Romanticism, The Supernatural, and Human Existence
Throughout the 18th century the Romantic era dominated Western cultural thought. Romanticism was an enormous artistic movement that influenced some of the many, well-known artists we study today. Percy Shelley was one of those artists. Shelley was infamous for his anarchism, atheism, and provocative egotistic views. But for some, Shelley appeared to be a Romantic philosophical poet with beautiful works of art.
Stanzas Written in Dejection-December 1818, near Naples was a poem written by Shelley that expressed Romantic work because of its literary structure and style relevant to nature. Shelley uses the elements of human feeling as well as natural imagery in this Romantic poem. The natural imagery in the first half of the poem gives the audience the impression of a beautiful and peaceful surrounding. Shelley gives an optimistic perspective of nature in this poem by saying, “The Sun is warm, the sky is clear, The waves are dancing fast and bright.”(p.398) He is able to connect with nature by personifying it. He expresses, “The breath of the moist earth is light” and “The City’s voice, itself is soft like Solitude’s.”(p.398) Shelley is using human characteristics such as “breath”, “dancing”, and “voice” to describe the scenery of nature around him creating an apparent vision to his audience.
Stanzas Written in Dejection December 1818, near Naples is a very interesting poem in that the reader is able to really capture the message that Shelley is trying to convey. He is describing all of this beautiful nature around him, yet he lacks hope, health, love, peace, and contentment. He is sitting on the sand observing the ocean and listening to the calmness of the waves. This would typically brings a sense of serenity to most, but not Shelley. Shelley is lonely. He feels the need and desire to share the emotion he feels with someone. He wants to connect with another human being on an emotional level. Aside from nature, love qualifies here as a part of Romanticism in Shelley’s work. He has seen others that are happy and content with their lives. People who are able to find the pleasures in life so easily.
The poem then leads into an emphasis of dejection in which he says, “I could lie down like a tired child and weep away the life of care Which I have borne and yet must bear Till Death like Sleep might steal on me, And I might feel in the warm air My cheek grow cold, and hear the Sea Breathe o’er my dying brain its last monotony.”(p.398) He is saying that he would like to just lay down where he is at for the rest of his life until death sneaks upon him. Death would turn his warm cheeks cold while the waves of the ocean continue and his consciousness would become faint. Shelley is implying that no matter how beautiful or peaceful one’s surroundings may be, if one is unhappy he will not be able to enjoy anything around him.
In the last stanza, Shelley is saying that some will be...