What is the relation between Shelley's "Love's Philosophy" and the idea of romanticism?

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scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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1. "Love's Philosophy" demonstrates one of the key elements of Romanticism--lessons from nature. Many Romantic poets use elements of nature (seashells, the wind, the ocean, etc.) to discuss truths about the human condition.  Shelley certainly does so in his poem. Every line except the last line of the two stanza discusses how natural elements blend and interrelate. Thus, the speaker of the poem questions why he cannot "mingle" with his love as nature does.

2. One of the themes of the poem (personal relationships) also connects closely to Romanticism.  Romantic writers tend to focus more on individuals and their connections with nature or with other individuals rather than discussing man's relationship with society as other philosophies do.

3. Finally, the structure and style of the poem represent Romantic tendencies.  The poem possesses a strict rhyme scheme, meter, and stanza formation. 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are at least two aspects of romanticism that show up clearly in "Love's Philosophy" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

  1. The idea that emotion, rather than reason, should control people.  This is a very emotional poem that really has nothing going on in it except the speaker's strong emotion.
  2. Love of nature.  You can see this aspect in the things Shelley uses to express his love.  Everything he talks about in the whole poem is part of nature.  You have rivers, oceans, mountains, and flowers being used to talk about his love.

Because this poem uses images of nature to express emotion, it is very much in keeping with the idea of romanticism.

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