The Scene In Byron's 'Manfred'

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The scene in Byron 's “Manfred” in which the spirit of Astarte, the protagonist 's dead love, rises from the mist is one of the drama 's focal points and features classic tropes associated with Romantic literature. The themes present in the scene focus on defiance of authority, the nature of law and the capacity for a human individual to transcend the limitations of mortality. Crucially, the scene places Manfred at the centre of an antagonism between his own desire for redemption and his refusal to accept the limits of his life. It is this antagonism which fuels the scene, along with Manfred 's refusal to bow to a finite authority. As such, in order to understand the complexity of the scene it is necessary to view both its poetic structures and alongside its status as a work of Romantic literature. If one does this, it is clear that the core of the scene 's drama revolves around Manfred 's defiance of law and authority and the power of human love to, at least potentially, overcome finitiude. The scene opens with a traditional hymn of praise given in blank verse to a supreme power. This power, named Arimanes, is positioned as having control over all human life and is depicted as being the focal point of nature. His power is positioned as being explicitly destructive. Through a series of metaphors, Arimanes is positioned as possessing dominion over natural causality itself. Byron writes: “He speaketh – and the clouds reply in thunder; / He gazeth – from his glance the

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