What is Byron's concept of love through his main character Don Juan
par Massinissa Khirouani
Université d'Alger 2 - Licence en littérature anglophone 2013
Love is a recurrent subject in literature; it has been approached in several ways. Sex, which is an integrate part of love, was a topic of predilection of many authors, Lord Byron is part of them. He was one of the poets that knew how to shell the mechanism of men-women relationship without isolating his egoist aspect. This work will explore the misfortune, such as aspiration of human being, we will discuss also a delicate subject of libertine life that led the debate of moral versus the immoral, pure or impure. This debate is important because of the similarities between the psychological aspect of the character and our today's world. We will show how the poet implies his opinion through his character Don Juan and what are his suggestions about the question: What is Byron's concept of love?
This work is divided in three parts; in the first chapter, we discuss the poet's position vis-à-vis of men-women relationship, in suggesting that the concept of libertinism is a manner to fight women oppression. In the second chapter, we were interested in Byron's approach toward the emancipated women who are sexually active, his favorable position to libertinism and his vivacity to advocate the right of women to take the sexual initiative to subtract from the dictate impose by men and society. We also illuminate Don Juan relationship with women who surround him in trying to put the light in the psychological aspect of his adventure or even the pathologic aspect of his relationship. Finally, in the third chapters, we dealt with a comparative study between Don Juan by Byron and the other Juan legends and its impact on western literature and liberal thinking, how Byron creates a new debate, the one of sexual freedom of women.
1. Women Love and Sexuality:
Love is subjective and derivative theme, and human being's emotion is a mirror to the feeling. The carnal desire is a part of the procession; this means that there is no love without physical attraction, although the opposite is possible; it means that there is sexual act without love. We can have a sexual affair without love emotion, so this is only the technical practice of this one, or at least temporary satisfaction. Sexual relationships according to the poet, women, restraint to play a passive role in love affairs, create confusion in the perception men -women relationship. So, are women an object as a loved being or as a desired being?
In the first canto, the first love affair of Juan is with the fabulous Julia, wife of Don Alfonso, old men of fifty years, when she was only twenty-three. He says:
«Wedded She was some years, and to a Man
Of fifty, and such husbands are in plenty;
And yet, I think, instead of such a ONE
'Twere better to have TWO of five and twenty,
Ladies even of the most uneasy Virtue
Prefer a Spouse whose age is short of thirty.» (Don juan canto 1 -V62)
Julia is an unsatisfied woman in her marriage, a marriage in where the two partners tolerate each other's faults, without passion. Her lack of love and sexual life turn into oppression. As she says:
«It was for this that I became a bride!
For this in silence I have suffered long
A husband like Alfonso at my side;» (Don Juan. Canto1, V145. P54.)
Julia wanted Juan, she fell in love with him and chose him as a lover, she wanted to deliver herself from this oppression, and Juan was her ideal lover. The only one that will satisfy her not only sexually but also emotionally, in loving him, in one hand ,she will compensate her lack and in the other one, take a kind of revenge from her frigid husband. Many women have only the way of disobedience and sin to escape marital oppression
She was a woman object from Byron's point of view, not only because she was submissive to her husband but also submissive toward the society morality, marital status and conjugal ethics. She was fighting between desiring her lover and the morality that prohibited this kind of illicit behavior. Byron says:
«And Julia's Voice was lost, except in Sighs,
Until too late for useful conversation;
The tears were gushing from her gentle eyes -
I wish indeed they had not had occasion -
But who, Alas! can love, and then be wise?
Not that Remorse did not oppose temptation,
A little still She strove, and much repented,
And whispering «I will ne'er consent» - consented. -«
(DJ. Canto1,V117. P43)
Her act ,»illicit» in a moral point of view, but not for Lord Byron, the poet admires women that deliver themselves with their autonomy and search the happiness where it is proposed. Julia yield to temptation, and satisfied her desire even if it was prohibited, and Juan here plays the role of the savior, because he takes her away from solitude. He implicitly or explicitly procured love that she was in need, marriage prison, and seeking her happiness that she lacks in her marriage, she became free from the social and traditional chains. The second love affair of Don Juan is with the courageous Haidee, she represents the natural passion of love, she was attractive to Juan in natural and spontaneous way, the emotion of love that they shared was really authentic , and Byron by this episode wanted to show the link between the body and the mind, the physical and the spiritual, and emotion and reason.
