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Love's Philosophy Analysis

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

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The theme of Shelley's 1820 poem is the phenomenon of unrequited love.  

In the first stanza, the speaker observes that in the natural world, specifically in the elements of water and air, there is no meaningful separation. He extrapolates this idea to a divine plan for everything in existence to have a counterpart.

In the second stanza, he employs further exemplification from nature, observing connections between earth and sky, waves in the sea, and flowers.

Each stanza ends with a rhetorical question that essentially asks the same thing: why won't you be with me?

The poem's tone is playful and imploring. The speaker tries to impress his beloved with lofty language and analogies that contain some amusing logical fallacies, but he does put a direct question to her--twice.

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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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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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jariel | Student

The theme and tone of Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Love's Philosophy" is persuasive throughout, shifts to instructive, and finishes playful. Shelley often relied on romantic fallacies and personification to support his speakers goals. And the goal in this particular poem is that love is so natural the act of resistance is out of place.

Shelley structures the poem as an argument. In the first stanza, he states his stance on relationships. In lines 1-2, the speaker uses the romantic fallacy of fountains, rivers, and oceans mixing to illustrate his point that love is a natural occurrence. In line 8, the speaker addresses his love interest directly. He openly asks, "Why not I with thine?"

In the second stanza, he is almost gesturing with his words, "See the mountains kiss high heaven [?]" Still a persuasive tone as the attention of his love interest is directed to the sky and the mountains. He personifies the two larger than life objects in nature to illustrate that what he wants, a chaste kiss, is nothing in comparison to the trysts taking place in the natural world.

In lines 15-16 the speaker is flirtatious and playful. He asks, "What is all this sweet work worth/ If thou kiss not me?"