Percy Bysshe Shelley

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In the years following the French Revolution the world saw the formation of some of the greatest poets in history, one of those great poets was Percy Bysshe Shelley. Like many of the poets of his time Shelley was heavily influenced by the events that transpired during the French revolution. Shelley was a strong believer in the ideals that inspired the Revolution; this can be seen in his poems: È, The Revolt of Islam, The mask of Anarchy, Prometheus Unbound, and Ode to the West Wind. Shelley was a strong believer in freedom, human rights, demilitarization, and other progressive policies. Shelley’s poems are heavily influenced by the ideals of the French Revolution, ideals to which he deeply subscribes to. Shelley’s poem The Mask of Anarchy is an example of how he used the ideals of the French Revolution to write his poems. In the poem Shelley expresses his anger about the events that transpired in the Peterloo massacre, an event in which thousands of people were killed after gathering to demand reform of the English government. As one analysis states “when [Shelley] received news of the incident he was outraged”(“The Mask of Anarchy” 1). This poem reveals Shelley’s discomfort with the oppressive English government, just like the French got tired of their tyrannical government. There are various allusions in the poem to the way the English government oppressed it’s people. Shelley personifies the English authorities with four characters: Murder, Fraud, hypocrisy, and Anarchy. These four characters serve to express the way the government terrorized, oppressed, and deceived the people. They tricked and deceived the people claiming that they only serve to protect them, and as one analysis point out “the institutions in which people are encouraged to place their heart and faith are the very one that are out to trample them” (1). The people of England are easily duped, especially by anarchy who instead of leading them toward a genuine revolution he leads...
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