The Dawn of a New Life

It is easy to forget the grounding ideas and skip over the intricate details when reading Percy Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound. After all, this is not a light-weight experience. But it is in fact an experience that allows love to run through its arteries and give life to the poetic play.

In Act III, scene IV the Spirit of the Hour explores the essence of fate, the power of love, the Phidian forms, and apocalyptic changes that are embedded in the entire play. “There was a change: the impalpable thin air/ and the all-circling sunlight were transformed,/ as if the sense of love dissolved in them (lines 100-102).” This change, warmed from the inside by the omnipotent power of love, enlightens the reader and the story of an equalizing force that is taking over. These “mysteries of the universe” are melted down and revealed to the Spirit, and all elements of the play are illuminated by truths (105). This exposition is the dawn of the play; it is the rising of the veil and the dissolution of darkness and power. The Phidian forms become representations of what has been and what is coming into light. “Thrones were kingless, and men walked/ one with the other even as spirits do (lines 131-132).” Hierarchy is declining, melting away, and statues of what existed before are gazed upon and recognized. Jupiter, a tyrant and ruler of sorts, is dethroned from the power position, and the love of the universe is injected into forms, beings, and life.


~ by katiearata on November 1, 2012.

One Response to “The Dawn of a New Life”

  1. Katiearata –

    Great close reading of the passage from the Spirit of the Hour in Act III. I really enjoyed your interpretation of the implicit apocalyptic events occurring in the passage, especially your particular description of this exposition as “the dawn of the play.” It suggests beginning anew, a total expulsion of the old order. I would have liked if you delved more deeply into the sense of revolution: you mention the tyrannical Jupiter being overthrown, yet what can be made of the men walking as spirits do? It seems as if they are not only infused with love, but released from their bodily forms. But overall, great post!

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