Marino Faliero and the Fault of Byron’s Satire *
In this chapter, the author focuses on the work of earlier critics who have seen Lord Byron’s political dramas as a digression from his work on Don Juan, and suggests that Marino Faliero represents a ‘poetics of Byron’s satire’. Marino Faliero both represents and enacts Byron’s ambivalence about his own social status and about the possibility of effective political action in contemporary England. The vacillations in Byron’s exchanges with John Murray about the possible staging of Marino Faliero enact the ambivalence he represents. Scholars disagree about Byron’s intentions. Marino Faliero is a poetics of satire in abbreviated form. Byron’s satire, like all satire, finds fault; what distinguishes Byron’s satire is that what it finds is what it is. The only strength that can be exerted by satire in a disciplinary society ordered by a power that no one can speak is to mark the digressiveness of all authoritative utterance.