Document Type

Junior Award Winner

Award Date

Spring 2011

Course Name

Romantic Poetry and Prose


Margaret Cain


In every life, there comes a moment when one wonders if a greater meaning exists beyond this mundane, often sordid world. Is man merely the sum of countless inane struggles, or is there a loftier purpose towards which he can strive? Romanticism is an attempt to answer this question, and is shaped by the belief that there is indeed a more perfect plane which humans yearn to reach. Few works embody the spirit of this movement as well as Percy Bysshe Shelley’s 1821 elegy for John Keats, “Adonais.” By alluding to a Platonic world, idealizing nature, and expressing an attraction to death, “Adonais” unequivocally characterizes itself as a Romantic work.