What is the attitude and tone of Byron in his poem "Darkness"? How does Byron convey this attitude through formal literary devices and elements? What is the meaning of the poem? How does your interpretation differ from literary critics?

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Byron's poem "Darkness" describes a dream "which was not all a dream" in which a postapocalyptic world is depicted. The semantic field of darkness is expressed in language like "darkling," "rayless," "blind," "blackening," and "moonless." The "desolation" of this world is characterized by its lack of natural light; in a...

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Byron's poem "Darkness" describes a dream "which was not all a dream" in which a postapocalyptic world is depicted. The semantic field of darkness is expressed in language like "darkling," "rayless," "blind," "blackening," and "moonless." The "desolation" of this world is characterized by its lack of natural light; in a quest for light, "watchfires" are built out of what had previously been "thrones," "palaces," and people's homes. So great is the desire of the people to see each other that "forests were set on fire," and the "terrified" birds and beasts are rendered "useless" by the shifted environment. In this world, there is "but one thought—and that was death." Ultimately, everything in the world, even "the waves," "the winds," and "the clouds" succumb to the darkness, who, personified, "was the Universe."

The attitude of this poem is unrelentingly dark—as the title would suggest; darkness eventually destroys the world because no living thing can exist without the sun. Even the natural elements—which are personified like in the Romantic tradition—also fall to darkness. Literary criticism has usually referred to Byron's use of Biblical language. He alludes to Revelations without actually bringing a new kingdom to bear after the darkness. The poem has also been discussed as a "Last Man" poem. It describes the end of the world from the point of view of the last person remaining, although it could be argued that the speaker (or dreamer) is a sort of omniscient narrator rather than a sole survivor, as the end of the poem suggests that nobody is left in the world at all.

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