Blake & Shelley

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Romantics: Blake & Shelley

Although Both Blake and Shelley sought to enlighten the middle classes as to their social situation and even stir within them a sense of insurrection towards a Church both men saw as dictatorial, they each employed different literary techniques and devices to do so. Blake juxtaposes a garden with an imposing religious structure, a chapel, to highlight his theme of papal dominance of natural urges. The Sixteenth verse of Shelley's "Ode to Liberty" also deals with ecclesiastical oppression of the individual but does so with a more powerful sense of vitriol than Blake's somewhat disconsolate tone and also implies a grander scale.

Shelley opens the Sixteenth verse of Ode to Liberty with the words: "Oh that the wise from their bright minds would kindle, such lamps within the dome of this dim world". The simple and powerful use of light as a metaphor for knowledge allows him to employ different adjectives, such as Dim and Pale, to imply the ignorance of the Church and their use of "Words which make the thoughts obscure". Quite controversially, Shelley declares that the Church should be sent "into the pale hell from which it was first hurled", implying that although a manifestation of belief, the Church is in fact in opposition to what the author saw as the benefits of faith. Shelley goes on to present the idea that it is freedom of human thought which the Church represses and it is information, or possibly science, as represented in the first line by "The wise", That Shelley believes will enlighten the world. it is "its own aweless soul" Shelley writes, that should be the judge of a persons thoughts, rather than the arbitrary standards of the Church. By calling for human ideas to be self-censored, he promotes a more instinctual moral compass than the written word of the gospels. He goes on to describe the teachings of the Church as "Clouds of glimmering dew" and as having "Frowns and smiles and splendours not their own" pretty but...
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