Short summary - The Giaour - George Gordon Byron (Noel)

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - The Giaour
George Gordon Byron (Noel)

The poems of the stanza about the beautiful nature, torn by storms of violence and arbitrariness of Greece, the country of the heroic past, bowed under the fifth occupiers, open: “These islands are like this: / Here is Greece; she is dead; / But good in the tomb; / One thing scares: where is the soul in it? ”Frightening the civilian population of flowering valleys, a gloomy figure of a demonic horseman appears on the horizon - a stranger both for the enslaved and for enslavers, forever bearing the burden of a fatal curse (“ Let the storm come, fierce and gloomy, - / All he is brighter than you, Gyaur! ”). Symbolic is his name, which literally means “not believing in God” in Arabic and, with Byron’s light hand, has become synonymous with a robber, a pirate, an infidel. Peering into the idyllic picture of the Muslim holiday - the end of Ramadan - hung with weapons and tormented by incurable internal pain,

An anonymous narrator melancholy notes the desolation that reigned in the once noisy and lively house of the Turkish Gassan, who vanished at the hands of a Christian: “There are no guests, there are no slaves since he / the Christian turban saber dissected!” A short, enigmatic invades the sad lamentation: the Turks and their servants hire a boatman, ordering him to drop a heavy sack with an unidentified “cargo” into the sea. (This is the beautiful Circassian Leyla, who has cheated on her husband and master; but we have not yet been given any knowledge of her name or the essence of her “sin”.)

Unable to abandon the memories of his beloved and heavily punished wife, Gassan lives only in the thirst for revenge on his enemy - Gyaur. Once, having overcome a dangerous mountain pass with a caravan, he encounters an ambush set up by robbers in a grove, and, recognizing his offender in their leader, grapples with him in a mortal battle. Gyaur kills him; but the anguish tormenting the character, the sorrow of her beloved, remains unsatisfied, like his loneliness: “Yes, Leila sleeps, taken by the wave; / Gassan lies in thick blood ... / Anger is quenched; end to him; / And go away, go to me alone! ”

Without a clan, without a tribe, rejected by Christian civilization, a stranger in the camp of Muslims, he tormented by longing for the lost and gone, and his soul, according to popular beliefs, is doomed to the fate of a vampire who brings trouble to generations from generation to generation. Another thing is the death of the brave Gassan (the news of his death by the caravan’s handyman brings the character’s mother): “The one who fell in battle with giaur / He was awarded all above in paradise!”

The final episodes of the poem take us to a Christian monastery, where a strange newcomer has been living for the seventh year ("He is dressed like a monk, / But he rejected the holy vow / And he does not cut his hair."). Having brought generous gifts to the abbot, he was accepted by the inhabitants of the monastery as an equal, but the monks alienated him, never forcing him to pray.

The bizarre mix of stories from different people gives way to the confused monologue Gyaura, when he, powerless to escape the suffering that does not leave him, seeks to pour out his soul to the nameless listener: “I lived in peace. Life gave me / A lot of happiness, more - evil ... / Nothing was death to me, believe me, / And in the years of happiness, and now ?! ”

Bearing the burden of sin, he reproaches himself not for the murder of Gassan, but for the fact that he could not, he could not rid his beloved of painful execution. Love for her, even beyond the grave, became the only thread that bound him to the earth; and only pride prevented him from completing judgment on himself. And yet - a dazzling vision of his beloved, who had dreamed of him in feverish delirium ...

Saying goodbye, Giaur asks the newcomer to hand him over to a longtime friend who once foretold his tragic fate, a ring - as a keepsake - and to bury it without an inscription, oblivious to the posterity.

The poem is crowned with the following lines: “He died ... Who, where he comes from / The monk is dedicated to those secrets, / But he must hide them from us ... / And only a fragmentary story / About the one that he remembered about us, / he loved and whom he killed. "