Analysis of the poem “Child Harold's Pilgrimage” - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

Analysis of the poem “Child Harold's Pilgrimage”
Lord George Gordon Byron

Perhaps Byron's most famous work was the poem "Child Harold's Pilgrimage", the creation of which stretched for many years (1809-1818). This is a lyrical diary in which the poet expressed his attitude to life, gave an assessment of his era, European countries, social conflicts of society. According to F.I. Tyutchev, Byron was "a mighty, majestic, enthusiastic detractor of the universe."

Byron admires the beauty of nature, the brightness and diversity of the human personality - and at the same time he rejects one by one all the foundations of European life, not finding in them the high and eternal. The romantic poet's maximalism, his opposition to everything that is imperfect, his tireless thirst for new experiences, "other worlds", where, perhaps, a high ideal can be realized, led him to the plot of the travel poem. Portugal, Spain, Albania, Greece, Switzerland, Italy pass before our eyes in bright pictures, colored with delight and bitterness.

The poem is difficult to read, as the event plot in it is weak, and the hero has been overshadowed by the personality of the author. At the same time, the poem is distinguished by the extraordinary strength of emotions, the height of intellect, and philosophical richness.

The image of Harold - the son of his age - is irreducible to a specific person. Byron wants to be busy not with the private, but with the universal, and he does not paint a literal portrait - he generalizes the mindset, dreams and disappointments of an entire generation.

In the first song of the poem, the hero, busy with “only idle entertainment,” loses interest in life and feels lonely. The world, which opened wide before the “restless fugitive”, does not violate its gloom, but awakens to tirelessly seek meaning in life. Even in love, Harold remains cold and gloomy.

The luxurious nature of Lusitania, the heroic Spain, the sea storm and the clear sky, freedom and poetic inspiration, the people and the war of liberation delight Byron; his world is huge, dynamic, tense and bright next to the dull impressions of the hero.

The romantic poet is looking for justice in the world, which he presents as a possibility of harmony, which is not really realized. The beautiful nature of Sintra is adjacent to the dirty Lisbon, the once cheerful Seville has become gloomy because of the bloody war waged for the glory of the Tyrant.

The glory of tyrants and "lovers" of the war (generals, military leaders) is destroyed by time. As well as the magnificent palaces of the rich.

The romantic poet, in the enormity of his demands on the world, rises to a reproach to God, to the fight against God. And the author is also doomed to disappointment and loneliness. Nature brings man back to life. The nature and joys of ordinary people touch both the author and his characters. "The look of beautiful eyes" Florence calls admiration in Harold - however, "only admiration." The science of love has led "to the aging of the heart." Loneliness in a secular crowd leads the poet to pain, indignation, and not to cold alienation. Confessing to Florence that she values freedom above love, the author is more humane than the hero: “And if, dear Florence, A soul could love, deaf to feelings, Fate itself would indulge us. But, enemy of chains, rejecting all bonds, I will not bring empty sacrifices to your temple and I will not let you know the pain in vain. In this humanity of the romantic poet, a connection with the Renaissance emerges.

Byron is skeptical in his attitude to both religion (which he rejects) and his homeland (he left), but the passionate patriotism of the poet is heard in an angry reproach to everyone who dishonors England. But the beauty of Greece does not allow the poet to come to terms with her fall. A passionate call for the revival of the country, for liberation from Turkish rule permeates the second song: “O Greece! Get up to fight! The slave must win his own freedom!” . Among the ruins of beautiful Hellas, he finds consolation in the fact that nature cannot be killed. Freedom and love, nature and poetry even in mournful despair turn out to be incorruptible, enduring values.