A Hate for England and a Love for Poetry
George IV ruled England as Prince Regent under his insane, dying father King George III in 1819. At this time, England was in a wretched condition. The Napoleonic wars were over and a lot of the population was left unemployed and hungry. The laws of England defended the rich and exploited their citizens. Percy Bysshe Shelley, a poet, was one of these commoners and an impassioned supporter of liberty. In 1819, Shelley wrote a poem entitled “Sonnet: England in 1819” in which he opposes the parliament of England. In this piece he criticizes the “muddy” (3) genetic line of the royal family, the ignorant rulers, the liberticidal army, the unfair law, and the “Christless” (11) Anglican leaders. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Sonnet: England in 1819” reveals the speaker’s immense detest for England, with a touch of hope for the future, through structure and imagery techniques. Shelley uses the poetic structure of the poem to illustrate the state of England at this time. He presents the word “Sonnet” in the title to draw attention to the unique structure of this particular sonnet. Traditional Petrarchan sonnet form presents division between the initial eight lines and final six lines of a sonnet through a change in the rhyme pattern. In relation to this classic form, “Sonnet: England in 1819” appears to be opposite, with the form of: ABABABCDCDCCDD. The opening six lines describe the royal family and the closing eight lines discuss everybody else including the army and the civilians. Shelley’s poem is written in an atypical sonnet structure to portray England’s improper, and unstructured management. To demonstrate the speaker’s passion in “Sonnet: England in 1819”, specific punctuation is used. The entire poem is one sentence; although multiple concerns are addressed, terminal punctuation is only used once. By grouping all of his opinions into one continuous idea, the audience can feel the speaker’s fury and...
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