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Western Civ 2 Lesson 90: Answering 3 topic questions for this essay

1. What was the basic message of the utopian socialists?

A reaction to the prevailing economic system which prioritised private interests at the expense of the working class, Utopian socialism indicates the belief that society can and must voluntarily transition away from capitalism into a society run by co-operation and harmony.

2. What were the characteristics of neoclassicism? Give one example of neoclassicism and show how it embodies at least one of these characteristics.

Neoclassicism is the revival of a classical style or treatment in art, literature, or music. Some of the characteristics of neoclassicism are: the symmetrical details in buildings and artwork, unemotional telling of events, simplicity of things like; line, form, and color. Also some other examples of the characteristics of neoclassicism are: the balance of straight/geometric shapes. Neoclassic people had a non-fantastical view of the surrounding world and events, and were more inclined to science, mathematics, and natural laws, rather than emotions.

A great example that shows some of the characteristics of neoclassicism can be found in this painting made by Jacques- Louis David, called, ‘Oath of the Horatii’.

Oath of the Horatii

The meaning behind this painting is that the three brothers (to the left) express their loyalty and solidarity with Rome before battle, wholly supported by their father (in the middle). The women (to the right) grieve within the painting as the two families are united by marriage. One of the women is a daughter of the Curatii while the other, Camilla, is engaged to one of the Curatii brothers. At the end of the legend, the sole surviving Horatii brother kills Camilla, who condemned his murder of her beloved, accusing Camilla of putting her sentiment above her duty to Rome.

So how does this painting show characteristics of neoclassicism, you may ask. This painting provides an idealized story which illustrates the nobility of putting civic duty before personal preference. Also, if you haven’t noticed that the painting shows symmetrical detail, everything in there is simple, yet has that dramatic flare to it. Straight lines and geometrical details are shown to represent the neoclassicism period in time.

3. What were the characteristics of Romanticism? Give one example of Romanticism and show how it embodies at least one of these characteristics.

*a little side note: Romanticism is probably my favorite out of our discussion of the ‘cisms*

Some of the characteristics of Romanticism: interest in the common man and childhood, strong senses of emotions, and feelings, the aweness of nature, celebration of an individual, and the importance of imagination.

For example, a litterature work called, “Frankenstein” written by Mary Shelly is one of the great works during the Romanticism period. Many of you might think, ‘oh ye I know Frankenstein, it’s that ugly looking, green, mute monster so- what’s special about him that makes it a great example of a Romanticism characteristic?’ Well that may be true if you’re talking about a more modernized version of this character.

In Mary’s story, however, Frankenstein is simply an intelligent being, who has been observing this one particular family from a distance, watches their daily lifestyle, the kinds of emotions they share with other people and wishes to get to know them on a closer level without being rejected of how he looks. This Frankenstein wants to make an emotional connection with them and hopes that the townspeople will see through his hideous look and connect with him. As the Frankenstein attempts to get closer, as you can imagine- the interaction didn’t go so well. I believe I’ve spoiled some bit of the story (just like my instructor Tom Woods), but if you’re interested, here’s the link to the book:

This story is a great example of the emotions expressed in the book and was a big hit especially during the Romanticism period in history.

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