In "The Triumph of Life," which group of people is the poet refering to in lines 135-148

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In Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "The Triumph of Life," a group of people is referred to in lines 135-148. Outside of referring to "Athens or Jerusalem," Shelley never does distinctly define who he is speaking about exactly. Instead, the interpretation is left to the reader or critic.

One could justify that Shelley is speaking about Jesus given the mention of Jerusalem. The scene depicted in the lines could support this given the mood of the crowd. The crowd is described as "ribald," "fierce and obscene," "tempetuous," and "tortured."

Another way to justify this is to examine the last line of those in question:

Of that fierce Spirit, whose unholy leisure.

Here, the capitalization of Spirit refers to the heavenly spirit. Other spirits are not normally capitalized.

Therefore, one could comfortably state, in one interpretation, that the lines depict the crowd following Jesus to his crucifixion.


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