Study Guide

Don Juan Canto VIII

By George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron

Canto VIII

  • We look back in on the attack on Ismail when a crowd of Turkish defenders breaches the Russian ranks and begins a counterattack. It looks for a moment as if they'll repel the Russian invasion.
  • Don Juan is inexperienced in battle, but he fights admirably beside his buddy Johnson.
  • Finally, the Russians fight off the counterattack and enter the city.
  • To show how much he knows, Byron gives an encyclopedic list of all the men who fought in the historic battle for Ismail.
  • Little by little, the Russians take the city.
  • At one point, Don Juan sees a little girl who's about to be attacked by two Russian soldiers. He fights and kills the soldiers to save the girl. From that point on, he keeps the girl by his side and protects her.
  • The Russians bust in on a Turkish leader and his many sons. The battle is fierce, but they eventually slay every Turk in the room. Byron makes sure to note how bravely the Turks die.
  • In this next section, Byron mentions that the siege of Ismail was a great victory because only a small minority of people were raped after the Russians won the battle. We hope that Shmoopers can see the problem with this sort of statement.
  • Don Juan ends the canto by telling the little Turkish girl that he'll always protect her. Even though he's still a teenager, he basically adopts her as his daughter.