ISC English We are the Music Makers :conceptualisation of Artists and their Art


We are the Music Makers  

Question : How does  O’ Shaughnessy’s  “We are the Music Makers” conceptualise artists and their art ? Discuss.

Answer:  O’Shaughnessy’s  “We are the Music Makers” is a tribute to artists, poets, musicians and writers – all the artists ofd various forms who have fashioned the world through their art.

      Through his poem O’ Shaughnessy has depicted the artists as an integral part of the society, rejecting the famous idea of aestheticism that emphasised on pure  beauty and “art for art’s sake”. But the poet establishes the idea of art for life’s sake.

       The poem emphasised the active role of the artists in social, political and even religious matter.

       The poem opens up with depicting the active participation of artists and their art in shaping the world.

       The poet speaks through the collective voice” we ” of all the musicians, poets, painters etc and call them as – “music makers” and  “dreamers of dreams”.

      Here he symbolically use ” music makers ” for all artist and in other way –  “music makers” means – the creator of the revolutionary ideas and “dreamers of dreams” means –  the one who put the dreams of utopian world into your eyes.

       According to the poet these artists wander “by lone sea breakers”and they sit by “desolate streams” and they choose to remain aloof from the society. But they do so for the sake of their art, to get new  ideas, imagination and fantasy for their creation.

  “World loser and world  forsakers,
 Upon whom the pale moon gleam.”

 But they often regarded as – escapist – “loser” and “forsakers”  by the society and even madman.

      Here the phrase – “pale moon gleam” refers the ancient idea of considering moon’s effect on mental condition of man. These artists are even considered  “Lunatic” or insane by the world.

    “Yet we are the movers and shakers”.

         The poet emphasise their role in shaping the world as their art and ideas inspire the society. Though art doesn’t directly cause any physical change, it acts as a catalyst to cause that change.  Though the artist do not indulge themselves in any physical action, their immortal art still makes them ” movers and shakers “.

       In the next part of the poem, the poet emphasises on the timelessness of art  and the power of any art work.

     A poet or a musician can “build up the world’s great cities” in his wonderful everlasting songs. Similarly a writer’s story can fabulously give shape to an empire and its glory.

“We fashion an empires glory”
       The art work can not be completely destroyed the fantasy that comes to an artists mind can shape up things he builds, it is their art that mark the glory of a civilisation.

       The actual cities which provide the subject for the songs have been ruined long ago but their glory and fame is still alive by their everlasting creations.

      The poet depicts the subversive nature of art by stating that a man with a dream or ambition and adequate  opportunity (pleasure) at hand can give that dream a concrete structure. He is the one who will move forward to “conquer a crown “.
         Here “crown” refers to an extraordinary achievements.

“And three with a new songs measure 
Can trample an empire down”.

        The poet says – if more (three) people come together on any new, novel idea (new song’s measure) ,they can trample an empire down. The artists can bring more change in people’s mind than anyone else. Hence a song writer can  give a man the freedom to bring about a revolution.

       The poet further depicts the historical role of the artist and divinity of their creations.
      The poet says that the artists belong to all ages. Thousands of years ago, the ancient cities of Nineveh and Babel were built by the varying moods of the artists.
    The poet believes that in  ancient times that now lie hidden in the history of the earth, when the artists were distressed they  built a ‘Nineveh’ and  when they were filled with joy they rose up a ‘Babel’.
Nineveh and Babel are the symbols of human rise and subsequent fall. They reflect the artists’ power to create and destroy the same piece of art.

” And o’erthrew them with prophesying 
To the old of the new world’s worth”.

  The utopia of the old world is then deconstructed by “prophesying”
   the new world’s worth. It is only an artist – a musician, a painters, a poet, a writer, who can create something to destroy it for better and worthy future.
       The old and new each age is result of dream of these artists. Thus overthrew the old one with new dream, so their dream is capable of replacing themselves , to give birth to a new dream – a dream of a new modern world.

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