The spirit cannot extinguish the prison (based on the poem by G. G. Byron “The Prisoner of Chillon”) - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

The spirit cannot extinguish the prison (based on the poem by G. G. Byron “The Prisoner of Chillon”)
Lord George Gordon Byron

Eternal Soul of Free Thought, -

You are the brightest in prison, Freedom!

There, the best hearts of all the people

keep you, breathing only you.

When in chains, in the darkness of a damp vault,

Your sons are tormented year after year, -

In their torment, adversity ripens for enemies

And their glory sings in all the winds.

G. G. Byron "Sonnet to Chillon"

The era that began under the sign of the French Revolution was stormy and controversial. The British bourgeoisie, defending its dominance, led the movement of reactionary forces against the national liberation and revolutionary struggle of the peoples of Europe. Under the influence of these events, a split also occurred in English literature: two trends appeared - reactionary and progressive. The latter included the great English poet George Gordon Byron, a tireless fighter for freedom and justice.

One of the striking examples of the views and beliefs of the writer was the poem "Prisoner of Chillon", in which he painted the image of a national hero, in whose soul there is hatred for the oppressors and the desire for freedom. Neither the intrigues of enemies, nor the gloomy, cold dungeons of the prison can break this desire.

The idea for the work came from Byron after visiting Chillon Castle in Switzerland, where in the 16th century the Swiss patriot and humanist Bonivard languished, a participant in the struggle of the inhabitants of Geneva for the independence of their country against the Duke of Savoy. Under the influence of the impression of what he saw in the castle, the author wrote a poem in which he endowed his hero with the bright features of a martyr in the name of people's freedom.

Bonivar is imprisoned in a dungeon along with two brothers, all three are chained to different walls and cannot see each other in the dark. And yet, in these cruel conditions, the hero lives with “one concern” - he tries not to let his younger brothers “fall in soul”.

But now, unable to endure the terrible torment, one of the brothers dies, and Bonivar is seized with despair:

I could hear how he breathed,

how he stopped breathing, how he

shuddered in his chains

, and how terribly suddenly calmed down

In the depths of the prison darkness.

Grieving for his death, the hero is inspired by a single dream, a crazy hope - that his brother would be buried not in a cold dungeon, but in the light of day, "so that he was free even in the coffin." However, this desire was not destined to come true.

Two remained in the dungeon. And the new, the only goal of Bonivara's life was the younger brother. The hero wished that he was more cheerful in captivity, he hoped that someday, having left the prison walls, he could become truly free. However, no matter how long he held out, the day came when his strength began to leave him. The older brother watched with horror "how he struggles to overcome the death of a person."

With the death of his younger brother, Bonivar lost everything that was dear to him, everything that he loved so much. In the world he was now an orphan, and nothing seemed to draw him to the earthly world:

The world became a stranger to me, my life is empty,

I made my life friends with prison:

In prison I have all my family

, loved,

Irrevocably buried...

However, he continued to live the dream to once again see the beauty of his native mountains, cliffs and forests, hear the sound of streams, visit the "huts of cheerful villages", "the shelters of bright cities". Separation from his homeland, from his native people, resounded with pain in his soul.

Years passed, and the hero gradually came to terms with his captivity. When the long-awaited release came, he realized that he was already accustomed to prison:

When will the door of his prison

I stepped over into freedom -

I sighed about my prison.

Thus, this work is about how courageously the hero shackled in shackles fights with fate itself. He seeks to preserve faith, hope, good spirits and support it in his brothers, who are dying a painful slow death. But gradually despair takes over and over him; the harsh life, darkness and cold of the dungeon gradually undermine his will, and he is already completely resigned to his fate. However, despite the fact that the coming liberation no longer pleases him, it is felt that the hero has not lost one thing over the years of imprisonment - hatred for the oppressors, love for his native people, faith in the triumph of justice and freedom on earth.