She was not enchained by the marital situation but by the patriarchal one, Lambro (the father) oppressed her and was a kind of a wall between her and her lover Juan. Therefore, in yielding to her natural desire, she also in the one hand had been satisfied sexually and emotionally and on the other hand she escaped from the father authority. The love of Juan and Haidee is both innocent and guilty. It is innocent in its naturalness, its self-giving; but it is guilty in that it partakes of the primal guilt, the original sin, the Fall. Byron and William Blake stand out amongst the Romantics in their profound conviction of this primal flaw in the nature of man.
«But sweeter still than this, than these, than
(Don Juan.Canto1, V127)
From the reference in the Bible, Adam and Eve are banished from Eden due to theirs eating a forbidden fruit. Such as the sacred teaches us, men are separated from God by sin. But Byron's view in this case, that the fall of Adam is not a sin but a sweet fall, it is a key to open the gate of knowledge, requiring the redemption to insure the possibility of salvation, simply because humans learns from committed errors and after the regret we seek for redemption and the pardon , Here active women seek for love independently, choosing their happiness. Thus, we clearly find that Byron attitude toward love and a sexual issue is positive, especially human being's passionate and natural love desire. Both Julia and Haidee are satisfied with Juan; their act excites them on the one hand because they were in need of this, and what Juan procured to them certainly will compensate their lack of love.
Secondly, in fact of been unlawful, by doing it, they escapes from the husband -father weight and it is a kind of revenge, consciously or unconsciously, women are ready for all to attains their aims, even by doing evil things.
For a woman, assuming her social position suggests the acceptance of the submission of these ones, Being considered as an object, being a prude or frivolous. According to Byron, the conservatism leads to the alienation of women. Therefore, the real woman for Byron is the one who assumes her role of object woman, while arrogating the right to discharge it or to submit it while she has the desire. Both of Julia and Haidee followed their hearts and chose Juan deliberately as a lover; this means for him that women are an innate object, however, they must have the choice to be submissive or not, to offer themselves depending on their desires in spite of the difficulties that they encounter.In Julia-Juan and Haidée-Juan affairs, Juan «punished» them. One is sent to a convent and the other dies. Thus, the more unconventional love we desire, the more we pay the price.
A woman who chose willingly to satisfy her desire is a real act of courage for Byron, because love experience is simply a natural response on an instinctive feeling or need. The author shows via his work that human beings need satisfaction unless he will be unhappy so he called for an unorthodox love. Julia cheated her husband as a result of an unhappy marriage and a poor sexual life. The only way to satisfy her desires is to yield to Juan's seduction. The poet supports the idea of the predominance of choice in the sexual liberty, this means that there is no liberal case without a choice, it is a «sine qua non» equation, and we cannot have sexual freedom without free will.
The second sex, uses the erotic subterfuge to have an erotically active life, liberated from the constrained of hypocritical morality. Women were since the dawn of time under the authority of the father, the husband or the sacred -religious morality, hunched under the weight of religion, morality or society codes 'minor for life', this same society, which is cruel toward women especially, for whom priority was procreation. These sexual intentions, under such regulation, women become inferior and dependent, that is the inequality that the poet denounces.
He considers both the two sexes equal, Thus, it also means that women can express their natural desires as men did. Simon de Beauvoir sees that it is difficult to stay with only one partner and resist new sexual experiences. She says: «To ask two spouses bound by practical, social and moral ties to satisfy each other sexually for their whole lives is pure absurdity.»(De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex, And here Byron observes that the hypocrisy of social mores, Christianity, and conservatism are unjust toward women in judging them. While they give response to their natural need or submit to temptation, they are seen with a bad eye, in a negative manner, while for a man it is tolerable and understandable that he has a natural-instinctive desire that he has to satisfy, whereas the desire is the same for both sexes. Women are limited to their natural role (reproduction, education of children) and all what concerns a housewife ,De Beauvoir explains this clearly in her book The Second Sex:
«In actuality the relation of the two sexes is not quite like that of two electrical poles, for man represents both the positive and the Neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to designate human beings in general; whereas woman represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria, without reciprocity. «( S.De Beauvoir. The Second Sex. 1949.p6)
Byron cannot understand why for men it is acceptable to express their desire and satisfy them without taboo or bad incomprehension, while for a woman it is frowned if she satisfies her natural need or desire. He said:»Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, is women whole existence.» It is clear that the poet's love affairs preoccupied most of his daily life, what he would show in Don Juan is the exploration of human feeling especially passion and the nature of love. Traditional rules teach women to follow the patriarchal code and be chaste and obedient, and this is exactly what the poet wants to go on through and transcend, in canto 1, Byron depicts Juan's hometown as «a pleasant city,/famous for oranges and women..»(Canto1.8 -2). Therefore, he admires love so much and thinks that human beings should cherish their time for seeking happiness.
