Midas (Shelley)

Midas (Shelley)

Midas is a verse drama in blank verse by the Romantic writers Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mary wrote the drama and Percy contributed two lyric poems to it. Written in 1820 while the Shelleys were living in Italy, Mary Shelley tried unsuccessfully to have the play published by children's magazines in England in the 1830s; however, it was not published until A. Koszul's 1922 scholarly edition. Whether or not the drama was ever meant to be staged is a point of debate among scholars. The play combines the stories of the musical contest between Apollo and Pan and that of King Midas and his ability to turn everything he touches to gold.

Largely concerned with gender issues, Midas comments on the definitions of femininity and masculinity in the early nineteenth century and the developing ideology of separate spheres which encouraged women to restrict themselves to domestic affairs and men to political affairs. Part of the Romantic interest in rewriting classical myths, Midas focuses on challenging patriarchy and satirizing the unbounded accumulation of wealth.

The genre of Midas bears the marks of gender debates, as well, with Percy writing in the traditionally male-dominated form of the lyric and Mary focusing on the details of everyday life in her verse drama. Since the play's first publication in 1922, critics have paid more attention to Percy Shelley's lyrics than Mary Shelley's drama. However, in the last fifteen years or so, this trend has reversed itself as scholars explore works of Mary Shelley other than Frankenstein (1818).

Read more about Midas (Shelley):  Background, Writing and Publication, Plot Summary, Genre, Style and Themes, Reception, See Also

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Midas (Shelley) - See Also
... Children's literature portal List of works by Mary Shelley. ...