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Interpreting Lord Byron's Manfred Essay

Decent Essays
Lord Byron's Manfred is a dramatic poem that can be interpreted in many ways. Manfred is clearly distraught throughout the play, and it appears to be because of the death of his sister and lover Astarte. It is only hinted, which allows the reader to imagine how Manfred is really reacting, down to his emotions and facial expressions. In Act 2, Scene 2, Manfred makes his most revealing statement. He has spoken to many different supernatural creatures since the beginning of the play. In the middle of scene 2, he decides to summon a witch. As he is speaking to her, he gives the audience the background to this situation. He explains how he grew up feeling alone and that he found joy in the wilderness. He was insecure because he has…show more content…
The witch is actually listening to him and making him talk about his feelings. This helps Manfred a lot more than the Chamois Hunter or the seven spirits did. By the end he is able to state what is causing his sorrow and admit that he has some responsibility in his lover's death.

This poem shows many signs of fitting in with the Romantic period. One example is how Manfred denies any help the Abbot wants to give him. The abbot suggests that Manfred have his sins forgiven in order to find peace within the church. Manfred doesn't seem to care about this authority figure and what he has to offer. He wishes to find the solution on his own. Romantics believed the human mind is more important than the exterior. Also they were not into authority that imposed on someone. Both of these are helpful in understanding the scene with the Abbot.

If I were directing this play, I think it would best be done as a movie, rather than on stage. One reason this would be helpful is that the spirits, witches, and phantoms would look more fantastical. In the first scene, the spirits would fly in around Manfred, with colors swirling and appear more magical. As for the scene I chose, Manfred and the witch would be speaking outside, as the stage directions say - a lower Valley in the Alps. The scene is beautiful but eerie as well, as the sun is falling below the horizon. Right before Manfred's long speech, the witch and Manfred seems to be
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