ISC Reverie ‘We are the Music Makers’ – theme of Transformative Power of Art


We are the Music Makers: Theme of Transformative Power

Question: what is the theme of the poem ‘We are the Music Makers’ ?

Answer : One of the main themes of the poem is the transformative power of art. The poet as a speaker gives the collective voice to all the creative artists, by saying them
“We are the music makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams,”

He wants to say that an artist is the one who is more than a mortal – a creator of art. He creates music which soothes us within our heart, paintings that put dreams in our eyes, sculpture that move us, stories that inspires us.
     The artists dreamed their dreams to shape our reality. ‘ We are the Music Makers’  establishes the role of artists in this world.

     O’ Shaughnessy depicts the vital and active role of the artist in shaping the world. Their art work has such a great impact on  our minds and thoughts that their work can bring the social reform to the society.

     Though these artists are considered as escapists by the society,
“Wandering by lone sea- breakers
And sitting by desolate streams”.

  But the poet, has defended the artists by saying that the artists wander by the isolated  sea shores and sit besides the calm streams but they do so to find inspiration to create bring revolution in society.

     Though their art does not directly cause any physical change, it acts as a catalyst to cause that change. Though the artists do not indulge themselves in any physical action, their immortal art still makes them ” movers and shakers”.

     Their art challenge the societal norms and their work contrasts their escapist nature from revolutionary one.
   “World losers and world – forsakers, 
     Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
    Yet we are the movers and shakers , 
    Of the world for ever, it seems.”

The poet praises the role of fantasy in creation and thus pushing forward the society.

   The artists can “build up the world’s great cities” through their everlasting work of art such as poems , songs and writings. Their art does not only help raise great empires but also tumble down these empires.

     Through their significant art work they can motivate any person to come forth and achieve whatever he wants.
  “And three with a new songs measure
   Can trample an empire down,”

       Art is a vehicle for social change. A song, a poem, or a novel can rouse people’s emotions and inspire them to rebel. If more people come together on any such new , novel idea ( new song’s measure). They can trample an empire down.

    The poet further reveals the transformative power of art and says that an artist through his art can create flourishing cities like Nineveh and at the same time they can also destroy them.

    The poet says that the artists are capable of overthrowing the old, existing stigmas by foretelling the new, better and worthy ones.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying,
To the old of the new world’s worth.

   Old or new each age is a result of dream of these artists. Thus overthrew the old one with the new dream. So their dream is capable of replacing themselves, to give birth to a new dream –  a dream of a new modern world.
 ” For each age is a dream that is dying,
   Or one that is coming to birth.”


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