Talk:The Masque of Anarchy

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Not sure if this is accurate.[edit]

Hi there, I hope someone is watching this page. Although it would be dependent on the source cited for the article, I'm not too sure if the text for this poem is correct. For a start, I have a (print) copy in a book purchased at Shelley's house in Piazza di Spagna, Rome, where the poem is titled 'The Mask of Anarchy' rather than 'Masque' as in Poe's Red Death. I have never personally seen it titled this way, although I see there is a redirect from 'The Mask of Anarchy'. Secondly, the first line is also different from my copy, which begins "As I lay asleep in Thessaly," rather than Italy. Anyone with printed refs to hand to help out would be welcome . . . LSmok3 (talk) 16:30, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Masque is probably better, to my surprise - google books testing gets about equal results, but if you restrict to older, 19th century, and look at the earliest versions, Masque seems to be the original.John Z (talk) 06:45, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Masque or Mask?[edit]

These are completely different words. In "Masque of the Red Death", Death wears a mask at the masque.
I am standardizing on masque, as decided above.
Varlaam (talk) 18:59, 25 July 2010 (UTC)


There is no indication in the poem itself that it is advocating nonviolence. Nonviolence, and the idea of a nonviolent revolution, was in fact a non thing until it was popularized by Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Rather than an early statement of nonviolent resistance, it was more of an early statement of resistance through anarchism. The article should be changed accordingly.

This stanza certainly doesn't advocate for nonviolence as a tactic:

   Rise like Lions after slumber
   In unvanquishable number,
   Shake your chains to earth like dew
   Which in sleep had fallen on you-
   Ye are many — they are few


There is a reference to The Mask of Anarchy in an book of interviews with Arundhati Roy who had quoted the line 'Ye are many - they are few.' Roy admired Ghandi, but points out that the Indian resistance, while not a 'revolution', was certainly not inherently or only non-violent. She looks to non-violent means to counter injustice. But I think realises that as those in power react (as they did in regard to the Peterloo and events leading up to it even back as far as the Luddites); as they react, they reacted violently. So in India. The connection is made. I think that in essence Shelley is advocating strong non-violent action but then for people to rise. I think that readers of Shelley overlook his strong atheism, his "progressive" views and concern for justice and revolution. It seems he was influenced by Godwin (obviously), Paine, as well as new Science ideas (as Coleridge was, see e.g Richard Holmes's 'The Age of Wonder'), and the terrible conditions (almost prison like) of factory workers is described well by L.C.B. Seaman in 'A New History of England 410 - 1975". So I agree, Shelley was an idealist (this is not to subtract from his great "pure poetry" and his art say as in 'Lamia' etc): and not just a "misty eyed" romantic possessed, only, of the sublime. Clearly then, violent revolution could have been an outcome of his 'call to "Rise like Lions after slumber,/ In unvanquishable number... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 29 October 2014 (UTC)