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Adonais summary | P. B Shelley

Adonais summary | P. B Shelley

Writer’s intro:

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) was an important English Romantic poet. Some people think he is one of the best lyric and philosophical poets in the English language. And others think that he is also the most influential and revolutionary poet.  Adonais’s summary is more important to students of English literature.



Adonais Summary: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

Percy Bysshe Shelley, an English poet, wrote the poem “Adonais” in 1821 to honor his good friend John Keats.  Keats died earlier that year at the age of 25 from tuberculosis. The name comes from the Greek myth about Adonis. He was the handsome young lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. He also died at a young age. Some scholars say that Shelley meant to compare the pig that stabbed and killed Adonis to the harsh critics who attacked Keats during his life.


Shelley starts the poem by saying, “I cry for Adonais, for he is dead!” Throughout the poem. The catchphrase “Weep for Adonais, he’s dead!” is repeated many times. People gather to be sad about the death of the late poet. Most of these mourners, though, are either made up or represent Keats’s dreams, hopes, thoughts, and feelings.


This could be because Keats wasn’t well-known or loved at the time of his death, even though he became well-known and loved later in life. So, the people Keats leaves behind are his “flocks,” which are the children of his imagination. Urania, the goddess of astronomy and the mother of Adonais, comes to lead the funeral ceremony.



The Second part of Adonais Summary

In addition to putting Keats’s different ideas and inspirations in the form of people, Shelley lists several modern poets, including himself, who gather at the funeral. Some of them, are like Lord Byron, who is called the “Pilgrim of Eternity” in this poem. They never met Keats, but they had the same poetic spirit. The Irish poet Thomas Moore and the English critic Leigh Hunt are also sad.


Shelley’s sadness turns to anger as he sets his sights on the person he thinks killed Keats: an anonymous critic who harshly criticized Keats’s poem “Endymion” in 1818. Even though Keats died of tuberculosis, Shelley thinks that some of the very bad reviews he got, especially one written by an anonymous critic who turned out to be the famous Irish writer and politician John Wilson Croker, made his condition much worse.

Shelley thinks about how to punish the “deaf and snake-like murderer” who fed Keats “poison,” and she decides that the critic shouldn’t die with Keats. Instead, the critic should have a long life of fame, which will make him feel bad about himself and make him regret what he did.


The third part of Adonis summary

Shelley talks about other poets who, like Keats, died young before reaching their full potential. These poets include Thomas Chatterton, Sir Philip Sidney, and the Roman poet Lucan. Shelley goes on to say that Keats’s early death has given him a sense of immortality that the mourners who are still alive don’t have and can only fear. The living shouldn’t be afraid of death, though, because Keats is now “one with nature” and in a place where “envy, slander, hate, and pain” can’t hurt him anymore.


In this part, Shelley also says that the funeral took place in a Protestant cemetery in Rome. The fact that Shelley’s son is buried in the same cemetery makes this important. Shelley’s son had malaria when he was three years old and died in Rome two years before. In this way, the author’s long talks about the dead and the living and his internal debates about which group is better off can be seen as an extension of how he feels about his son’s death.


Finally, Shelley sees death less as a prison and more as an act of otherworldliness that is far above the worries and problems of the living. In his last description. Shelley says, “The soul of Adonais, like a star, shines from the place where the eternal dwell.”



Adonais centers on honoring the recently deceased John Keats, a fellow poet of Percy Bysshe Shelley. The poem also deals with a biting response targeted at Keats’s critics. And a thoughtful meditation on the nature of life and death. He forbids the world from mourning for Keats in his elegy. While the piece is by its nature somber and mournful, Shelley says that, essentially, Keats is in a better place.




This is the of our content Adonais summary. If you want to read more summaries from Romantic Poetry, check below.

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