P. B. Shelley – Philosophy from his Poetry

P. B. Shelley’s philosophy (following my previous Post on Love’s Philosophy) …

He went from an external to an internal philosophy based on humanity having the power to combat the sources of suffering based on a personal responsibility within the social framework (a micro view).

Here is his philosophy as reflected in some of his poetry … based on ‘The Norton Anthology’ –

1 … In Queen Mab

… Shelley believed that injustice and suffering can be eliminated by an external revolution that will wipe out or radically reform the sources of evil

2 … In Prometheus Unbound

… the origin of evil and the possibility of reform are the responsibility of men and women themselves. Social chaos and wars are a gigantic projection of human moral disorder and inner division and conflict, tyrants are the outer representatives of the tyranny of our baser over our better elements; hatred for others is a product of self-contempt; and successful political reform is impossible unless we have reformed our own nature at its roots, by substituting selfless love for divisive hate. Shelley incorporates into his secular myth … (i.e.  universal regeneration by an apocalypse of the moral imagination of the human race) … the ethical teaching of Christ on the Mount, as well as the highest classical morality represented in Prometheus.

Note … Prometheus Unbound (from Shelley’s preface) … is a large and intricate imaginative construction that involves premises about human nature and the springs of morality and creativity (Shelley abhorred didactic poetry).

The non-Christian poet W. B. Yeats called PU one of ‘the sacred books of the world’.

The Christian critic C. S. Lewis found in PU poetic powers matched only by Dante.

Your word in my ear ...

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