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Liberty and Poetic LicenceNew Essays on Byron$
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Bernard Beatty, Tony Howe, and Charles Robinson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780853235897

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315428

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Manfred's Quarrel with Immortality: Freeing the Self

Manfred's Quarrel with Immortality: Freeing the Self

(p.60) Manfred's Quarrel with Immortality: Freeing the Self
Liberty and Poetic Licence

Katharine Kernberger

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the meaning of death in Manfred. When the figure of Astarte speaks to Manfred in the Hall of Arimanes, she not only promises him release from life but also creates one of the play's central ambiguities. She offers him the death he has long sought, but she does not clarify for him the meaning of death. Since Manfred's pain is a mental one, derived from his sense of guilt over the death of Astarte, only an extinguishing of mind and thought, of all the details of memory that form the identity of the self, can deliver him from suffering. The liberation from the past that he seeks in death requires an annihilation of consciousness.

Keywords:   plays, Byron, Manfred, immortality, death, consciousness

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