Critical Appreciation of On the Castle of Chillon- Lord Byron

On the Castle of Chillon is a living manifestation of Byron’s love for liberty which constitutes one of the destitute and downtrodden. Further he condemns autocracy and tyranny in equivocal terms. In this respect, he stands close to Shelly who also invests his poetry with revolutionary zeal and enthusiasm. But the curious aspect of Byron is his occasional leaving to satire. Interestingly, one who is a time romantic is seldom a satirist. In fact, the romantic poet derives their sustenance from pure passion while the satirist relies chiefly on the exercise of intellect. In Byron’s Don Juan these two traits run parallel. While sympathy towards some a stressed is pretty explicit. Byron lashes at the so called social superiors, while he dissolves at the same time the simplicity of the populace. On the Castle of Chillon stands out as a manifestation of Byron’s passion for liberty. The sonnet is Miltonic in style and inevitably reminds us of Milton’s On the Vaudios Massacre.

The sonnet commemorates Bonnivard who was an ecclesiastical personage, a Bishop. Bonnivard devotes his entire life to Campaign the cause of liberty and the rights of the people of Switzerland. It is his relentless struggle that encouraged the voice of liberty entirely in the whole Europe.

Byron was saturated with the revolutionary spirit in its real passion for liberty. He became a source of strength and inspiration to the natives of Europe because of his passionate devotion to liberty, his interest in the past glories of Italy and Greece.
With the passion of revolutionary zeal Byron hails the liberty here as an eternal spirit of boundless mind. The champions of liberty are those who sacrifice their life for the sake of it. They are patriots of martyrs who are often railed in the dark in its geographic situation but of constructive energy and revolutionary as privations:
“ETERNAL Spirit of the chainless Mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
For there thy habitation is the heart—
The heart which love of Thee alone can bind.”
Image Courtesy : Castle of Chillon
 Chillon the notions prison house is the damp vault’s day less gloom where the souls of liberty are cosigned to fetters or nor the detrimental oppression can halt the voice of freedom. The country achieves the hard earned liberty at the end a result of martyrdom. And freedom’s “fame finds wring on every mind”.
Chillon which is holy place by its martyrdom invokes many memories of the prisoners who gave there’s today for the better tomorrows for our world with hope, liberty and respect. It is now a shrine to be respected with as the prison floor is marked with the footprints of that prison which can not be affected by any terms of autocracy or oppression. The memoirs of death, struggle and relentless battle, the Chillon has witnessed many deaths- the comparison to the holy grassy bed over the graveyard is made to the pavement. At the couplet of the sonnet Byron marks an ethical right to liberty or struggle of independence by says is that liberty is the voice of which marks the revolutionary idea that man is born free but tyrannical opportunistic oppressors chain overshoes in every sphere:
“And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd,
To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind.
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place
And thy sad floor an altar, for 'twas trod,
Until his very steps have left a trace
Worn as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God.”
In style Byron is here quite distinct from any other romantic poet. Though lacking finish and carefulness, there is much vehemence and passion in his sonnet. Although this sonnet is guilty of repetition and over- emphasis, it is his best satire which is conversational in its naturalness and it displays an epigrammatic wit and great vivacity. 


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