An Appeal to Empathy: the Voice of the Romantics

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JBob's State Community College

An Appeal to Empathy
The Voice of the Romantics

John Doe
British Literature II
Dr. Michael Myers
26th of February 2

Two of the world's most dominant superpowers and one that would soon eclipse them all are crying revolution! Equanimity! Modern societies are resisting oppression of the monarchs and creating democracies rooted in representation and autonomy. The lower classes, aided by higher literacy rates and the catalytic works of the romantics, are demanding a voice. We find some of the deepest existential thoughts within the canon of romanticism. Cases pleaded for the injustices children are forced to endure, admonishing the conditions society is willing to endure. In the midst of all the dramatics and suffering of the romantics works, authors also chose to highlight the dignity and strength of character of those who endured such hardship and found transcendence in simplistic living and a deep connection to nature. Conditions for the impoverished, especially children, were drastic during the time the romantic works reach us. Authors such as William Blake penned poignant tales of children suffering, impressed into the only form of wage they could find, sweeping chimneys. We as a society had become accustomed to poor children, born into a life not of their choosing and having to find some form of subsistence, dying young, victims of pollution and unsafe working conditions. In Blake's poem “The Chimney Sweeper”, his sweep describes a scene of hopelessness where “They clothed me in the clothes of death, / And taught me to sing the notes of woe”, only to later watch his oppressors make their way to leaders who have failed him. (Blake 7-8) Within these tales of injustice, we also find a focus on transcendent effects on the mind which is able to find peace in whatever existence it can, a growing thought cultivated by Keats' negative capability. Many tales within romanticism have common character archetypes, a prominent one...
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