Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Childe Harold, a wandering young man. the term “childe,” in medieval English, denoted a young man of the noble classes, about to enter knighthood. Harold begins the story as a rather desperate young man, engaged mostly in debauchery and drunkenness. He leaves England (“Albion’s land”) in a quest for truth about the world, or at least about himself. He travels by sea to Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany, and finally Greece and Italy. Throughout the journey, he is bewildered about the truth and never quite finds his way. He begins to find his way in Germany, on the banks of the Rhine. There, he finds a young woman with whom he can have a meaningful relationship, but he decides he is unworthy. He then travels to Greece, where he is astounded by natural beauty once again but is appalled by the decadence to which the once great Greeks have fallen. In Rome, he finds a similar situation, and there he dies. Childe Harold is more of a metaphor than a real human being. He represents Lord Byron in some sense, but more important, he represents the fall of humankind from the glory of ancient times to the decadence that Byron perceives has befallen his own generation.
Harold’s page, whose age is unclear. He is useful in the narrative only as the one person Harold seems to care about seriously as he leaves England. Apparently, though this is unclear, he does not accompany Harold on the...
(The entire section is 379 words.)
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