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Ode To The West Wind

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Length: 413 words (1.2 double-spaced pages)
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" Ode to the West Wind" was written by Percy Bysshe Shelley shortly before his death in 1822. Shelley spent the majority of his life in England where he was born to an upper class family. He attended Eton for his primary education and Oxford University until he was expelled for the publication of The Necessity of Atheism. Shortly after being expelled, Shelley married a commoner named Harriet Westbrook , which upset his family because of his wife’s low social standing. The marriage was short lived and Shelley quickly fell in love with Mary Godwin. Shelley continued writing throughout his life and his most notable works include "Ozamandias", "Laon and Cythna", and "Rosalind and Helen". Mary Shelley, Shelley’s wife who was also involved in literature, wrote Frankenstein. In 1822 Shelley drowned in a boating accident in the Gulf of Spieza. Shelly is mainly noted as the most passionate of the Romantic writers and for his usage of experimental styles in poetry.

"Ode to the West Wind" was written by Shelley on a day when the weather was unpredictable and windy, the poem reflects the mood of the weather and expresses Shelley’s desire for creativeness and intellect. The first section of the poem focuses on the description of the colorful autumn leaves being stirred by the wind. The line " Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere; Destroyer and preserver.." shows the relationship between Shelley’s desire to create and nature’s force. The second section of the poem tells about the clouds in the sky that are forewarning " the locks of the approaching storm". The fierce storm clouds represent Shelley’s frustration in his lack of original ideas. The third section relates the winds effect on the waves in the sea, which Shelley describes as ".. Grey with fear and tremble and despoil themselves…".

In the fourth section of the poem Shelley shows his desire to be the autumn leaves, tempest clouds, and turbulent waves so that he to can be effected by the wind and nature the way the objects are. The fifth section presents the resolution to Shelley’s desire to be effected by the wind by Shelley letting go of his self-control and allowing himself to be an instrument of the wind. He shows this by saying, " Make me thy Lyre". Shelley views his newfound relationship with the wind as being a rebirth of creativity and intellect and ultimately gains the gifts he set out to find from being open to the west wind.

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