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Percy Bysshe Shelley 1. Biography 2. Prometheus Unbound 2015-5-8 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Percy Bysshe Shelley 1. Biography 2. Prometheus Unbound 2015-5-8 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Percy Bysshe Shelley 1. Biography 2. Prometheus Unbound

2 Biography Life experience 1. The eldest son of a wealthy country squire, Shelley was born in From his childhood, he possessed a fierce independence of spirit and bitterly hated all forms of tyranny. 2. At Eton, he read widely, including political theory and romantic tales. 3. At Oxford, he and Thomas Hogg published The Necessity of Atheism and defiantly refused to answer questions about this work put to them by university authorities, so they were expelled. 4. Though he lived a brief life, he had a stormy emotional history. Though he loved quite a few women, there is a curious innocence in his love. He married Harriet Westbrook to save her from parental tyranny; he ran off with Mary Godwin because he loved her; he entertained friendships with other women because he always thought that he saw profound spiritual qualities in ladies he loved

3 Biography General comment 1. Shelley (1792 ~ 1822) was a revolutionary and idealist, a dedicated seeker of an ideal world where love and the brotherhood of man would prevail. His poetry expresses his spirit of rebellion, his pervasive melancholy, his love of man and of freedom. He used the objects of nature, which he worshiped, as images of his internal state. 2. What makes Shelley a great poet is the sheer music and matchless spontaneity of his verse. Few poets have matched his clear-flowing melody and his lyric suggestion of a sublime world beyond the physical which man has never seen but which he knows must exist. His world stirs up sensations which bring each reader to the mystery of life, the attempt to find something beyond the present and tangible. 3. The following list of his works is designed to call attention to his greatest achievements: Queen Mab (1813); The Revolt of Islam (1817); The Cenci (1819); Prometheus Unbound (1819); Ode to the West Wind (1819); The Cloud (1820); To a Skylark (1820); Adonais (1821)

4 Prometheus Unbound The plot of the poem The theme of the poem Some weakness of the poem

5 Prometheus Unbound The plot of the poem Prometheus Unbound is universally acknowledged the most eloquent and persuasive of Shelley's lyrical expressions of faith in human nature. In this verse drama, Shelley reworks the legend of Prometheus, which has long been familiar to the readers of the tragedy Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, the great Greek tragic dramatist. Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound tells of the cruel punishment endured by the heroic Prometheus, one of the earliest children of earth, who revealed to man the secret of fire. This secret made man the rival of gods, so Zeus, or Jupiter, the father of the gods, took vengeance on Prometheus. Prometheus endured the cruel torture, but finally reconciled with Zeus. This ending was unbearable to Shelley. So he deals with the myth in his own way. He makes Prometheus a symbol of the noble-hearted revolutionaries, who devote themselves to the just cause of the people, suffer a lot of great pains and finally gain freedom for themselves and liberation for the people

6 Prometheus Unbound The theme of the poem 1. Through the characterization of Prometheus, Shelley praises various noble qualities such as man's shaping intellect, man's heroic endurance, man's defiance against tyranny and man's love of human beings. 2. In this long verse drama, Shelley also praises the collective spirit. Prometheus's victory results from not only his own noble qualities, but also his great allies in the world — he is supported by Mother Earth who gives him strength to endure all the sufferings and sends the spirits of heroes and martyrs to cheer him; His bride Asia, the spirit of love and goodness, “life of life,” awaits him in the distance and thus inspires him with a firm confidence in the final triumph of his just cause. Various spirits of Hope and Faith hover around him. All these give him courage and strength to endure the sufferings. 3. In this inspiring work, Shelley also shows his noble belief in the sacred rights of the individual, in the transforming power of love, and in the possibility of creating a better world than we know

7 Prometheus Unbound Some weakness of the poem As a play, Prometheus Unbound has notable weakness. There is practically no story. The characters have abstract but not human passions. There is no element of suspense or surprise which are generally essential to dramas. But as an intensely lyrical, splendidly imagined expression of Shelley's most deeply felt ideas, the verse drama deserves the immortality it has attained


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