Romanticism in "Bohemian Rhapsody"

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With the launch of the British rock band Queen's 1975 album, A Night at the Opera, came the six-minute single "Bohemian Rhapsody". This mishmash of a song combines a cappella (without instruments) opera and heavy metal and a great range of emotional lyrics to create a unique and harmonic work of art. It was a huge commercial success, not only in the United Kingdom where it was released, but all over the world. In fact, in a recent international poll of the world's favorite songs, it came in 10th.

One of reasons that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is so popular is the wide range of situations and emotions that come through the eclectic mix of lyrics that do not so much tell a story of a man struggling to find the meaning of his life as they express several theories about life that could not be covered in a short paper. That's what's so interesting about these lyrics - they contain so many ideals and theories. For example, they contain several qualities that poets in the Romantic Era favored, even though the song was obviously not written in that time. The Romantic Era, starting in 1798 to 1832, was a revolt against the Age of Reason, or Neoclassical Era of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Instead of relying on reason like the Neoclassics, Romantics favored emotion and imagination in their literature. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" contains many of the aspects Romantic poets and writers found important.

For instance, Romanticism emphasized mystery in all places and encouraged readers to use their imaginations. In "Bohemian Rhapsody", there are several lines that echo the mystery theme, such as the opening lines, which are questions: "Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy?". Questions like these that deal with the mystery of life are repeated throughout the song. There is no way the logical reasoning of the Neoclassic era could be used to solve these kinds of questions - only the use of Romantic imagination could help give some insight to these mysteries....
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