All You Need is Love to Come Together

Shelley presents an extremely optimistic outlook on the future of the world in Demogorgon’s final address. “Conquest is dragged captive through the deep” (556), and “Love… folds over the world its healing wings” ( 557-561). Man’s greed for material things is finally vanquished, eliminating the desire of nations  to continue to search the globe for land and peoples to claim as their own in a never ending race to become the most powerful country. Competition is no longer the driving force behind the actions of man, but rather, all men are connected by a prevailing sense of love, accented by “Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance” (562). Destruction loses its strength, as it is no longer appealing as a means of achieving an end; Love takes its place as the primary method through which to enact change.

Shelley also couples a warning about the delicacy of the end of destruction with his positive outlook on the future of humanity at the conclusion of Prometheus Unbound. Shelley uses the word “empire” twice, in the final two stanza of the epic, once without a capitalized letter and once with to show two different meanings of the word. Demogorgon mentions “… the spells by which to reassume/An empire o’er the disentangled Doom” ( 568-569), giving a negative connotation to the word “empire”, as it returns man to the past. Man “reassumes” the ideals of war, revolution and destruction that were once the only way to gain and maintain power. The need to dominate and control others doomed man in the past, and continues to act as a warning as man looks to the future.  The positive outlook on the future of mankind stems from Shelley’s second use of the word empire, as it is a mutual experience of all men. “Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;/This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory” (577-578). Ending the poem on an obvious high note, Shelley pairs “Empire” with “Good”, “beautiful”, “free”, “Joy”, “Life, and “Victory” – all words with very positive connotations. All men are united under the experience of each of these terms, and all understand the feelings behind joy, freedom, and life. Men are connected to one another as equals, all members of one universal empire of experiences, rather than ruled or ruling over one another. “Empire” describes the unification of all of mankind, a victory for all of mankind, in its achievement of Shelley’s ideal of all encompassing love.


~ by mjaka10 on October 31, 2012.

One Response to “All You Need is Love to Come Together”

  1. Mjaka10—
    You do a very good job of close reading in your piece! Your clear description of the Empire of Love and the differences between Shelley’s empire/Empire are the high points of your post. Your post could use a little bit more original thought beyond the direct meaning of the lines that were assigned. Perhaps, your post could have been improved by stepping outside of the assigned lines allowing for a little more creativity possibly questioning Shelley’s motivation for Love as an all conquering force, or his choice of empire to begin with.

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