The author admires the treasure of love and expresses his deep admiration and sympathy toward women who suffer from an extreme loneliness due to a lack of love, women that are trapped by the prison of marriage; we see that Byron desires women's love and instinctive comfort.
But here also we are a little bit confused, because Byron say that love is instinctive, how can love be instinctive if animal have the instinct only for procreation, if the animal instinct was for procreation, How can we say that licentiousness1 is instinctive? Why all religions prohibited fornication?!
If we follow our instinct we will make anarchy, we will be mad, we would not control our drives, and this attitude is dangerous and can destroy society and human values. Instinct does not means obligation and the poet is defining love as an obligatory and cannot be resisted, why the truth is love and lust instinct can be resisted if we train our souls: Sounds to me like both love and lust are instincts, but like all instincts among sapient beings they fit a cultigenic framework. "Instinct" does not mean "permanently obligatory" - an irish setter can resist its instinct to chase a ball if it has guide dog training. The urge to chase is no less an instinct just because one can adjust it.((http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?LoveIsNotAnInstinct)
For us, it was more a personal reaction against conservatism and personal desires that other; Byron revolts against morality that limited women only for reproduction and housewives. He denounces the hypocrisy of society that submitted women, his sympathy toward them was certainly pure and honest. However, he was guided by his personal desire, it is clear that Byron's true faith in love and passionate heart is pure and devoted in a real way not external or hypocrisy that handicap human being in his pursuit of love and happiness
The poet implicates his love affairs, implicit is that he loves women and enjoythe mutual treatment in love and let men devote much to their lovers. After all,love is based on mutual trust and equality. Thus,Don Juan helps Byron to express his own point of view about love and women.
1Licentiousness: Promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters. http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/licentious (August, 31, 2013. 19:31)
Eroticism not as a stylistic point of view, but as a life mode, love where the self- quest through the other fascinates the poet. Women occupy a crucial role in the biggest literary works and writers inspirations, Oscar Wilde says: «The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield it.» (Wilde, Oscar. The Picture Of Dorian Gray. P29.)Lord Byron was one of these authors that was guided by the most primary instinct to a world of renewal, the quest of personal satisfaction.
Byron's concept of women is not subject to the old disciplines like women's «chastity». Therefore, from here, he wants the reader to know that love, which includes freedom, is true love. If both the man and the woman in a relationship accept the limitless chance of love, they can possess their experience of love, and make their relationship stronger and on wealthy bases.
This point attracts us a lot, because as a male author, Byron reveals more female inner voices than women writers did, not only because in his poem he used female images, but also Byron's life filled with amorous love and lovely women as to women's sexuality and emotional desire.
2-Liberal concept of Love and Freedom of Sex (Materialism of Love):
Love is one of the most mysterious human emotions to fascinate Lord Byron. His
Unconventional adventures of love are both sentimental and physical. The physical love integrates emotion into the body, through his character Don Juan, Lord Byron continued to demonstrate his materialist conviction of love, a love that is not gloomy but cheerful.
«Byron revives this sexually radical character in a bid to unveil the repressed sexuality caused by conventional morality» (Byron's Materialism of Love: Don Juan.1819, Terence H. W. Shih:p7)
His appeal for a more 2unorthodox love morality and his libertine attitude toward morality is a reaction against conservatism. Don Juan was stigmatized as a womanizer or «illicit» because of his current sexual relationship, and it dissatisfaction and unsatisfied love, a womanizer consciously or subconsciously resists permanent relationships.
Byron employs a satiric writing telling the story of a sexually notorious character or `womanizer' named Don Juan to mock sexual conservatism and suggests his materialism of love, through his figure to explore liberated sexuality and humankind:
«I WANT a hero: an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new one,
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one;
Of such as these I should not care to vaunt,
I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan,
We all have seen him, in the pantomime
Sent to the devil, somewhat ere this time.»
We can understand by this that it is not the Spanish figure that Byron uses, but another one who is more libertine and sexually active, and who challenges the hypocrisy of society. Byron strives to liberate human nature and reassess sexual morality that not only restricts human nature, but can also make human beings unhappy, the best example that we can take, is the case of Juan's parents. The poet illustrates the marriage prison that repressed women, and a life without sex, expressed his compassion toward Donna Inez whose marriage fail not only because Don José had extra-conjugal affairs but her need to satisfy her desire (Byron's Materialism of Love: Don Juan. 1819 Terence H. W. Shih)
The poet calls for an unorthodox love and libertine behavior because of his hate of the hypocrite society that he himself belongs to, we have to know that Lord Byron was an aristocrat; he lived with this circle, and was read by the same elite. It is a kind of a tragicomic3 situation, simply because the same elite of society who traced the line or made the limit of the morality were as Byron, libertine. Many of the nobles and high-placed people have illicit sexual affaires, so how can we judge an act while we practice the same? What we want to say is that before and after Byron, the world knew this behavior existed and Lord Byron was not bad, mad neither dangerous to know.
