Edmund Burke Essay

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Salvatore Greco 3/20/14 The two topics, the sublime and the beautiful are very common in romantic poetry and novels. According to Edmund Burke’s essay, On the Sublime and the Beautiful, He explains the opposition of beauty and of sublimity by a physiological theory. Burke made the opposition of pleasure and pain the source of the two aesthetic categories, deriving beauty from pleasure and sublimity from pain. Edmund Burke describes sublime objects as “vast in their dimensions” and beautiful objects as “small and simple objects.” Edmund Burke goes into further detail describing the sublime and the beautiful in his novel. He describes the sublime as the strongest emotion, which the mind is capable of feeling and the beautiful as something little, humble and innocent. Authors such as Marry Shelly, William Wordsworth and Percy Shelly wrote various works infusing the elements of the sublime and the beautiful into their novels or poems. They took Edmund Burke’s explanation of the sublime and the beautiful and created works based upon his descriptions of the sublime and the beautiful. The novel, Frankenstein written by Marry Shelly, shows that the drive and desire to have an everlasting amount of beauty can cause the sublime to over power the beauty and take over someone’s life. This is clearly shown when Victor Frankenstein tries to create the most “perfect” human being. Instead, Victor creates a hideous and giant monster. When Victor sees that he created this grotesque monster, it causes him to go insane. Victor’s reaction and his actions towards the monster is an example of a sublime experience. From this point on in the novel, Victor Frankenstein is mentally unstable and he can no longer observe and feel emotionally attached to... ... middle of paper ... ...ty of the daffodils. The powerful effect that they have on his mind and body snap him out of depression and cause him to experience such a strong and powerful joy. This poem shows the powerful affect nature can have on the emotions of a person. In conclusion, the sublime and the beautiful are major topics in romantic poems and novels. Different authors bring out the different ways they can be seen and interpreted. In the novel Frankenstein and the poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, the sublime and the beautiful are shown through the feelings and the mind of the main characters. In the poem “Mont Blanc,” the sublime is shown through the complexity of nature and how man will never truly be able to understand it. In order to have something beautiful there must be something sublime, and in order for they’re to be something sublime there must be something beautiful.
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