Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

George Gordon, Lord Byron

George Gordon, Lord Byron, a famous English Romantic poet, flamboyant society figure, and sexual rebel. Fiery, cynical, passionate, and candid, Byron confronts his daughter, Ada, on the day of her death and attempts to justify his life to her. As a boy, he is a moody, fat, clubfooted poseur. He is introduced to sex at the age of nine by his nurse; as a young man, he has become an internationally acclaimed poet, a superb athlete, and a notorious sexual veteran who has bedded practically everything presented to him but whose most passionate love affair has been with his half sister Augusta Leigh. Exiled for his scandalous behavior once it no longer suits the public fancy, he lives with the Countess Guiccioli, then with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. He finally flees to Greece, where he dies in the fight for Greek independence. Throughout his recital of his life and loves, Byron remains contemptuous of public opinion, insisting that society is basely hypocritical. He emerges as a heroic figure, genuinely hurt but proud and clear-sighted about the demands made on an artist by his public. His defiance raises questions about the emotional and artistic costs of fame and about the boundaries between the artist’s work and his life.


Ada, the Countess of Lovelace, a mathematician and designer of a calculating machine, the Analytical Engine. She is Byron’s daughter by Annabella Millbanke....

(The entire section is 489 words.)