Analysis Of Lord Byron's A Vision Of Judgement

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Lord Byron’s “The Vision of Judgement” written in 1822 is the critical rebuttal to Robert Southey’s poem “A Vision of Judgement” which gives a optimistic perspective of the death of King George III. Southey gives a dream-like vision of the King’s descent into the afterlife to provide the citizens that were once under his rule comfort while grieving for the loss of their leader. Southey also exaggerates the glorification of King George by beginning with a beautiful scene and eventually describing the former king admirably entering the pearly gates of Heaven. Byron disagreed with this strategy and decided to challenge it by giving the public a reverse view on the same plot, by creating his witty interpretation of Robert Southey’s “A Vision of…show more content…
Saint Peter is sitting by the gates with rusted keys because of the absence of them being used. Near him are angels with nothing to do as a result of no one being good enough to go to Heaven. However, the angel that is in charge of recording those condemned to Hell is so overworked, that he begins asking for help from his fellow angels. The poem then references the battle of Waterloo where thousands of soldiers were killed and the angels writing all the names threw down their pens in defeat. Soon after, the angels begin talking about the death of a man named George the Third that made no great stir or fuss on earth. This is Byron mocking the importance that Southey put upon the king by opposing the fact King George made a positive impact on his country. Later on the fallen angel Michael comes to the gates to look upon the king, which scares Peter and his fellow angels into hiding behind George because he is royalty, the angels view him as a highly admirable source of power. Satan and Michael both carefully observe the king attempting to claim him saying “Than leave them to themselves: so much more mad And evil by their own internal curse, Heaven cannot make them better, nor I worse.” These lines represent Satan trying to deceive God into giving him another soul that once had power, so he is in possession of more powerful beings, making him stronger than God. By the end of the poem Satan essentially gives up and allows King George to be let into Heaven by Saint Peter. Byron ends with the image of George walking through the gates to make sure to stay with the same plot as Southey, but Byron makes it appear as if George snuck into Heaven rather than being accepted with arms wide open, as Southey
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