Eclipse

Drawing number one seemed to me the most representative of the revolution. What interested me about this particular image is that the sun seems to be emerging from behind the moon. This can be thought of as the symbolic representation of the “dominion of kings [being] changed for the dominion of laws, and the dominion of priests giving way to the dominion of reason and conscience” (Price 6). The light of the sun can be seen as revealing what is true and natural in the same way that the revolution can be said to reveal the natural egalitarianism of all men (and women) and to do away with “the romantic and barbarous distinction of men into kings and subjects” (Paine 27). This image of the sun also fits quite well with Price’s declaration that tyrannical government “cannot now hold the world in darkness” (Price 6). The presentation of this revolution as an eclipse strongly depicts the cyclical nature of the revolution. In the same way that “the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise” (Paine 26[Common Sense]), this paradise of man in his natural state (that of Rousseau’s noble savage) emerges from the darkness of tyrannical rule. There is always the (perhaps inevitable) danger of return to a tyrannical state, as with Napoleon’s emergence as emperor. This is why I like the ambiguity of the position of the moon. I’m inclined to think that it is uncovering the sun, but the possibility that it may be moving to cover the sun is just as possible, just as the promising beginnings of the French Revolution descended into the reign of terror and greater tyranny than ever before.

In this image, I am also struck by the weeping woman and her lack of a mouth.  The missing mouth seems to indicate to me her lack of a voice in an oppressive government that enslaves her. The light of the sun, however, seems to be about to reveal to her the pleasure dome. I equate the pleasure dome to republican government and the hope for a new society because the pleasure dome was Kubla’s hope for happiness and rest in his chaotic world of conquest and war. Similarly, a republican system of government resulting from revolution offers hope for salvation and respite from the oppressive kings of the past.

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~ by rollingrock33 on September 20, 2012.

One Response to “Eclipse”

  1. rollingrock33, I was very impressed with how you used one image (the sun/moon) to make a very convincing and interesting argument about the revelatory nature of revolution. My only critique lies with the broad sweep of your post. You try to argue so many different points and use so many quotes that I was distracted from the main point of the post (the eclipse). Try not to get dragged down by allegory and irrelevant details. Otherwise, you have a very effective post here.

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