Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was a British Romantic poet and philosopher, best known for his revolutionary views on society, politics, and religion, which he expressed in his works. Shelley’s notable works include “Ozymandias,” “Ode to the West Wind,” “To a Skylark,” and “Prometheus Unbound.”
Shelley was born in Sussex, England, and attended Oxford University, where he was expelled for writing an inflammatory pamphlet. In 1814, he eloped with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (who later became Mary Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein”) and spent much of his life travelling around Europe.
Shelley’s poetry often reflected his radical political beliefs, which included advocating for democracy, nonviolence, and social justice. He was also an atheist, and his works frequently questioned religious dogma and the traditional ideas of the church.
In addition to his literary contributions, Shelley was also known for his personal life, which was marked by scandal and tragedy. He had numerous affairs and was estranged from his family. His first wife, Harriet Westbrook, committed suicide, and his second wife, Mary Shelley, endured the loss of three of their children.
Despite his short life, Shelley remains an enduring figure in English literature, and his poetry continues to inspire readers around the world.
The Tragic Death of PB Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley met an untimely death at the age of 29. On July 8, 1822, he and two others set out on a sailing expedition in the Gulf of Spezia off the coast of Italy.
Despite the weather warning, Shelley was determined to go out to sea, and it proved to be a fatal decision. A fierce storm overtook their boat, and the men were lost at sea. Their bodies were later recovered, and Shelley’s was identified by a book of John Keats’ poetry he was carrying in his pocket.
The death of Percy Bysshe Shelley shocked the literary world and his admirers. Shelley was an outspoken advocate for social and political reform, a visionary poet who believed in the transformative power of the imagination. His works, including “Ode to the West Wind,” “Prometheus Unbound,” and “Ozymandias,” continue to inspire and captivate readers today.
Despite his relatively short life, Shelley’s impact on literature and philosophy cannot be overstated. His poetry challenged societal norms and expectations, and his life was marked by both triumph and tragedy. Though his physical presence in the world was brief, his legacy endures, and his words continue to resonate with readers around the world.