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Percy Bysshe Shelly
In order to understand Percy Bysshe Shellyıs work, one must understand his life and his characteristic. Shelly was one of the most intellectual and sensitive poets of the Romantic period. Most of his famous works were written during the last four years of his life, when he lived in Italy with his second wife Mary. The text Adventures of English Literature contains two sonnets and one poem by Shelly. The angelic characteristic of Percy Bysshe Shelly was thoroughly expressed through his writing, which reflected his ideals and his actual life experiences.
As I have mentioned before, Shellyıs life is the greatest influence to his works. As a child, he was skinny and unathletic, therefore he was picked on by his fellow schoolmates in Eton, a renown private school at the time. By being an outcast at such an early age, he learned about the wrongs of society, and was destined to improve the world, closer to his ideals. Shelly, although born into a wealthy family, was a fairly poor man for a great portion of his life. If Shelly and his first wife Harriet were not banned by their family, which lead to poverty, perhaps none of his works would have been created.
Other than his poems which expressed his feeling toward poetry, the rest of his poems contained his thoughts on the ideal world and life. He actually worked in a Catholic emancipation in Ireland in order to help improve living conditions for the poor. The prior two sonnets in the text is mainly concerned about the corruption of wealth, and monarchy as a government. As we can see from history, the British feudalism during the 1400ıs lead to the great separation between the wealthy and the poor. The effects of feudalism was still felt during the 1800ıs. Therefore, his work was greatly influenced by the fact that the control of wealth over the government lead to unjust, which greatly frictioned with his ideals. The first sonnet Ozymandias is about King Rameses II who is well known for his palaces and temples which he built in Egypt during the thirteenth century B.C. Shelly focuses on irony as the key effect to the poem. A traveler in the poem explains to him about the great statues of the king, but in actuality only the remains of his great palaces are left in the massive dessert. ³My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye mighty and despair.² (Ozymandias lines 10-11) This shows great irony because there are supposedly these great works left behind but they had been trashed an destroyed so there is really nothing all that great to be seen.
The second sonnet, England in 1819, was about a king who was very corrupt and in his doings he was hurting his country more than helping it out, but he would not dare give up his power. In doing so he used his military strength to flex his muscles a bit and keep himself in power. Thus the people of his country were doomed and began to deteriorate as a whole. In this sonnet, Shelly was pointing out the corruptness of the government and how if not the right people are in the government places, then everyone suffers as a whole.
The poem, Ode to the West Wind, is about how powerful poetry is. It shows the wonderfulness of the art. It shows the beauty that can be expressed and bring others to that same feeling and place. It also can express the anger or sadness of someone. It shows us how he used poetry to bring his points across, in a world were he was the one who was picked on.
So as you can see, Percy Bysshe Shelly, thoroughly expressed his ideals and actual life experiences. He used his own life story to help express out to others in the writing of poetry. His lifestyle was a major impact on how his writings went.
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Sonnets, Ozymandias, Ramesses II, England, Poetry, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind
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