Theme on Byron's "Prisoner of Chillon"

Topics: Death, Accept, Prison Pages: 3 (889 words) Published: February 26, 2001
Lord Byron's poetic work "The Prisoner of Chillon" tells the struggle between a person's ending their suffering and accepting it rather than holding on to the hope of freedom. The author uses symbols to represent the immediate end of suffering, acceptance of defeat, and succumbing to torture in competition with hope, strength, and faith in eventual freedom.

The symbolism of the chains represents the prisoners' bondage. When the eldest of the prisoner's younger brothers died, the chains were removed and his body was given partial freedom. However, he was buried in the cell in a section where the sun would not shine. In this way "even in deaht his freeborn breast / In such a dungeon could not rest." The chains were put over his grave as an ironic monument to his death. In this way, his brother may not be bound by physical chains, but his final resting place would always be in a prison. After the youngest brother's death, the narrator was finally unchained and could roam about the cell as he pleased. Ironically, he was allowed this little bit of freedom after the his only reasons for living had passed. This "compassionate" act of his captors was not really a favor. He had lost everything that was important to him, and the outside world did not concern him since there was no one out there who cared. However, he was still curious, and looked out of the window.

This window was his only portal to the outside world and represented his only portal through which to experience freedom. As he look out of the window, he lost his ability to accept his plight. When his brother had died, he gave up on everything. As far as he was concerned, "there were no stars, no earth, no time, / No check, no change, no good, no crime." But when his curiousity got the better of him, he noticed the beauty of nature and wished for freedom as shown by the "heavy load" that was replaced when he decended back into the cell. When he had looked out, he saw mountains and a river...
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