Revolution is chaos – it is messy and disorganized and confusing, much like picture 1 from our class interpretations of Kubla Kahn. The image has a distinct center, being the mountains, much as revolutions begin as distinct ideas, in the case of the French Revolution, to overthrow the monarchy. The moon is distinct, hanging above the mountains, as if they are looking up to it. Revolutions also have moons in the sense that there are individuals, leaders of the revolution, the the masses look to for guidance in their protests. Radiating out from the mountains and the moon are lines and shapes that have no set form, representing the masses, running about without set purposes or organization, contributing more to the overall impression of chaos rather than the achievement of the main goal of a revolution.

Chaos does not follow any set path or expectation; such is its nature. However, chaos is still cyclical in that it breeds itself, becoming a never ending circle of disorder and mayhem. Richard Price alludes to this idea of chaos in the political sense in his Discourse on the Love of our Country (1789). Price suggests that the French Revolution was the success of the people in a course of action that led to “an arbitrary monarch surrendering himself to his subjects.”  In essence, the government surrendered to the people, leaving no set governing body, basically promoting anarchy – which Price seems to be perfectly content with. Edmund Burke, on the other hand, expresses a fear of anarchy, and in fact a fear of all change, preferring to stick with “all our old prejudices” and the comfort and safety they provide. Resorting to anarchy and revolution signals the downfall of reason as a guiding force in society, as man shifts to governing himself, and therefore the world, through emotion. To relate these ideas back to Romanticism, and specifically the first drawing, Price’s view of the revolution is more concrete, like the mountains in the image, overthrow of the government being the main goal. Burke, on the other hand, sees the disorganized masses, the red and green lines radiating from the image, out of control and dangerous, like anarchy. Both Price and Burke see the revolution as a step towards anarchy, and therefore chaos, but Price sees revolution as moving forward towards a society free from the restrictions of government, while Burke fears the return of man to ruling by emotion.



~ by mjaka10 on September 19, 2012.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Great job getting to the point quickly and providing a short, allegorical rationale for your image choice. I really liked how you focused your argument on Price and Burke, as you could easily have tried to take on too much in your post. My critique lies with your second paragraph, which I think errs on the side of summary and loses my attention through redundant compare and contrast. If you took the last sentence, the more succinct version of your compare and contrast, and expanded its ideas, the post could have been more effective. How do the differences between Burke and Price work themselves out in the image you chose?

  2. In relation to the image, I would say that the arguments of both Price and Burke are represented by the sporadic lines (green and red). While represented by the same aspects of the picture, their interpretations of the freeform lines would reflect their respective opinions. Burke would see disorganization and a fall into chaos and despair, while Price would see the freedom of the people embodied in art.

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