A Short Review of Sonnet-To-Science, a Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

“Sonnet–To Science, ” by Edgar Allen Poe, acts almost like a challenge to science and the values it upholds. The author challenges the reader to look beyond the surface level of reality and see the world for the wonderful place it is. While science would have one restricted by what is real, the world of fiction and poetry allows one to explore and find hidden meanings beyond the physical level. Poe is suggesting that imagination and fantasy are necessary to find meaning in life, and without it the world is limited to reality dull, meaningless existence.

The poem’s message immediately becomes apparent beginning with the title. The name “Sonnet-—To Science,” immediately begins the synecdoche, using science to represent the entire objective mindset that it encourages. By addressing it directly to science it also becomes clear that this will be a challenge.

The message is further revealed with the line about the vulture. “Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?”. This line suggests that reality is dull, and uses the vulture to once again represent a large concept of the entire world.

Poe uses this to show that only using science, the world is uninteresting and bland and is not a place in which poetry or creativity will thrive. A shift occurs in the fourth line, where Poe quickly transitions from the physical and literal into a more figurative interpretation of the world. The phrase “Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering To seek for treasure in the jeweled skies, ” is marking a clear change in the figurative interpretation.

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As Poe delves into this extended metaphor, one can clearly see a contrast from the drab language he used initially.

This serves to emphasize the theme of imagination trumping science. Humans require imagination to make sense of the world and escape from reality because, without it, there would be nothing to live for. This searching for treasure serves to illustrate this point and implies that one must find their own meaning in life. When looking at this from a scientific perspective, there really is no significant ”meaning” to life, so one must look beyond the science to find purpose, as Poe explains in the poem. The extended metaphor of the poem serves as a testament to the merit of figurative language and imagination, further arguing against the scientific worldview that was becoming more and more dominant in the world.

“Hast thou not tom the Naiad from her flood, The Elfin from the green grass, and from me” This is showing how science strove to push this poetry and art to the fringes, and even today this is apparent with the huge emphasis on STEM education. This is shown through metaphor, as the nature spirits are taken from their domains in favor of more rational explanations. Poe argues that there still is a place for this figurative speech and poetry in the world, and without it, life is dull and meaningless. As shown, Poe is challenging science and simultaneously showing the merits of poetry and imagination in the world. While modern, progress-oriented society would see this fantacy removed, Poe argues that it is a necessary part of the world. Without this fantastic view of the world, there is no meaning in life, and no reason to continue forward Poe suggests that the poetic mindset is necessary to find meaning and wonder in life.

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A Short Review of Sonnet-To-Science, a Poem by Edgar Allan Poe. (2023, Feb 23). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-short-review-of-sonnet-to-science-a-poem-by-edgar-allan-poe/

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