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What is the theme and tone of the poem "Love's Philosophy" by Percy Shelley?

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shennah | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:11 AM via web

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What is the theme and tone of the poem "Love's Philosophy" by Percy Shelley?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:17 PM (Answer #1)

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The theme and tone of the poem "Love's Philososphy" by Percy Shelley are two separate, but linked, concepts. The themes of the poem are rejection, love, union and disappointment as they can be beautifully represented through Nature. Because of the themes (particularly rejection and disappointentment in love) the poem has a poignant plaintiff air - the poet feels rejected, hurt and hard done by. Shelley feels he is the victim in this situation and the love he feels for another is unwanted and unrequited. The poem is reminiscent of John Donne's "The Flea" where the conceit is to argue for loving physical union by pointing out that the lovers' blood is already one - united in the body of the flea. Here though, Shelley uses images from Nature (winds and seas uniting) to make his point to his love.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:28 AM (Answer #2)

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The theme of this poem is love.  Specifically, it is a poem in which the speaker is trying to persuade someone else to be in love with him and kiss him.  He is asking her why she should not love him, kiss him etc, given how just about everything else in the world kisses and mingles with each other.

The tone of this poem is quite light.  It is not a very somber or serious poem.  The speaker seems to be teasing the person he is addressing rather than begging her, in my opinion.

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