Honestly, that title — which looks like it might be clickbait — is a fair description of the content of this short talk. I start by looking at a peculiar but not very controversial aspect of Don Juan: the contrast between the “boy’s own adventure” story and the actual machinery of the narrative, that is not at all what a reader might expect and I end with a brief question about what the poem suggests of Bryon’s gender preferences.
Byron’s “epic” has most of the equipment of a classical Epic: a manly, virtuous hero; the adventure prompted by the enmity of the Gods (or at least of a distorted religiosity on the part of his Mother); a voyage and a storm at sea; our hero marooned and set upon by a princess and a violent pirate; exotic exile as a slave; battles; brave companions; the love of a Queen (Empress, no less!), and; a promised (and perhaps approaching in the last Canto) visit to Hell.
But, as Samuel Butler claimed about the Odyssey, there’s something rather odd about Byron’s epic. It’s not quite the same case as the Odyssey, of course, but there’s a notable parallel.
I trust that explains everything? No? Then you’ll just have to listen to (or read) my talk.