For Byron this behavior has nothing of irrational or immoral, because from Byron's point of view, love is natural and marriage is artificial, so why should we follow an artificial code and deny the pure one, which is natural? Conventional love which is limited in marriage versus the unconventional one, which is illicit but natural. However, the rational aspect of licentiousness is contradictory with the human nature, because if we follow what the poet suggests about liberal sexuality, we will let our wishes and drives get the upper hand on our acts. The Human being is able to distinguish between moral or immoral, the good or the bad, these led him to take another way of his own drives, so the concept of libertine life is not rational.
2tragicomic: a play or novel containing elements of both comedy and tragedy. Tragicomedy as a genre.
3While human faculties allow to consider the rational and irrational
In Juan's adventures we see the individualistic aspect of Juan in his love affairs, there is always a character injured by Juan acts, for Julia episode it was the husband Don Alphonso, in Haidee episode it was the father Lambro. What we want to say is that the egoism of Juan on in his choices and selfishness on others, the misfortunes caused to two characters were the consequences of Juan's individualism. We cannot justify the pain of certain people just because it makes the happiness of the others, we cannot excuse the pain's brid by certain acts by pretext to satisfy others persons, that why liberal love that the poet defends is selfish. We remark also in these two different episodes that Juan is a kind of profiteer, because as Byron himself, Don Juan is an eternal unsatisfied lover, he tries new experiences, new lovers, and he loves women. This point is the controversial aspect of the poet, his hedonism when he denounces hypocritical world while he himself is a hypocrite somewhere, Byron's hedonism4 in seeing only in one point but his hypocrisy and controversial aspect in imposing his point of view and only his suggestion is the way to follow.
Men propose, women dispose, passively to men's pleasure. Byron rejects this way to treat women because as a man they have a passion for love and sexual desire to appease. Lord Byron insists on the liberty of women in choosing their ideal lover and sexual partner when they have the desire, otherwise it will be deep love.
`The libido is constantlyand regularly male in essence, whether it appears
in man or in woman.'(de Beauvoir from freud)120-21
Freud admits that as men women also have libido and desires so Byron also tries to show us this remark.
4hedonism: ·The pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.
·Philosophy the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life. http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hedonismSeptember, 1, 2013 4:59
Since Byron's Character Don Juan hates aristocracy, he thinks that everyone has the choice in love. Byron arranges Juan's Journey of love to communicate the possibilities and freedom of choice in love. Love is not concerned with hierarchy, race, age, and other social differences. By this, Byron demonstrates that not only men can choose their brides, but also even women can enjoy the pleasure of searching a lover and their happiness.Byron's philosophy of love demonstrates his disagreement with contemporary sexual morality and chimes with our current gender discourse, and shows his materialistic aspect of love. He takes Plato for a ride saying:
«Oh! Plato! Plato! You have paved the way,
With your confounded phantasies, to more
Immoral conduct by the facied Sway
Your System feigns o'er the controulless Core
Of human hearts, than all the long Array
Of poets and romencers: -You're a Bore,
A Charlatan, a Coxcomb - and have been,
At the best, no more than a Go-between»- (Don Juan, Canto 1, V 116.)
This proves that Byron suggests his materialist conviction about love, points the finger on the metaphysical one. Suggesting instead that we would be better to ground our responses in physical reality. However, here also, if we see what the poet suggests, brings us to think that it is true that women have the right to choose willingly their partners, but in taking into consideration the moral aspect. In rejecting the ethics, it can create some complication, and hesitations ; should we make our love above all the socio-religious codes even if it is not acceptable or still obey to these ethics ?.«A young bride is like a plucked flower; but a guilty wife is like a flower that had been walked over.» Honore de Balzaccontre .A married woman should not have extra conjugal sexual relationships even if it is her strong desire, or in the name of love.
As female become active in seeking their lovers, men turn to passive; by this, Byron wants to show the equalities of sex. In Byron's thoughts, Women have the right to choose and transgress the limits of the regulations, he shows that the only way for women to take their autonomy is to be active, and Juan is passive to these women acts. Female masculinity in their choices and acts and men femininity in accepting these ones, in doing this, the oppression «disappears» and women become equal to men. Only in transgressing the limits of morality regulations, women become free from these chains, and show the equality of gender.
