Lord Byron’s Love Letter – Summary | Major English Grade XII

Tenneessee Williams

Lord Byron’s Love Letter – Summary | Major English Grade XII

Lord Byron’s Love Letter

Like many American girls of those days, the Spinster’s grandmother visited Europe when she was just sixteen. Near the end of her tour, she went to Greece with her aunt to see the ruins of Athens. One beautiful April morning, she with her aunt went to see the Acropolis. Her aunt was not feeling well, so she stayed with the driver. She started climbing the steps of Acropolis alone. She saw a young and handsome man, walking with a slight limp, before her.

The man who was Lord Byron turned again and again round to watch the scene, but actually, he was watching the girl. At the top of the steps, he stopped and spread his hands wide like Apollo. She tried not to see him, but the steps were narrow at the top, so she had to pass him. Just at that time, she accidentally dropped her glove, and he picked it up to return. As he returned her the glove, his fingers touched her palm and their eyes met. They fell in love and had a summer filled with romance. After Byron died in Greece, the grandmother retired from the world and remained in complete seclusion as an honor to his memory.

Tennessee Williams’ play Lord Byron’s Love Letter has four characters: The Spinster, The Old Woman, The Matron, and The Husband. The Old Woman and the Spinster live in an old and faded house in New Orleans. They advertise that they have a love letter from Lord Byron, written to The Spinster’s grandmother. They charge money to anyone who wants to see it and hear them tell the tale of how this meeting took place. A Matron visits them to see the letter. She is in town with her husband for Mardi Gras. Her husband Winston Tutwiler is drunken and uninterested in the letter. As the spinster reads from her grandmother’s diary, it becomes clear that the grandmother and the old women are one and the same. According to the two women, the grandmother met Lord Byron in Greece, shortly before his death. The Spinster reads aloud the meeting of Lord Byron and her grandmother from the journal. They only allow The Matron and her Husband to look at the letter from a distance.

When Winston Tutwiler hears the band of Mardi Gras festival, he raises from his unconscious state and rushes out of the house. He is a man who wants to forget ugly reality and live in an illusory unconscious state. The Matron also follows him. Then the spinster quickly asks for some money. The Matron does not pay any attention to them and rushes out without paying. This upset them because they had created a fake letter in order to earn money and survive.

Important Questions:

  • Narrate the story of a young woman’s meeting with Lord Byron.
  • Describe briefly the young woman’s meeting with Byron.
  • How did the American girl go alone to the Acropolis?
  • How did the glove provide an opportunity for romance?
  • What are the spinster and the old woman feeling upset in the end?
  • What is the role of Winston Tutwiler?

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