The Giaour

Ranked #87 on the list Best Poem of All Time

6.25
Based on 4 votes

About The Giaour

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"The Giaour" is a poem by Lord Byron first published in 1813 by T. Davison and the first in the series of his Oriental romances. "The Giaour" proved to be a great success when published, consolidating Byron's reputation critically and commercially. Byron was inspired to write the poem during his Grand Tour during 1809 and 1810, which he undertook with his friend John Cam Hobhouse. While in Athens, he became aware of the Turkish custom of throwing a woman found guilty of adultery into the sea wrapped in a sack. "Giaour" (Turkish: Gâvur) is the Turkish word for infidel or non-believer, and is similar to the Arabic word "kafir". The story is subtitled "A Fragment of a Turkish Tale", and is Byron's only fragmentary narrative poem. Byron designed the story with three narrators giving their individual point of view about the series of events. The main story is of Leila, a member of her master Hassan's harem, who loves the giaour and is killed by being drowned in the sea by Hassan. In revenge, the giaour kills him and then enters a monastery due to his remorse. The design of the story allows for contrast in Christian and Muslim perceptions of love, sex, death and the afterlife. The poem

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