Is Keats's poem Hyperion a political allegory or a poem about nature and the function of the poet?

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Allegory is a narrative that is designed to draw some parallel or other with a message or phenomenon outside the work itself. The fragmentary epic Hyperion by Keats has allegorical elements in it, but because it is an unfinished work, readers have been left to guess its meaning from the nature of the story and the characters; no one reading has gained consensus among critics. The poem has been explained as drawing a parallel between Apollo ousting Hyperion and Wordsworth's new poetic of the Romantic school dispossessing Pope and the Augustan poetic of the eighteenth century; others have seen the story to be parallel with Beauty dispossessing Order; and others still have seen in the story Imagination ousting Reason. These are a few of the many potential allegorical interpretations that can be taken from Hyperion. It may be said, however, that all of these allegorical readings proceed from the epic of the revolutionary impulse.

That said, a political allegory is equally possible, insofar as a parallel can be drawn between Jove deposing Saturn and the French Revolution dethroning the ancient regime and old social order along with it.

It could indeed alternatively be argued that the poem is about the nature and function of the poet. The character Hyperion would reflect the view, one that Keats seemed to have, that a poet is elected or chosen. Hyperion is the sun god of the Titans, the earlier race of gods who were taken over by the new Olympian gods. The poem begins with the Titans having already been deposed. Their sole hope for reclaiming their former ascendancy lies with Hyperion; this is because he alone of the Titans has retained his powers. Thus, fate has given him the mission of reclamation for the sake of his race of gods and the powers to see it through. Similarly, one may argue that fate bestows to the poet the responsibility to write for the rest of humanity and so gifts them uncommon powers to do so.

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To begin, one must understand the meaning of "political allegory".

Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy.
Thus an allegory is a story [any text so as to include poetry] with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.

The word political simply means anything concerned with politics (activities associated with the governing of an area).

Therefore, a political allegory is a text whose meaning revolves around the governing of an area and contains an extended metaphor to describe the political attributes.

Keats' "Hyperion", given it speaks of a changing of power among the Roman gods, would make the poem one bearing a political nature. Unfortunately, it was not until Keats wrote "The Fall of Hyperion" that the poem became a political allegory.

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