What is Don Juan by Byron in response to? What historical context is subtly or not-so-subtly included within the poem? 

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Unfinished at the time of his death in 1824 and hailed by some scholars as his greatest work, Byron’s “Don Juan” is a lengthy satirical epic wherein no colleague of Byron—Southey, Coleridge, and Wordsworth, just to name a few—and no social condition was left unscathed by the poet’s pointed (albeit humorous) commentary. Since satire by nature criticizes or ridicules certain contemporary situations—political ones, especially—its historical “importance” therefore derives from the subjects (whether animate or inanimate) it lampoons. Even the poem’s eponymous main character did not escape poetic revision via a reversal of character: Byron’s Don Juan, instead of being the consummate womanizer, is now a man who travels across Europe being easily seduced by the various women he encounters. The poem further distinguishes itself as satire by employing in its many cantos ottava rima, a pattern of rhyme used by writers of Italian comic verse.

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