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A Comparison Between Shelley and Byron

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Compare Shelley to Byron

Shelley and Byron are two poets who lived in the late 18th-19th Century. Their work commonly shares themes of love and relationships from positions of high social status during the era. In this essay I will be comparing the two poets, particularly between Shelley’s ‘Love’s Philosophy’ and Byron’s ‘When We Two Parted.’

Byron expresses negative and painful views on love in this poem, associating his affair with themes of death and loss, verbs and nouns such as ‘grieve’ and ‘silence’ allow the reader to empathise with Byron’s opinions. Subsequently, Byron maintains a passionate outlook on love through references to physical contact and the pain he embarks through the mental separation of his lover. On the other hand, Shelley’s poem presents his case for the union love as innocent, simple and inevitable through natural imagery and strong rhyme. He expresses his thoughts and feelings in the lyric poem by putting emphasis on emotion and nature, reflecting common themes in his work as a romantic poet. Shelley repeats the word ‘and’ to show that he is desperate to justify his views.

In the poem ‘When We Two Parted’ Byron relates the relationship he is talking about with death and expresses feelings of entrapment through conversation he has with other people in society (friends).

“They name thee before me,

A knell in mine ear;’

The first line in this extract states that they wanted to see his reaction by dropping her name. Byron writes about this small detail as it shows the consequences he is pursuing due to the fact that he is in love with a married woman. The second line, ‘a knell in mine ear’ connects the first line with his emotions. Comparing her name to a knell implies that the woman is dead, or he may have to pretend it is that way, and the word ‘ear’ allows the reader to understand the close relationship that Byron is in. Therefore highlighting the pain he is going through to a more dramatic extent.

Shelley connects the themes of religion and love to express his views, emphasising his interpretation of God’s will so that his point may be justified.

‘The winds of Heaven mix for ever

With a sweet emotion;




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