The poem “Ode to the West Wind” by PB Shelley is a “highly thought provoking poem” (Rajasekharuni.) that makes the readers think about what makes life pleasant and unpleasant. The speaker in the poem tells that the answer lies “in the attitude of the liver” (Rajasekharuni). As humans, we find the cycle of seasons as natural but complain when we have to endure good and bad times. We do not see the course of the natural world in the same way as we see changes such as revolutions and war. Figuratively, the poet indicates attitudes of people who get depressed when they go through hardships, but little do they know that happiness is better enjoyed after having felt the sadness. Happiness is only a relative experience. PB Shelley treats the poem as an autobiographical note. His life was filled with difficulties but every time he fell, he sprung with rejuvenated spirits. The poem allegorizes the role of the poet as the voice of change and revolution. Shelley realizes that he cannot in actual life, rise to the height of imaginative perfection, which was his wish.
Shelley does not wish to allow the reader to forget about the atmosphere of the previous stanzas so he continues to use the images of the “the wave, a leaf, [and] a cloud” (l. 48) that existed with the “wind” to now exist with the speaker. Shelley sees himself as one with the “wind”. He knows he cannot do this because it is impossible for someone to disregard all they have learned and enter a new world of innocence. It is noticeable that stanza four sounds like a confession or prayer of the poet. It seems very impersonal as it does not address God. This version of Shelley understands his “closedness in life” (MacEachen.) and the way...
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... the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle; and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unknowledged legislators of the world” (MacEachen.).
MacEachen, Dougald B. “CliffsNotes on Shelley's Poems.” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2013. Print.
Wikipedia. “Ode to the West Wind.” Wikipedia.org. 2014. N.pag. 13 April 2014.
Wroe, Ann. “Part III: The wind.” “Being Shelley: The Poet’s Search for Himself.” London. Jonathan Cape. 2007. Pages 275-279. Print.
Rajasekharuni, Padma. “What is the central idea of 'ode to west wind'?” Answers. 2014. 13 April 2014.
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