Romanticism Poem and the Concept of Mercy

Last Updated: 12 Mar 2023
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The concept of mercy can be a very hard thing for one to grasp. One may find themselves asking “Whom shall be given mercy? ”, and “How much mercy should be shown? ”. There is no definite answer to those questions as mercy can be shown in different ways. There are three particular works that emphasize the concept of mercy, each showing a different perspective. The three works that use very distinctive ways to show mercy are The Merchant of Venice, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and Verses Upon the Burning of our House.

All of the themes of these works are much alike, as they all involve the comparison of mercy to a great power. However, there are a few distinctions among the works. In The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, the author uses a particular caption in the play to show how the concept of mercy should be perceived. Shakespeare shows the concepts of mercy by explaining how powerful mercy. Shakespeare shows this by stating, “It is an attribute to God himself,” (IV. i. 193) thus saying that God uses mercy and so should everyone else.

In the narrative Versus Upon the Burning of our House, the author, Anne Bradstreet, talks about the merciful God, and how he has saved her from destruction. She writes about how she has become too materialistic and how her merciful God has helped her in her time of need. This can be shown when the author writes, “And to my God my heart did cry/To straighten me in my distress,” (8-9) In Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Jonathan Edwards writes about the Mercy of God as well. His account differs from Bradstreet’s a little, as he is talking about how God is the reason for everyone living.

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He says that if it were not for a merciful God, then no one would be living. This can be supported by the author stating, “It is nothing but His mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction,” (56) Even though these works have different variations of the concept of mercy, the overall theme is the power of mercy is unending. All three of these works demonstrate that mercy can be used in many different ways and different amounts. Although, as stated before, the theme is mostly the same over all the works, the tone is very different.

Each of these works have their own clear-cut tones. Shakespeare takes on the tone of appreciation. While reading the passage, readers observe Shakespeare appreciating mercy and all its glory. Shakespeare writes, “It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,” (IV. i. 185) giving the reader the illustration that mercy is very plentiful and gentle. Countless times throughout the passage Shakespeare speaks of the power of mercy and just how wonderful it is. As for Bradstreet and Edwards, they take on totally different tones. Bradstreet’s tone is thankfulness of mercy.

The author comes across within the passage as being very thankful for Gods mercy and how she would be lost without it. This can be proving by the following quote, “I blest his grace that gave and took,/That laid my goods now in the dust. ” (14-15) This is a prime example of the author thanking God for having mercy and helping her rather than punishing her. Both Shakespeare and Bradstreet talk about what can happen when mercy is present. Edwards on the other hand talks about what will happen without mercy. Edwards describes violent and vivid images of destruction in his writing.

All of which can happen without the mercy of God. He speaks of how you should fear the absence of mercy saying, “Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downward with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf…. ” (56) Over all, mercy is said to be praised for its presence, and feared for its absence. The authors use multiple ways of showing their own perspective on the concept of mercy.

The three authors’ uses of literary devices in their works help strongly support their ideas on the concept of mercy. For instance, Shakespeare uses a simile that compares mercy as being better than a crown for a king. He writes, “It becomes the throned monarch better than his crown. ” This simile backs up the idea of mercy being powerful, and it can be the most powerful in those with the most power. Bradstreet uses an extended metaphor saying that the burning of her house is like the burning of her sins.

She thanks God for saving her from her material things which she feels are a sin. Edwards uses multiple similes and metaphors showings Gods power and how everyone is doomed without him. For instance he writes, “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much a one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fir, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked,” giving the reader the understanding that God is unbelievably greater than people. Each writer uses different literary devices to strengthen their views on the concept of mercy, and each is used in a very strategic manner.

The concept of mercy can be interpreted by many different people many different ways. There is no set rules of mercy, and it is up for discussion among people. Everyone has their own ideas on how mercy is and should be. Who’s idea is right? Well, there is no incorrect or correct way to show mercy. In the three works of literature discussed above, each author has their own interpretation of the concept of mercy. Each work has a very distinctive way of proving their point, and each has a similarities and differences with the other works as to how mercy should be perceived.

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Romanticism Poem and the Concept of Mercy. (2016, Aug 22). Retrieved from

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