Byron transforms women sexuality from passive restriction to active virtue; women who fulfill their desires seen as rational and positive. Juan is a victim of love; he passively submits to female predators, he passively falls in love with all the women he encounters through his journeys. Byron portrays women whose take the chance to be happy, in setting these female figures in different love relationships, the author wants to show that women also have the right to control their sentimental life, and here ,man loses his domination. In Gulbeyaz's episode, Lord Byron shows women authority over men, by this act he reverses the traditional normative gender position and transgresses the hierarchical men-women relationship.
In the poet`s point of view, women's sexuality should not be repressed, instead it must be released as it is natural, instinctive and rational, especially the quest of love. In Don Juan, Byron characterizes women as being active and decisive toward their love. While at that times, they were seen as housewives, limited to the function of mothers, emotionally or sexually. They did not have an active sexual life. Nevertheless, in the poem, Lord Byron's women think only about sex, as soon as they see the handsome Juan; they fall in love with him and immediately want him. As it was said before, it is a rebellion against the society that limited them into their natural role of procreation.
In the Turkish episode, Gulbeyaz is authoritarian and powerful since she is a Sultana, aggressive in seeking love, while power and domination are attributed traditionally to men. In this episode, Byron shows a woman using sexual power relationship as men did in aims to advocate the equality of sexes. Conventional mentality at that time, does not reject this idea of equality but Byron suggests a half equality because it concerns only love and sexual aspect of women, while a real equality touches a real liberty for women in other fields (social, educational)
This pseudo-equality shows another time Byron's egoism*.. It is a half equality, that means in the name of liberty and equality, women should have only the right to satisfy their love accomplishment and release their sexuality. The poet denies all other rights that women were in need to, secondly, men-women parity should not exist simply, because the real combat, the real parity is the socio-class one. Blinded by his personal libido5and thoughts, Lord Byron defends women's licentiousness while in giving this to women, they escape from their natural role, and they will ask more and more. Therefore, in having sexual tolerance, anarchy and chaos will take surface. A false fight will be created; a clash between men and women, about equal rights. While the real clash is the one of status. There is a mono-victimization, those of women, that means Byron claims a repression only on women while men also suffer from lack of love, Poverty is on men and women, liberty is on men and women. It a victimary vision which is to say «women are alienated by men and they have to free themselves from male domination «A woman who has a high social position does not have the same combat as the one who is a housewife. from a feminist point of view, most of the revendication coming from women are from the bourgeoisie ones, to escape from boredom they advocate their right and denounces their submission to husband-men.
6Libido: Psychoanalysis the energy of the sexual drive as a component of the life instinct.
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/libido?q=libidoSeptember, 1st, 2013 5:41
7At first, suggesting the right in which women's sexual and emotional desires must be satisfied as men, but not the other rights that women needed at that time
All Juan partners had a certain social status. Julia wife of Don Alphonso who is a «Don» the Spanish equivalence of Lord. Gulbeyaz wife of a sultan, and Haidée who has not a noble status but was rich, so, women figures that Byron portraits was from the bourgeois class, women free from any ethics certainly derive from their primitive and natural role which is reproduction. So even traditional ethics and rules can create some difficulties in human pursuit of love, and accomplishing their desires in tracing the limits that human being have not to cross but this regulations advocate the same values of women's first roles: procreation, motherhood. And if we change or modify this mechanism it will cause a dysfunction in the own identity of men-women, because If they neglect the function of wife in women, following personal satisfaction idea, we cannot neglect also the function of reproduction of women.
What Byron suggests moves women away from what is sensed and this does not mean that equality of sex is not good, but from the prehistory, women were dominated, not submissive but complementary to men. In the Bible, man is described as the head of women, each gender have a role, but they are complementary to each other. If we let confusion setup we will be in an absurd conflict, which is men-women warfare, we have to say that in Byron's men-women relationship persona is set to show women characters fighting moral authority and ethics, in order to prove their equality with men. However, to create the discord between women and society or women-men clash will succeed to nothing, simply because the conflict is not between men and women, as we said before, there is no competition between women and men and female have not to prove their equality to men in turning active and licentiousness is not the best way. Sexual revisionists proclaimed a modernist liberation from a repressive Victorian past, and subsequent historiography has tended to accept that frame of reference. Michel Foucault has absolutely criticized this paradigm, arguing that the supposed repression of the nineteenth century can better be seen as a "deployment of sexuality," the creation of new bourgeois discourses about sexuality, which in fact "incited" a greater intensity of consciousness about and desire for a "truth" of sex than had existed in earlier historical times. Hence, the Victorian prescription of restrained sexual activity, and modest sexual speech did not mean the absence or a repression" of sexuality but rather focused psychic attention on it.
