Percy Shelley: Poems

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poetry and the Individual College

Working at the height of the Romantic Era, Percy Bysshe Shelley set the standard for literature of the period. Consistently using the conventional comparisons between humans and nature, Shelley in his poetry emphasizes man’s ability to remove himself from the commonplace and initiate change, and to produce new ideas through the power of imagination and creativity. Similarly in A Defense of Poetry, Shelley attempts to establish poetry’s place in a rapidly changing, industrialized world. He wrote his defense in response to Thomas Love Peacock’s The Four Ages of Poetry, which urged great minds to stop wasting their time with humanities, especially poetry, and put their intellectual efforts toward the newly emerging sciences. With that being said, A Defense of Poetry argues for poetry’s utilitarian function, claiming the use of language demonstrates human impulse to mimic the rhythmic and ordered that is instinctively incorporated into creative activities. Accordingly, Shelley's poem “Mutability” employs that same structure, following traditional expectations of a lyric poem, in order to present life as ephemeral. A solemn, reflecting poem, “Mutability” explicates the ever-changing nature of humanity. In both poetry and prose,...

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