Lord Byron’s Allusions to Persia

Author

Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Abstract

This article examines Lord Byron’s allusions to Persian literature, history, culture and its ancient religion. The influence of Persia on Byron is considerable. Byron was greatly influenced by orientalists such as Sir William Jones and their translations of Eastern literatures. After examining Byron’s allusions to Persia, one realizes that Byron’s attitude with regard to Persia appears to be ambivalent. Byron dismisses the Persian king, Nader, as the “costive sophy”, but reveres the Persian poet, Hafiz and mentions other Persian poets such as Ferdowsi with great respect. Sometimes he refers to Zoroaster’s religion as “devilish” and sometimes Zoroaster figures as a good person in his work. Byron makes use of the Zoroastrian Janus-like philosophy in explaining some of the predicaments that his characters face in life. Zoroastrianism provides Byron with a metaphor for the two confused sides of his characters’ nature, the one which struggles towards the light, and the one which, at the same time, involves characters in darkness and destroys them.

Keywords


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