Philosophy in the Life of Percy Shelley Essay

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Philosophy in the Life of Percy Shelley

Thesis: There was no end to the apparent contradictions of personal philosophy versus popular culture, and what Shelley actually accomplished in his short life. Shelley was cognoscente of this contradiction, as can be seen in his Preface to The Revolt of Islam, and it continually shadowed his career.

The Romantic writers of the late 1700s and the early 1800s enjoyed a freedom in writing that is reminiscent of the freedom of some of the great Greek writers. Like the Greeks more than one thousand years earlier, the Romantic writers were able to enjoy such professions in the humanities due to the influx of technology in their respective societies. With the rise of the Greek Polis came
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I aspire to be something better. The circumstances of my accidental education have been favorable to this ambition. An early inspiration to Shelley's thoughts was William Godwin. The effects of Godwin's writings upon Shelley would extend beyond his high school years. The book Political Justice entranced Shelley. The idea of a world dominated by philosophy rather than religion can be seen in Shelley's own ideals of Millennialism. Shelley accepted enthusiastically Godwin's promotion of free love instead of the cursed institution of marriage.
Shelley's own family did not understand him from the beginning. Shelley had expected an inheritance from his father, but upon Shelley's expulsion from Oxford his father disinherited him. Shelley's mother discouraged his reading of books as well as she felt that the reading added to his madness (Karunaratne, 29). Shelly's grandfather did provide a sum of money for him, but Shelley had an awkward appreciation for the money. Shelley, though he had no real income, would share whatever money he had with his fellow thinkers. As can be gathered from his family's reaction, Shelley had a rather precocious start to philosophical thinking. "The Mad Shelley" would constantly rebel against what was expected of him at school. From ". . .raising the devil" to his shabby care of his fine clothing, Shelley was known as a trouble maker. He

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