- Massacre of 14, injury of hundreds, of unarmed protestors gathered at St. Peter’s Field
Manchester on August 16 1819.
- What did people want? Basic democratic reforms: freedom of the press and publication,
freedom of public assembly and “political organizations,” extension of the vote (to at
least middle class men).
- A magistrate at the time: “Some of you reformers ought to be hanged.”
- “Shelley thought England was on the verge of revolution” and he tried “to make his own
contribution” with “Mask of Anarchy” (Michael Scrivener Radical Shelley 196)
- The idea that the values of passion and imagination needed to be defended against the
rising dominance of materialism and industrialization.
- That the individual—every individual—was to be valued and nurtured as an independent
and creative being.
- That human beings are “naturally” or inherently “good,” and that society should be
arranged in such a way as to honour and encourage the goodness of all humans.
- All these ideas feed into the rise of democracy.
What does the poem say?
- Castlereagh, Eldon, and Sidmouth are English lords: rich, powerful politicians running
the government and trying to keep law and order at home and expand the Empire
- Who is Anarchy