Critical Appreciation Of Ode To The West Wind

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Percy Bysshe Shelley was the epitome of a Romantic poet. He was emotional, inspired by nature, and blatantly honest with his feelings. When he wrote “Ode to the West Wind” in 1819, he was sitting near the Arno River in Florence, Italy where he was residing (Napierkowski and Ruby). His homeland, England, was experiencing political and social turmoil, which explains some of the emotion in his ode. However in this piece, he struggles to appeal to the West Wind in an attempt to portray the inevitable cyclical nature of everything and to present a struggle that is both internal and external. Shelley is able to do this by gracefully merging different structures and using an abundance of natural allegories.
Speaking in structural terms, “Ode to the West Wind,” is an intriguing poem. It is divided into five cantos, or “chapters,” each containing different elements, both literally and figuratively (Bloom, 60).
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These mythological beings were the servants of Dionysus, and were quite “fierce,” as Shelley states. By comparing the clouds to these beings, he incorporates an aspect of unmanageability. Throughput canto II, the reader may also pick up on a sense of impending doom, created by phrases like “locks of the approaching storm” and “black rain, and fire, and hail will burst.” This is perhaps when the reader is enlightened in regards to how Shelley feels about both his current position and Britain’s. It is possible that this sense of a coming storm is a reflection of the distress Shelley feels about his home country’s predicament during this time period. The ode was written shortly after Peterloo’s Massacre, an event in which 18 innocent civilians were killed while listening to anti-poverty and pro-democratic demonstrations
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