“Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poetry Review

PART I: THE TRUMPET OF PROPHECY

1. Wild west wind show alliteration
Autumn has been personified in the poem

2. Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere

3. a) Loose clouds like Earth’s decaying leaves are shed

b) Angels of rain and lightning
c) The image of the lightning has been used to link the preceding stanza as the next stanza talks about the approaching storm and the fierce Maenad

4. The word summer has been personified, as it is being referred to as be dreaming. The Mediterranean has also been personified in reference to sleep or where it is laying. The west wind wakes the peaceful Mediterranean Sea that has been asleep through the whole summer season and now brings the chasm by shaking the seaweeds and vegetation beneath by fear.

5. a) The West wind increases the velocity of the Mediterranean increasing the waves of the sea eventually sweeping the nearby Baiae’s bay
b) The overgrown azure moss and flowers
c) Atlantic ocean

6. The last two words of the poem are famous because they give hope for the future. They express the desire and need to see the future after undergoing any storm. After every storm, the sun is always likely to shine and things cool down. The two lines remind us about being hopeful always in life and being pessimistic also in life. The two lines are famous since they remind us that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and after every storm, the sun will always shine again. “The trumpet of prophecy, O wind; if winter comes can spring be far away”

7. Stanza 4 talks about the speed of the wind that can quickly carry a leaf and deposit it anywhere due to the little weight or mass of the leaf. Shelly compares himself to the leaf as he tries to relate to how helpless he is not being able to survive due to miseries. Shelly needs the west wind as his inspiration to carry him through the difficult times he is undergoing. In life, we sometimes wish to go back to our sweet memories and good times while we were young and we will always need someone to help us carry on.

8. The poet tries to show how the burden he is carrying has put him in chains and burdened him. The meaning is that the poet is burdened with a message that he wishes he can deliver but he cannot. The poet wishes that the wind can help him disseminate his message of philosophy and politics to his people. Shelly also believes that people who have fought for freedom have been imprisoned and their long wait to see freedom has made them burdened hence their desire to use the west wind to claim their freedom.

9. Leaves falling on its own meaning that summer season is over and Autumn has just set in

10.The simile in stanza 5 expresses the desire to drive away negative thought while encouraging new thoughts and determination.

11. The poet likens his words to ashes and sparks

Part II: SIGNIFICANCE AND MEANING

12. Shelly chose the theme intangible since the wind cannot be seen or touched but can only be felt. Shelly uses the wind as a symbol that can help him deliver his change to the nations. The untouchable wind consistently influences the vegetation of the land. For this reason, the vegetation of the sea sympathizes with the vegetation of the land. This is the reason why Shelly chooses the untouchable theme in his poem

13. a) “The west wind drives old leaves like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing”. The west wind destroys the last signs of the leaves by driving them away. “The winged seeds lying cold and low are blow by the West wind”. The west wind is also likened to a “wild spirit moving everywhere”. “Yellow pale black and pestilence colors of the earth are observed being blown the west wind”. The black and hectic red is likened to diseased ghosts trying to escape the spirits of the enchanter.
b) The west wind is a preserver as it makes the “winged seeds lie low and cold on the graves”. The seeds will grow in another season so the wind is a preserver by dispersing seeds. “The west wind drives sweet buds like flock to fill the air”. The west wind is a preserver as it ensures that the hills are filled with odors and hues. The west wind is a preserver since it can move everywhere hence leading to preservation everywhere.

14. Shelly decides to make a specific reference to the bay Baiae in Italy. He also mentions the sweeping of the nearby city of Italy by the wind as his inspiration for the composition of this poem. In his poem, he mentions the abandoned city that was mostly visited by dignitaries such as Napoleon for its glamorous breathtaking view and fresh breeze from the shore. “Fierce maenad” is mentioned as one of the inspirations for the writer to compose the poem. The mentioning of ‘Zenith’ is also an indication of the writer’s composition. ‘Sepulcher’ is a symbol for the dying year which gives the writer hope for a new beginning.

15. While the poet refers to the imagery of the first three stanzas, he asks the wind to carry him like a leaf or a cloud since while on earth he faces many troubles and problems that pricks him making him bleed. As per the moment, the poet is carrying a lot of burdens that have immobilized him in chains and bowed him but he is happy that the swift wind will help him disseminate the message of hope that he wishes to convey to his people in the world.

16. The poet wants the wind to help him express his political, philosophical and general educative views to the people so that there can be a rebirth or new awakening in the coming generation. The poet tries to express himself as too old and tired not able to deliver his thoughts and views but wishes that the wind can quickly help him do so. (Shelley). Shelly is talking about death and he knows that after death there is a rebirth that he is eagerly waiting for. He describes the falling leaves and seeds as a symbol of rebirth meaning that after the fall the leaves will decay but the seeds will germinate and grow after the storm symbolizing rebirth.

 

Works cited
Shelley, Mary. The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. London: Edward Moxon, 1839.

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