Percy Bysshe Shelley

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What is the tone and mood of the speaker of the poem "Stanzas Written in Dejection, Near Naples"?

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Tone and mood are two different things. Tone is the attitude of the narrator/speaker, and mood is the emotion or feeling that a piece gives to readers. While those two things are different, they do share a close relationship because an author's tone often leads the mood that readers experience. This is true of this poem, but the tone and mood are not the same throughout the entire poem.

The first stanza starts off quite calm and peaceful. Shelley uses words like "warm," "clear," "bright," and "dancing." It evokes happiness. We are even told that the city's voice is "soft like Solitude's." It is an uplifting stanza. However, this does not continue. The remaining stanzas pull the reader's initial happy feelings down toward a more dejected and depressed mood. This is the poem's goal. The speaker is describing his feelings, and the reader is along for the ride. What is especially interesting is how the day's weather begins to turn with the poet's tone and the poem's mood.

The lightning of the noontide ocean
Is flashing round me, and a tone
Arises from its measured motion,
How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion.
This is not completely unexpected, as Romantic authors emphasized the close connection between man and Nature.
Once into stanza 3 and beyond, the tone is full of despair. The reader is left with the same hopeless feeling that the narrator is experiencing. It is not tough to understand why this is so, because the speaker is fairly overt about his feelings.
Alas! I have nor hope nor health,
Nor peace within nor calm around,
Nor that content surpassing wealth
The sage in meditation found,
Once he tells readers that he has no hope, the speaker moves on to saying the actual word "despair." The despair has gotten to the point where he could lie down "like a tired child" and weep. From here, the poem moves on to thinking about death. He references a death in which people might lament his passing.
They might lament—for I am one
Whom men love not,

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