What is the major theme in the poem "Love's Philosophy"?    

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Percy Bysse Shelley uses personification in nature to reveal his theme of companionship in the poem "Love's Philosophy."  In the first part of the poem, Shelley personifies rivers, oceans, mountains, waves, and the heavens as an extended metaphor for companionship and the act of love.  Their natural interaction, like "the fountains mingle with the river," suggests proximity.   Moveover, Shelley's use of personification also reveals that physical interaction should be an aspect of the close relationship:

See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another.

In the end of the poem, as Shelley entreats his beloved for a kiss, the reader gains new insight into the title of the poem, "Love's Philosophy."  Companionship and loving are the part of the natural order of the world, for "nothing in the world is single."

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jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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The theme of Shelley's poem "Love's Philosophy" is that it is natural for elements in the physical world to combine, so the person the narrator addresses the poem to should submit to the narrator. The narrator uses a number of images from nature to suggest that combination and togetherness are the way nature is supposed to work. For example, the narrator says in the first two lines of the poem, "The fountains mingle with the river /And the rivers with the ocean." The narrator also mentions that winds mix together; therefore, nothing in the natural world is alone but instead is mixed with other elements. The narrator ends the first stanza, referring to spirits, with "Why not I with thine?—"

In the second stanza, the narrator repeats the same theme of elements in nature that are combined, such as, "mountains kiss high heaven/ And the waves clasp one another." In these lines, the narrator personifies mountains and waves to make them appear to be capable of expressing love. At the end of the second stanza, the narrator asks, "What is all this sweet work worth/ If thou kiss not me?" Again, the narrator's theme is that is it natural for elements in the universe to combine, so the narrator's beloved should give in to the narrator's advances. 


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