A retelling of the content of Byron's poem “The Prisoner of Chillon” - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

A retelling of the content of Byron's poem “The Prisoner of Chillon”
Lord George Gordon Byron

Byron's poem was based on the story of the Swiss republican, writer and philosopher, Francois Bonnivar. For speaking out against the regime of Duke Charles III of Savoy, he was imprisoned in Chillon Castle and stayed there for six years, from 1530 to 1536. Four of them he spent in a cell located below the level of the lake (the castle, which served as a state prison, was located on the shores of Lake Geneva). Bonnivar was released from prison by the military detachment of Bern, who captured the castle.

There were six brothers - five are gone. Three brothers, among whom is the eldest prisoner of Chillon, who tells this sad story, are thrown into prison. Two have already been "devoured by the depths" of the dungeon. The prisoner describes his dungeon: its walls are covered with moss because of the humidity, on the damp floor only occasionally a ray of light glimmers like a swamp light. Rings with chains are embedded in the walls, where prisoners are chained; iron bites into the body, causing pain with every movement. The brothers are chained to the walls and, although they are nearby, they cannot see each other in the darkness. The elder is trying to support the spirit of the brothers:

* “Of the three of us, I was the eldest;

* I forgot my own lot,

* Breathing with one care,

* So as not to let them lose heart.

The middle brother, “mighty and strong in the prime of life”, was the first to not withstand captivity: “My brother did not mourn and languish from need: he would have withered equally, If he were surrounded by negligence Without will ... Why be silent? He died ... I couldn’t shake hands with him at the last hour ... ”. The youngest - "an angel from lullaby years, a treasure of his family" - for a long time patiently endured "his lot", but he also began to lose heart, weaken and go out: "... alas! it is extinguished, Like a rainbow, captivating us, It goes out beautifully in the sky: Not a sigh of sorrow on the lips; Not grumbling against your lot ... "

Having lost his brothers, the prisoner turns into a "cold stone". Suddenly he hears in his gloomy dungeon the voice of a singing bird; it seems to him that this is a “paradise guest”, that this is the spirit of his brother descended from heaven to announce to him about imminent freedom. Indeed, soon the ruthless regime was weakened: the prisoner was allowed to roam along the prison walls with a chain around his neck. But he is no longer happy with anything, because here, in prison, he buried everything that he loved, and now there is no place for him “at the earthly feast”. Having reached the window, he sees a small island (the only one on the lake and so tiny that only two or three trees grew on it), a canoe with rowers that moored to the shore, an eagle soaring in the clouds

* "And new tears from the eyes

* Let's go, and a new sadness

* I squeezed my chest ... I felt sorry

* For my abandoned chains.

Days and years passed - the prisoner did not count them. One fine day, the doors of his dungeon opened and he went free, but the prisoner was already so weaned from it that the prison became his home:

* And people finally came

* To give me my poor will.