Study Guide

Don Juan Family

By George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron

Family

But if there's anything in which I shine,
'T is in arranging all my friends' affairs,
Not having, of my own, domestic cares (1.23)

Byron basically admits that he loves to meddle in other people's affairs because he's single and has no family to keep him busy. It's hard to tell whether he's being funny here, or just sad.

A little curly-headed, good-for-nothing,
And mischief-making monkey from his birth;
His parents ne'er agreed except in doting
Upon the most unquiet imp on earth (1.25)

Byron criticizes Don Juan's parents for showering too much affection and luxury on him. But the truth is that Byron probably got just as much preferential treatment in his own upbringing, since he was born into the English aristocracy. Maybe he's asking people not to make the same mistakes his parents did.

She kept a journal, where [her husband's] faults were noted (1.28)

Instead of striving for better communication with her husband, Donna Inez keeps a diary of all her husband's flaws. You can't really get more passive aggressive than that.

The lawyers did their utmost for divorce,
But scarce a fee was paid on either side
Before, unluckily, Don José died (1.32)

Don Juan's father dies before Juan is a teenager. It's tough to say what kind of effect this death has on Juan because Juan and his mother seem to carry on as though nothing ever happened. It's clear, though, that Don Juan has inherited certain things from his dad, like his sense of adventure and wandering personality.

Dying intestate, Jan was sole heir
To a chancery suit, and messuages, and lands,
Which, with a long minority and care,
Promised to turn out well in proper hands (1.37)

After his father dies, Don Juan inherits an impressive estate with all kinds of property and servants. It looks as though he'll live a rich and fabulous life from this point on, and he's got his dead father to thank for all of it.

I never married—but, I think, I know
That sons should not be educated so (1.53)

Byron admits that he has never been married, although he's still happy to give his readers advice about how to raise sons. He thinks that sons should be given tough discipline if they're ever going to be upstanding members of society.