At the heart of the knowledge produced by such discourses were shifting relations of power between parents and children, women and the male medical establishment, the state and fertile couples, and psychiatry and sexual "deviants." Foucault sees the early twentieth century sexual revolution, the so-called anti-repressive struggle, as "a tactical shift and reversal" in the deployment of sexuality but not a fundamental break with the past. If human nature is two, and always divided, Irigaray argues, then civil identity is also two and divided; the two of nature needs to be brought into the two of culture. The one is an illusion of patriarchy, while the two threatens the phallocentric order and challenges the supposition that universality must be singular. The scandalous idea of a feminine subjectivity means that the universal must be doubled. Doubling the universal does not, for Irigaray, mean merely replacing a neutral universality (something that holds true for all human beings) with two wholly distinct and separate truths. A universal that has been doubled has also been split or divided from itself, no longer one, and Irigaray sees in this the possibility for cultivating sexual difference and overcoming a culture of sexual indifference that is dependent on the idea of the generic human.(SOURCE )
In Byron's proposition, a liberal love , moral transcendence, wich is liberated from socio-cultural codes, but at the same time, this proposition submits women to other codes, which are the progressive codes, born in the name of liberty of the individuals. If the obedient woman who is submissive to her husband and marital regulations, have a traditional identity, in escaping this regulations and crossing the limits of morality, will surely be free from them. However, she becomes submissive to another form of regulation, which with time, will kill her own identity.If the oppressed woman who obeys to her husband and accepts to be under his authority, walks in the opposite of the ethics to escape from oppression, she will certainly in one hand become free in choosing her lover and satisfy her desire, but she will in the other hand be submissive to another authority, which is her personal drive.
She will become slave of her own desires. This is the reason why monotheist6 religions do not tolerate non-conventional sexual relationships.
Byron represents a minority thinking that have the right to exist, but not representative comparing to socio-religious rules. The peasant women will certainly not identifie herself in byron's suggestion. His ideal lover is a woman who have the courage to assume herself, but even the opposite image of traditional women that do not accept the unconventional love assume also her choice. In short, the one who respects traditional values and ethics does not mean that she is retrograde or not courageous. If being libertine is a progressive sign, to offer herself to only one person is not reactionary, or the `executive women', modern women, as we see nowadays; sex before marriage, libertine sexual life, homosexuality are seen as progressive concepts, and traditional morality is seen as retrograde minds. So in following Byron's suggestions, the pseudo-liberated woman who have a liberated sexual life is a modern one, while the one who still obey to women ethics is the frustrated one, even traditional morality makes some walls between human desires. We cannot say that libertine behavior is the way to follow. Nor the chestiest one is the absolute one, from the libertine women or the most chaste one they will be seen and judged according to these same codes
To simplify, to be chaste or libertine we will always be judged by the others, the liberated women as sinner, impure, the chestiest one as a retrograded, not modern, Byron's suggestion is far of women nature, rationality and good thinking, because sexual liberty caused more misfortune and tragedy than happiness. All Juan's conquests knew an unhappy end in his poem. Temporal satisfaction is not true love, taking the pleasure now, suffer later, libertine life have consequences that may be taking into consideration
6Monotheist: the doctrine or belief that there is only one God. http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/monotheism?q=monotheist#monotheism__4September, 1st, 2013 5:52.
«If thou readest the Scripture,» said the Jewess, «and thelives of the saints, only to justify thine own license and profligacy, thy crime is like that of him who extracts poison from the most healthful and necessary herbs.»(Scott, Walter. Ivanohe.1819. PDF Document,Pennsylvania State University. Ed Jim Manis. 2002.)
