The poem “Lift Not the Painted Veil” by Percy Bysshe Shelley from the sonnet, remains outstanding among other poems of the times due to the use of features of speech. The poet fundamentally depicts the understanding and perceptions of people concerning life and the belief in God. The poem highlights that all the happenings in life are an illusion that God is the main planner and painter of our lives. The usage of the phrase “veil” for instance is symbolic because it represents death or mourning. This essay seeks to perform a literary analysis of the poem “Lift Not the Painted Veil.”
The poem is about the human perception of life. The poet has outlined humans as characters in the world whose fate is dictated and planned by God (Mrs. Shelley’42). The use of the phrases like “vein” is an illustration of human understanding of the happenings which they assume to have control but realize later that things do not flow as they planned. The poet appeals to humanity that consideration for that God is supreme and creator might help resolve the illusion. Fate and poor judgment are the major themes described by the poet. The author has depicted the human beings as those masked with a painted vein because they seem to escape the realities of life.
The aim of the poet is to depict the nature of the human being as being helpless and only dependent on God’s plan to receive their esteem needs (Barnett, 45). Although the author has outlined the power of humans as close to God, their understanding is linked to Plato’s allegory of the cave instance that had opposite description of the environment by the characters. The author also adds that life misses two important elements of love and truth which are necessary to enhance the feelings of fear and hope as stated in the second last line of the poem.
The poet has used metaphors and symbolism as the method of achieving her aims and goals. The use of the phrase “painted veil” is an indication of symbolism (McNulty, 51). The author, however, shows high use of philosophical reasoning to illustrate the themes.
Barnett, Suzanne L. Romantic Paganism: The Politics of Ecstasy in the Shelley Circle. Springer, 2018.
McNulty, Tess. “Joyce Adapting Shelley: The Social Function of Lyric Form.” Journal of Modern Literature 41.2 (2018): 23-41.
Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824. Our text is that of the “Poetical Works”, 1839.
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