The treatment of women in Byron's Don Juan

Miller, Elizabeth Anne (1974) The treatment of women in Byron's Don Juan. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Much has been written about Byron’s Don Juan, it epic dimensions, its lively style, its biting satire, and its rambling digressions. In such studies, references are frequently made to the women in the poem and to the poet’s treatment of them; however, the treatment of women is scarcely considered as an exclusive topic of study. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the treatment of women in Don Juan both in general and specific terms, and to analyze how Byron reveals and utilizes certain aspects of his own personality to convey his attitudes more forcefully. -- The details of Byron’s life cannot be totally ignored; his unhappy relationships with women culminating in his unsuccessful marriage and bitter separation, and his own conviction that he was the most pursued of men, can certainly help to explain his attitudes towards women, marriage, and love. But the attitudes themselves are worthy of a more detailed analysis than critics have been willing to grant them. -- In this thesis, I propose to examine the treatment of women from two perspectives: the general attitudes towards women, marriage, and love, and the characterization of particular women who exemplify and reinforce these attitudes. The women in the poem are many and varied, but they share one essential point in common: each one initiates the relationship with Juan, and enmeshes him in a situation over which he, as a victim, has no control. -- Byron’s treatment of women throughout Don Juan is marked by scorn and contempt. Drawing on his reserves of wit and satiric humor, Byron give full expression to his chauvinism and egotism, with the intention of exposing women for what he believes they really are. Don Juan is not only a man’s poem about women, but the expression of a man’s bitter contempt for a group of human beings who fail to measure up to his expectations of them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7283
Item ID: 7283
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [102-109].
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1974
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824--Don Juan; Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824--Relationship with women; Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824--Characters--Women; Women in literature

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