Mont Blanc

Percy Shelley’s work of “Mont Blanc” is one that the sublimity of the work, projects onto the reader, the youthfulness of the author. This is done through many different things such as, the imaginative descriptions, as well as the use of questions. All through out the poem, Shelley’s great imaginative skills are seen through his endless personification of his descriptions of the mountain so that it can be fully absorbed in all its greatness. He describes how the winds “drink [the pines’] odours” (line 23) and how the “waterfalls around [the mountain] leap for ever” (line 9), giving the reader a very vivid sense of the mountain, so that they can fully understand the spiritual effects it can have on them. He even goes so far with his imagination as to imagine ghosts and witches on the mountain. It is the youthful that are more likely to be able to see all this in their head, because they are the ones that still have fanciful ideas of the world, and see it in a way that those who are older, and prefer reason and order, cannot. As a youth the main way you learn something is through asking questions. At this time it is impossible for one to know everything, so one always has to ask to gain knowledge, and that is exactly what Shelley does in this poem. Throughout the poem, Shelley continues to ask multiple sets of questions, about a variety of things, especially in stanza 3. The speaker decides to contemplate the idea of death, trying to understand it, before going on to continue to describe the mountain and asking even more questions about that, such as if a split in the mountain was “where the old Earthquake-daemon taught her young ruin”(line72-73). He is furthering the sublimity of the mountain by asking these questions, trying to grasp at something that is not quite attainable to humans. The poem even ends with a question, asking what would the world be if we only saw, “the silence and the solitude [as] vacancies”(line144), hinting to us that it is not enough to just see what is going on in the world, but one must have a certain level of imagination, that youth has, to see past the physical world into the spiritual one.


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