Byron portraits his character Juan as a love victim; during his travels, he had several of love relationships, from Julia, passing by Haidée to the powerful Gulbeyaz... He makes to his female characters different personalities, each one knows and shares love with Juan, but he always leaves his lovers, and does not stay in a permanent love relationship with them. As Foucault says: "Don Juan is human character led against his own will by the obscure craziness of sex.» Don Juan is not only enjoying his conquests, but he is running away, from responsibility, monogamy and reproduction. In fact, he is constantly on the move. Renos Mandis proposes that this jumping is part of a kind of hyperactive syndrome, an inability to remain, to stay put:«Don Juan is in perpetual motion. He cannot stop. If anything, masculinity is experienced as a "lack". It is something that you have to have which means that you don't "have" it. And you can "have" it only by doing it,. In other words, it is only other people[who] can guarantee your masculinity. Or, you need this guarantee and feel you have to have it in order to survive.»(Anna Furse ,Don Juan .who?,p3)
Mandis holds that Juan fears for his insecure sexuality, he wants more and more women in a manner to prove his masculinity. His sexual partners guarantee his masculinity, and prove their femininity, in releasing their sexual activity at the same time. Juan suffer from latent masculinity that makes his behavior, he wants absolutely to have sex with all women he encounters in one hand and seek his mother in other female, according to Carl Jung, Juan suffers also of mother-complex he argues: «are homosexuality and Don Juanism, and sometimes also impotence. In homosexuality, the son's entire heterosexuality is tied to the mother in an unconscious form; in Don Juanism, he unconsciously seeks his mother in every woman he meets...Because of the difference in sex, a son's mother-complex does not appear in pure form. This is the reason why in every masculine mother-complex, side by side with the mother archetype, a significant role is played by the image of the man's sexual counterpart, the anima.»
Psychologist Carl Jung believes that DonJuanism is an unconscious desire of a man to seek his mother in every woman he encounters. However, he does not see the trait as entirely negative; Jung feels that positive aspects of DonJuanism included heroism, perseverance and strength of will. In all Juan`s love affairs, female character were seen as mother protectors of Juan who was a child, passive under active women power. His relation can be seen as mother-son relationship, because Juan is seeing his lost mother in other female characters, he is consciously or unconsciously seeking for motherhood love and his lovers want to protect him as mothers. the poet shows women maternal instinct by this. We can see this in the poem when Byron says:
«And when into the Cavern Haidee stepped
All timidly, yet rapidly, She saw
That like an Infant Juan sweetly slept» ( DJ. Canto2, V143.)
So, we can also see Juan-women relationship as women-child; Julia defends Juan when Don Alfonso enters the room in which she and Juan were together,she hides him from her own husband. Haidée protects Juan from her father Lambro in taking care of him in cave: «But taking him into her father's House/ Was not exactly the best way to save, / But like Conveying to the Cat the Mouse, / Or People in a trance into their grave» (DJ. Canto2, V130) while the powerful Gulbeyaz bought him in salve market to free him from this situation. So, Byron emphasizes women's protection of their lover as a mother on her child. The more love Juan encounters the more he escapes; all his amorous affairs are temporal ones. In each land he tries a new experience, lives it, shares it and leave it. In this point of view, Byron tries to tell us that the ideal love is something hard to reach; all the obstacles that love protagonist had known and the difficulties that they had transgressed in their relationships, finished to cut the link between them, separate the lovers. By this, the poet wants to show that innocent love cannot survive, and the state of mind of the ideal one is an illusion, unattainable, this conquest of ideal lover, which knows many socio-religious walls and difficulties was made to end, because a such illicit love could not survive in a such regulated world. Even in their deep conscience, Juan's lovers know that this love is a temporal one and surly will know an unhappy end but they take the risk, and wish that Juan will stay with them. Women challenge limit of social morality and boundaries and give a chance to be with their lover. Juan remains a stranger who propos his love to these female characters, a part from the passion of love and sexual pleasure that he offers to his lovers, Juan gives a certain hope to these women, a faith in a free love, a pure and the ideal one exists, and with him they will discover it.' Love me now and leave me after'. These women had this idea in their minds, living the present moment, what they shared with Juan could be what all women should have. All of them discover a such exited sexuality and passion and felt that they control their sexuality. By this, their relation with Juan breaks the patriarchal system. Byron shows that everyone has the ability to pursuit love only if he/she regards the basic standards of freedom. As wars, even though they are terrible, they one justifiable; so, according to Byron, pure love and happiness also are, the pain that the illicitness will create is like collateral victims of wars, they are justifiable. Byron legitimates the unconventional love in the name of freedom, in pretexting women's sexual oppression and repression. However, social codes and morality do not exactly repress, simply because prohibition is not oppression. The oppression is when we punish someone while he does not know which rule he infringes. the traced limits have not as aim to oppress, In the contrary they protect human being from faulting. We cannot justify our happiness by others' pain, how painful is Byron concept of love and How many hearts Juan breaks and the troubles he leaves around him?.
We remark also that all Juan's conquests were nobles, descendant from a certain bourgeoisie. In setting Juan`s love affairs only with noble women, the poet satires the system sustained by the noble class, as we see all his lovers were powerful financially and have a certain class position. So, in having sexual affairs with them, Byron sends a message to the nobles of aristocracy, that he has a strong hatred, this shows the anti-conformist side of the poet.
