Disgrace is set in a post-apartheid Cape Town. The protagonist David Lurie is forced to leave his job after Melanie, one of his students, files a sexual abuse claim against him. In this essay I will explore how David Lurie's view on masculinity is swayed by his idolization of Lord Byron. This allows him to justify his immoral actions.
The protagonist, David Lurie, a university professor, is extremely interested in Lord Byron, a poet known for his licentious lifestyle. A Byronic hero is arrogant, intelligent, emotional, morally and characteristically flawed and often sexually irresistible to women. Lurie possesses many of these qualities. From the first page it is noticeable as the narrator begins to describe Lurie’s thoughts. He…show more content… So he creates the perfect romance, a woman who desires him for ninety minutes a week. His dream world is abruptly derailed when Soraya no longer wants his company.
Perhaps that is why the seduction of the student Melanie was swift, as if in a hurry. He is driven by the desire to be desired. Even if he realizes he is about to make a huge mistake, as he thinks she is too young and he should let her go. He seems captivated, as if forces stronger than him are pulling him against the moral conventions. He claims “Ì was not myself. I was no longer a fifty-year-old divorce at a loose end. I became a servant of Eros.” He feels that she does not desire him and yet he has no power to stop himself. An act of the flesh again described as something romantic and profound. He knows “there will be whispering, there might even be scandal. But what will that matter? A last leap of the flame of sense before it goes out”. He feels his powers of seduction are failing him, and seeks this final opportunity to redeem himself. It is apparent later, in his congress with Beverly Shaw, that this is an important factor to Lurie’s decreasing self-image as he says “after the sweet young flesh of Melanie Isaacs, this is what I have come to. This is what I will have to get used to, this and even less than this.”
There is little doubt to the reader that Lurie in fact