Compare and contrast Enlightenment ideals with the ideals of Romanticism.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

The ideals of these two intellectual movements were very different from one another.

The Enlightenment thinkers believed very strongly in rationality and science.  They believed that the natural world and even human behavior could be explained scientifically.  They even felt that they could use the scientific method to improve human society.

By contrast, the Romantics rejected the whole idea of reason and science.  They felt that a scientific worldview was cold and sterile.  They felt that science and material progress would rob people of their humanity (this is, for example, one of the major themes of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley).  In place of reason, the Romantics exalted feelings and emotions.  They felt that intuition and emotions were important sources of knowledge. 

Thus, the ideals of the Romantics and the thinkers of the Enlightenment were very much opposed to one another. 

sciencesolve's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Romanticism was a movement that stressed human emotions and beauty of nature, while Enlightenment was quite an opposite movement.

While Enlightenment's belief about the material world is that it is the reflection of the ideal world, Romanticism's belief about the material world is that it is the manifestation of divinity or God's self-expression.

The Enlightenment movement was characterized by moderation and order, while Romanticism admired spontaneity and disorder.

While the Enlightenment believed that objectivity and realism can be possible, Romanticism believed that subjectivity and relativity cannot be avoided.

The Enlightenment's literary forms kept and applied traditional forms, while Romanticism's literary forms revealed stylistic autonomy. Enlightenment's art had to be educational and it had to prove its utility, while  Romanticism's art appealed mainly to emotions.


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