain, the author watches how a great people in the past suffers, how

... under the Turkish whips,

resigned, Greece stretched out, trampled in the mud.

In the poet's voice there is an uncontrollable anger referring to the descendants of the beautiful Hellas, who humbly submitted to slavery. However, this anger is being replaced by the hope that “the former strength of indomitable liberty” is still alive among the people. And it is to this force that Byron appeals: “O Greece! Get up and fight!"

The main idea of the work and all his work - the idea of people's desire for freedom - the author draws through all the songs. This idea resounds in a passionate, agitated description of events taking place in the world, in stories about the selfless struggle of the Spaniards against the Napoleonic invaders, about the suffering of the Greeks and Albanians who fell under the yoke of the Turkish Janissaries, about the glorious deeds of Italian patriots. The last scenes are filled with the same idea:

Monsters that smash fortresses,

Overthrow centuries-old walls -

Leviathans of military armadas,

With which the kings of the earth want to

impose Their law of your element, -

What are they all! Only a storm

roars, Melting like snow flakes,

They perish without a trace in the abyss of waters...

In the image of a raging sea, the author embodies an unconquered, powerful people who will rise to fight and overthrow the hated enemy.

Thus, the poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" reflected the tragedy of the soul of the poet himself, who realized the suffering of enslaved peoples, saw the prospects for the development of contemporary events and called on the masses to rise to fight. But then he was almost alone in his aspirations, and alone he was not allowed to change the world.