Shelley – Stanzas Written in Dejection

After reading Shelley’s “ Stanzas Written in Dejection – December 1818, near Naples” I found that the issue Shelley struggles with, is one that many people face. In the poem, Shelley juxtaposes the beautiful paradisal nature of Naples and the emptiness and numbness he feels in spite of being in a beautiful place. Shelley paints a beautiful image of the Naples day. He writes the day is warm with a clear sky, “the city’s voice, itself is soft like Solitude’s” (9). Shelley describes the equilibrium between man and nature beautifully. He contrasts the nuances of nature to certain emotions. Shelley portrays Naples as a perfect place but implies that he is not happy even though he is in “paradise”. Shelley says that he lacks hope, health, peace, content of surpassing wealth, fame, power, love, and leisure. His life is in despair, and he envies the pleasure that others get from the same life.

This reminds me of the society we live in today, where people who struggle with depression aren’t able to experience all the pleasures of life. Regardless of their physical location, people feel an emptiness within them that life is unable to fulfill. Shelley’s poem encapsulates what depression feels like. This poem is relatable to almost everyone in a way, anyone who has felt dejected at some point can relate to this. Shelley writes “Others I see whom these surround, Smiling they live and call life pleasure: To me that cup has been dealt in another measure “(25-27), this quote summarizes the meaning of the poem. Shelley is unable to indulge in the life that others around him have due to his depression. The feeling of dejection that Shelley conveys is shared by many individuals in the world.

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