William Morris: The Importance Of The Arts

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This text is taken from a lecture that was given by William Morris about the importance of the arts. In this lecture he tries to convince his audience why the arts are beneficial and should be available to not only the wealthy but also ordinary people. He uses personification and imagery in order to make what he is saying more interesting, and also uses inclusive language to appeal to the whole audience.

The first paragraph begins with the personification of Science; “And Science - we have loved her well, and followed her diligently, what will she do?”. This initial sentence poses a question to the audience in which he is starting to make his first point that science can no longer benefit society. He follows this question by saying “I fear …show more content…

He says “I suppose that the practice of the arts must be mainly kept in the hands of a few highly cultivated men” which is foreshadowing the final argument he makes clear in his last sentence, that the arts should be available to everyone. But first he explains why he thinks the arts play an important role in people’s lives before explicitly stating that final point; “pleasure for the eyes and rest for the mind”. This demonstrates that Morris does not simply think the arts are aesthetically pleasing but he also believes that they can provide a break from everyday …show more content…

By this he means that ‘art’ does not want to be accessible only to a few “highly cultivated men” but instead also to ordinary people, like the people in the audience. By using words such as “cheerful freedom”, “open-heartedness” and “reality” in contrast with “sickens”, “selfishness” and “luxury” he creates the sense that the bad things happen because of the limitation of art and that the better things will come if only people learn to enjoy art. He then says that if art has a limit he “does not wish her to live” which is a strong exaggerated statement and was made to convince the audience of his argument. Morris relates “an honest artist” not sharing his work with “a rich man” who eats food in front of starving soldiers, this could also be interpreted as an exaggeration and might have been so by part of the audience, however the use of imagery would have added to his conviction. He ends his lecture on a powerful note, “I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few”, by using the repetition and relating art to education and freedom he heightens the importance of art in the eyes of the audience as a final technique to persuade

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