This volume of The Poetry of Lord Byron is focused on work in which Byron dealt with certain themes that recurred throughout his career, especially personal integrity in the search for freedom and for love, and the suffering that can go with that search.
"The Prisoner of Chillon", the keynote piece of this volume, is one of Byron’s most riveting pieces. Based on the true story of Francois Bonivard, it tells its story of political repression and human endurance in the voice of the last of three brothers imprisoned in the bowels of the castle at Chillon and left to rot. It is personal rather than political; we hear of the political and religious conflict only in reference. The real story is the personal suffering of the imprisoned soul. Byron seems often to have felt oppressed, imprisoned, and exiled in his own life, and he expresses those feelings here eloquently and evocatively.