Esther’s Space- journey through my life

March 21, 2007

David’s “Byron in Italy”

Filed under: THEORY 330 — estherspace @ 8:47 am


Byron & Teresa


Byron in Italy is going nowhere.  There is no action, no development, just a long, halting cantilena hurled by Teresa into the empty air, punctuated now and then with groans and sighs from Byron offstage.  (Disgrace 214)

 David Lorie, much like countless others on the journey of life, has found his path of least resistance.  He has become comfortable with his ways, and seeks to maintain his lifestyle.  Through the course of the novel, he has not changed.  Isn’t that what the novel is supposed to be about; people encountering challenging situations and growing their characters in the process of figuring out how to contend with these challenges?  Isn’t that what life is about, growth?  David, however, does not grow.  Even after the harrowing experiences with Lucy on her farm, he comes back to Cape Town and begins life again as he left off.  He attempts to go after Melanie again, until he is chased away from her.  So, “The streetwalkers are out in numbers; at a traffic light one of them catches his eye, a tall girl in a minute black leather skirt.  Why not, he thinks, on this night of revelations?” (194)


At the conclusion of the novel, David is left with his banjo and the wailing, unfulfilled Teresa.  He is Teresa, and his opera of life is going nowhere.  He is stuck in his mode of living, and finds solace in bemoaning his life more than he would be able to find contentment in actively changing his environment or himself.


It was certainly interesting that David’s opera changed from being accompanied by a full orchestra to just one lone banjo.  The banjo is certainly not a highly operatic instrument.  If I was to imagine an opera with desperation, longing, and unrequited love, I would be expecting ethereal music.  The banjo is not ethereal, instead it is very real, with ‘plunking’ sounds that, for me at least, do not lift spirits to contemplation of high thoughts, but rather contemplate the everyday situation.  It’s home-grown music, for sheesh’s sake.  Here’s star wars (orchestral music, mind you) on banjo:



I was honestly disappointed by David.  Perhaps there is no hope for the individual to recreate himself or even just change a little bit.  I wanted to like him, but instead I hated him throughout.  And then he didn’t even attempt to redeem himself in the end.




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