chapter  4
37 Pages

Shelley’s philosophical beliefs

WithPatricia Hodgart

The light and delicate structure of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s verse is deceptive: he is, with the possible exception of Coleridge, the most intellectual of all the Romantic poets. His philosophical ideas from the outset were inevitably linked to those relevant to the French Revolution, the great event which had most profoundly affected the affairs of his lifetime. It is easy to recognize throughout Shelley’s poetry the values and ideals of William Godwin’s philosophical anarchism, particularly in the constant vision of a future age after the withering away of the state and the establishment of a free and loving society in which all men are equal. The drama is a philosophical one transforming on a metaphysical level the political arguments for the overthrow of tyranny and the establishment of a fair and free society into a great discourse on the power of Love.