Author – Lord Byron
Release/Published Date – 1819
Lines – 16,000 lines
Don Juan by Lord Byron is a fictional biography about a colorful character with the same name. Lord Byron’s poem Don Juan is one of the many celebrated literary takes on this character. Another renowned artists who have sketched their vision of Don Juan are Moliere, Jose Zorilla, Wolfgang Mozart. The character has become synonymous with the English meaning, Womanizer.
Lord Byron’s sees Don Juan in a different light altogether, with roles reversed, instead of he being a womanizer, it’s shown that he is gullible enough to be seduced by women. The poem consists of more than 16000 lines of verse and he completed 16 cantos however his death left the 17th canto unfinished. Eventually when the first two cantos were released in 1819, it was severely criticized for its immoral content, still it was hugely famous. Such was the outrage that the poem was released in parts and the intervals between the publication fluctuating because of opposition and disapproval from friends, not to mention the publisher’s reservations. It is believed that the central character’s mother bears a striking resemblance to the author’s wife.
Different artists, play writers and authors have tried to present their version of Don Juan, however the underlying plot has always stayed the same. It’s the story of a rich person, free from social restraints who takes pride in his prowess of seducing women irrespective of their age. But that’s not all, he also has other vices like gambling and violence, in many versions he is actually said to be the murderer of a person called Don Gonzalo, who also happens to be the father of a girl whom Don Juan has seduced. This twist has caused a rather interesting climax, where he invites the dead father to dinner. Every version of Don Juan has its own different endings, some that show him as a sinner and his death ends the story, whereas in others he is sometimes shown walking into hell or even granted divine pardon.
Don Juan is also known as Don Giovanni in Italy. The original play has spurned many a movies, TV serials, documentaries and musical operas.