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Mutability Analysis



Author: Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley Type: Poetry Views: 1816

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We are the clouds that veil the midnight moon;

How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,

Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon

Night closes round, and they are lost forever:



Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings

Give various response to each varying blast,

To whose frail frame no second motion brings

One mood or modulation like the last.



We rest.--A dream has power to poison sleep;

We rise.--One wandering thought pollutes the day;

We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;

Embrace fond foe, or cast our cares away:



It is the same!--For, be it joy or sorrow,

The path of its departure still is free:

Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;

Nought may endure but Mutability.










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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

This poem is about the human condition and subjectivity or liability to change. The title of the poem makes this quite clear. We humans are likened to clouds. The first stanza elaborates on the fleeting nature of clouds and this is compared to the short span on time humans occupy the earth. It uses words like gleam and radiantly to symbolize the peak of one's life. It shows the climax of one's life and then, inevitable death.
The second stanza further explains that change cannot be fought against. A lyre is meant to produce melodious sounds but this stanza says that the lyres have "dissonant strings". This means that they are discordant and have transformed. Shelley uses this to symbolize the fact that we may expect our lives to be one way, but changes occur to make things different. Also, no matter how hard we try, "no second motion brings" back what was.
The third stanza shows the negative aspects of the human condition. It also shows inconsistency in our behavior or lives. Rest is inconsistent, because of dreams. Even when we rise there will be something small to instigate a turn of events. Even our emotions are inconsistent and the way we handle these emotions vary from time to time.
The final stanza makes of use of strong punctuation (exclamation mark) to emphasize on the point that all things are fleeting and are mutable. The colon after "free" suggests that the following lines conclude or wrap up the poem by giving the fundamental message. Nothing remains the same and nothing lasts forever. In fact, the only non-mutable thing we can be sure of is Mutability itself. Here, Shelley makes use of poetic licence to capitalize the word Mutability to lay emphasis on it.
Also, he shows some inconsistency by slightly altering the rhyming scheme. The rhyming scheme from the beginning is ABAB, where the words have the same endings. However,here, even though free and mutability rhyme, they do not have the same endings and this changes the pattern in the poem. This shows that even the pattern in his poem is liable to change...everything is liable to change but change.
The idea of everything but mutability being mutable is quite paradoxical and leaves the reader thinking over the poem after it has been read. In that way, Shelley is effective in portraying his ideas concerning Mutability.

| Posted on 2014-03-02 | by a guest


.: :.

The clouds represent change. They shape easily and they dissolve when it rains. It also represents the natural cycle of life we are part of.
This poem explores things about how life passes, how little humans leave a legacy behind and how we are very inconstant in our behaviour.
He also comments on how we never have relief from this, it is affecting our sleep and thoughts.

| Posted on 2012-09-24 | by a guest


.: :.

This is understandable that cash makes us independent. But how to act if one does not have money? The one way is to receive the personal loans or just financial loan.

| Posted on 2011-12-24 | by a guest


.: :.

i hate this poem and don\'t understand a word of it. i have a school project to do on it and i have to analyze a symbol from the poem and determine a romantic ideal presented in the poem. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!! i am very confused and need this done by wendesday!!! please, please, please. write a comment back on the website. Thankyou :D

| Posted on 2010-12-06 | by a guest


.: :.

Im the words of Victor Frankenstein, humans are subject to wonder and awe at every little thing in life. Mutability in a way enhances that view and says that nothing is the same and everything is going to change. That\'s what the beauty of the world is...

| Posted on 2010-10-25 | by a guest


.: :.

in this poem shelley appears to highlight the inconsistency of human nature ...the cornucopia of emotions that we experience and the instability of life itself

| Posted on 2010-10-12 | by a guest


.: :.

Percy Shelley was straight when he was married but he became bi curious and this caused a mutation into homosexuality.

| Posted on 2010-02-10 | by a guest


.: :.

jajajajaja...I liked the very firts comment.I think that can be the truth after all ;)

| Posted on 2010-01-25 | by a guest


.: :.

jajajajaja...I liked the very firts comment.I think that can be the truth after all ;)

| Posted on 2010-01-25 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem talks about how Shelley was a mutant with super natural powers. He wanted to join the X-men but settles for the Justice League. Tough Luck!

| Posted on 2009-05-16 | by a guest


.: :.

Even though the poem begins pessimistically there is an ironic change in the way Shelley views mutability.
On one hand, because we as humans mutate and change we eventually, like clouds, disappear.
On the other hand, we are all individuals, even though we may be forgotten, we are unique. There is no replica.
Even when we rest (sleep) there is no constancy because of dreams. When we are awake, one thought leads to another, in this way our thoughts are always shifting. Each change in emotion signifies a shift.
Each day wears on and soon is replaced by the next.
The only thing that remains constant, as Plato said it a long time ago, is change.
z

| Posted on 2009-04-11 | by a guest


.: :.

Even though the poem begins pessimistically there is an ironic change in the way Shelley views mutability.
On one hand, because we as humans mutate and change we eventually, like clouds, disappear.
On the other hand, we are all individuals, even though we may be forgotten, we are unique. There is no replica.
Even when we rest (sleep) there is no constancy because of dreams. When we are awake, one thought leads to another, in this way our thoughts are always shifting. Each change in emotion signifies a shift.
Each day wears on and soon is replaced by the next.
The only thing that remains constant, as Plato said it a long time ago, is change.

| Posted on 2009-04-11 | by a guest


.: on theme :.

Shelley, even though he was betrayed, disappointed, etc, didn't let that change his outlook on love and faith. He understood that he had to keep hope, or else be swallowed by that dark abyss--sadness, depression...what he refers to in the first stanza as night.

| Posted on 2007-03-29 | by a guest




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