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The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable

The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable

by George Gordon, Lord Byron

The Pillars

Symbol Analysis

The seven pillars in the dungeon represent the seven members of the speaker's family who have suffered for their beliefs. Pillars are designed to hold something up, so it makes sense that these men, who strive to uphold their beliefs, should be associated with pillars. Of course, the real-life prisoner of Chillon (named François Bonnivard) didn't have the brothers and father described in Byron's poem, but Byron took a lot of creative liberty with the story. Seven is often an important number in fairy tales, so it makes sense that Byron should choose it in romanticizing Bonnivard's story.

  • Lines 27-29: The consonance (the repeated "d" sound) in these lines creates a thudding, echoing sound – like what you'd expect a dungeon to sound like.
  • Lines 36-37: The parallelism between these two lines emphasizes the repetitive, monotonous, dreary lives of the prisoners themselves.

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