Secondly, Byron's female characters do not represent a big quota of women for that time, so women that read Byron certainly do not identify themselves. So, his concept about love goes more for women from bourgeoisie than the standard housewives, this is another contradiction of the author when normally love, is universal.
In short, Juan-women relationships are complex, each of both sides have his own aims in offering each self to the other. She, in order to escape from the oppression and her lack of passion and poor sexual life. And Don Juan cannot reject the sublime invitation, here Byron's suggestion of love is a love which gives a mutual satisfaction between two sides, while the traditional one should unite the lovers, but here we saw a short, powerful share with sad separations.
1-Byron's Don Juan vs Traditional Juan Legend:
Byron's Don Juan is so original that we cannot say that it is influenced by the other Don Juan legend (Moliére, Tirso or Mozart). Contrary to the other Don Juans, Byron describes the youth of his hero,he was the first writer to give consideration to the youth of Don Juan while in Moliére's or Tristo's drama , the audience views directly a mature Juan. Therefore, Byron was the first to use this legend as a young boy and what makes him a man. From his early young love affairs into maturity, even Byron's plot have no relation with other Juan legends,Byron contributed to the body of Juan, being himself a Juan,the poet had a such unique insight in his protagonist .
We can consider Juan as Byron's double, their resemblance
and similarities are clear:Lust for women,love affairs and sexual
scandals...ect.Byron's Juan is more biographical or at least influenced by the
life of the poet .«Lord Byron knew how to paint only one man:
himself» (Stendhal,from Oeuvres Completes v. 35 Memories of
Lord Byron. 1829)
Byron's Juan is the conquered,victim of love while the traditional figure of Don Juan is a candit Spanish seducer of virgins, while Moliére or Mozart's is seductive,and active. Finally, Byron give a sympathetic presentation of his hero he is the only one that makes Juan protagonist not aggressive or arrogant, he is more innocent and naïve, his Juan is charming and passive,by this Byron had known a few imitators. The most Important is George Bernard Shaw, who, oddly enough, ridicules Byron's Don Juan asnot being a trueDon Juan figure, while John Tanner, in Shaw's Man and Superman,is more than a little like Byron's hero.
2-Byron's Don Juan Impact on Western Literature:
Byron influences many writers and artists of the Romantic Movement7 during the 19th century. by his Byronic hero, it appears at first in his autobiographical writings, and many authors takes this hero in their works we cite some of them,Lord Byron was the model for the title character of Glenarvon (1816) by Byron's erstwhile lover Lady Caroline Lamb; and for Lord Ruthven in The Vampyre (1819) by Byron's personal physician, Polidori. Claude Frollo from Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), Edmond Dantes from Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo(1844), Heath Clifffrom Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847), and Rochester from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847) are other later 19th-century examples of Byronic heroes.
" Byron's influence on European poetry, music, novel, opera, and painting has been immense»
The Byronic hero is also featured in many contemporary novels, and it is clear that Byron's work continues to influence modern literature as the precursor of a commonly encountered type of antihero. Erik, the Phantom from Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera (1909-1910) is another well-known example from the early twentieth century.
Don Juan had known a real critical reception, in a time when sexual debate was taboo, Byron dares and speaks about rational morality and criticizes hypocritical society and suggests a love which is unorthodox, that causes this harsh reception. Byron opened a failure that contributed after to a debate, and a new discourse about women liberty and equality of sexes,in denouncing women oppression by his society. His perception of love was honest but after the debates that he created and influenced other authors that wrote about the question»women oppression», but unfortunately the women oppression still decades after Byron,and this idea of the alienated women and oppression of the husband engendered a distaste between men-women.
We can say that Byron was a pioneer of women defender; he described a sexual repression in the Victorian Era, and talks about unconventional love, which was inadequate at that time, but perpetrated in our days, a wave of women claiming started at the beginning of the 19th. We can say that Byron's suggestion in Don Juan legitimates our today's world, we can see more liberated women, controlling their sexuality,sex before marriage,even still unconventional but tolerable in the name of women liberty and individual rights. So,Byron does not directly influence women's freedom, but contributes in denouncing women oppression,speaks the language of liberation, self-fulfillment,options, and the removal of barriers and calls for more release of women freedom ,it is similar of nowadays feminist claims.
Was Byron a feminist? We can say yes,even if the movement appeared century later, but in creating a failure and lunching the discourse, the poet is seen as a pioneer of women liberty and unconventional love.Besides, as a traditional romantic, Byron opened a way for new ideas, new concept of love, which is rational according to him. All walls that can separate this accomplishment must be faced, a love in which men and women can be happy and shred a mutual satisfaction and passion.
9Impact, le film from Onalukusu Luambo on Vimeo.