Contents Index

to shake off my chains

This conception of slavery as a psychological as well as physical condition is very much of a piece with other literary productions by the Geneva circle during the summer of 1816, most particularly The Prisoner of Chillon, written by Lord Byron in the week after he and Percy Bysshe Shelley visited the Castle of Chillon during their boat trip around the lake in mid-July. Shelley included an account in the letters he appended to A History of a Six Weeks' Tour. In Byron's poem, at the end of his long captivity, François de Bonnivard, the prisoner, claims, "It was at length the same to me, / Fetter'd or fetterless to be" (lines 372-73) and ruefully notes, in much the same language as Victor employs here, that "iron is a cankering thing, / For in these limbs its teeth remain, / With marks that will not wear away" (lines 38-40).