1.Do you agree with O’Shaughnessy that the artists of the world are the movers and shakers of the world?
Ans. Yes, artists are the movers and shakers of the world. This implies that artists are the people who make the world move forward. They are the rebels who challenge the existing norms and establish new norms. Their power surfaces when their art rebels against the norms set by society. Their work contrasts their escapist nature from the revolutionary one. There is a popular opinion that artists are escapists. This is because they prefer to stay away from the crowded cities. They prefer to go to secluded places by the seas or the rivers as they seek inspiration from the nature. Artists, music-makers and dreamers bring harmony, creativity and sweetness to the real world. They make the desires of mankind stronger by giving expression to it. They do not live as comfortably as normal people do. They live in poverty, yet their imagination shapes the realities of ordinary people. They give the push that is necessary for the society in order to get on the path of progress. Therefore, despite staying outside the ordinary world, they influence it considerably. Like the romantic poets, O’Shaughnessy has given the description of the romantic artist who could be seen as an escapist but it is he/she whose imagination has the power to shape the world. The artist’s imagination can inspire people to build the world’s greatest cities. Built Nineveh with our sighing, And Babel itself with our mirth; Not only that, the poet says that the artists can “conquer a crown” as well as “trample an empire down”. The artists’ dreams can alter the realities of mankind. It is they who create the myths, fantasies, stories and legends and also the songs and sculptures which not only inspire generations, but also become important landmarks of human civilizations. Though the artists do not participate directly in the upheavals and revolutions and nor do they lead any revolts, their thoughts often shape the outcome of such events. The poet warns against belittling the power of artists in the poem. They have the power to shake up things or move the realities to different planes. Therefore, they have been called the movers and shakers.
2. Can the poem ‘We are the Music Makers’ be classified as a traditional ode? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. An ode is a type of poem that exalts the subject matter and is serious in nature. The theme of an ode is never treated as trivial. According to this definition, the poem ‘We are the Music Makers’ is an ode. It very seriously deals with the subject matter that it takes up. O’Shaughnessy praises the creative people of the world – the artists, poets, musicians, etc. The poem marks a celebration of the power and impact of such creative people in our day to day lives. The poet concurs with the notion that poets and artists do not participate in the real world. They do not lead revolutions or battles and largely remain outside the action. This is because the creative people always look for beauty and harmony. Therefore, such people can be found in secluded places close to the nature such as beaches or river banks. O’Shaughnessy gives us a description of a romantic artist who appreciates the beauty of nature and prefers to stay away from the mundane humdrum of daily life. Like the Romantic poets, he speaks of the creativity of the artist as a divine ability. Like Coleridge, he believes that the artist embodies infinite possibilities. He does not believe that the fantasies and dreams of the artists are in vain. He sees that there is a greater purpose to them. In the poem he says that it is their imagination which inspires generations. They do not follow the norm and stand apart. He has given them the tag of ‘rebels’. The poem gives us a clear picture of the poet’s opinions and views. He talks about poets and artists very seriously. He has spoken about the abilities of the artists very seriously and therefore, it is only fitting to say that the poem can be called a traditional ode.
3. Comment on the theme of the poem ‘We are the Music Makers’
Ans. The main theme of the poem is the transformative power of art in all forms and the greatness of the artists. Written in the praise of all artists, ‘We are the Music Makers’ accentuates their role in the world. The social reforms that their works bring to the society make their presence vital for all human beings. The artists dreamand their dreams shape our reality, as they affect our minds and thoughts. An artist is someone who is more than a mortal – he is the creator of art. S/he creates music that soothes us, paintings that entice us, sculptures that move us, stories that amaze us. He has defended the artists and disagreed with the view that artists are escapists. The creations of artists subdue the harshness of reality and make one appreciate the beauty of life. They are creators in their own terms and their creations are eternal. The divinity that they create through their creations is supreme.Though the artists wander by the lone sea and oceans, they do so to find inspiration and not merely to escape. The artists play a powerful role of being the ‘movers and shakers’ who challenge the realms of society through their art. Their power surfaces when their art rebels against the norms set by society. Their work contrasts their escapist nature from the revolutionary one. He says the artists have inspired and beautified mankind with their eternal songs (creations).He believes that through their powerful creations or ‘deathless ditties’, the artists have inspired people to build ‘the world’s greatest cities’. They have adorned the empire’s glory with their fanciful, fabulous stories.
4. Comment on the form and structure of the song “We are the Music Makers”.
Ans. We are the Music Makers is an ode, written to praise and glorify the artists, who have the caliber to create eternal creations.The rhyme scheme followed in the poem is in an elevated style and tone. The first and the third stanzas follow the rhyme scheme: ab ababab.The second stanza follows the rhyme scheme: aa bb cd cd. In his poem, the poet has identified himself in collaboration with all other artists. Therefore, he has represented all artists in the ode through the opening lines ‘We are the Music Makers’. O’Shaughnessy has used a few literary devices in the poem: ‘movers and shakers’ – This is used for the creative artists who challenged the status quo and brought about required changes in the society. The poet has also used Allusions like ‘Nineveh’, which refers to the ancient, flourishing capital of the Assyrian Empire, founded by Nimrod. It saw a great fall as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. He also mentioned ‘Babel’ - an allusion to the Tower of Babel that represented unity of men towards building a tower tall enough to reach heaven. Apparently, God confounded their speech that resulted in confusion among the people and thereby they all were scattered. O’Shaughnessy has used Alliteration in the lyrics and repeated a few consonant sounds to create a flow in the poem: ‘We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, With wonderful deathless ditties. The use of imagery by the poet has created a lyrical emotion to the artists’ way of living and their existence: ‘Wandering by lone sea-breakers’ ‘And sitting by desolate streams.’ ‘the pale moon gleams’
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