Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind is a masterpiece. It is the best among the poems of Shelley. Shelley’s genius is primarily lyrical. Ode to the West Wind is one of the most forceful odes in English poetry. Shelley is a great romantic poet.

In this Ode the poet addresses the spirit of the west wind and requests it to help him in spread in his fiery message of revolution. The West wind is wild and it is the very life of autumn. It is a destroyer as well as preserver. This ode is also linked with the symbolism the cycle of season. The poem begins with autumn and ends with a spring or the foretaste of spring. Wind is also the force of destruction and regeneration. The theme of death and birth, destruction and regeneration is doubly important to Shelley.

The death and birth theme are announced in the opening stanza. The wind drives away to dead leaves and conducts the seeds that are cold and dead to their grave. But the graves are also the cradles in which they are to be born in the spring. The second stanza pictures the wind in its terrible and storming aspects. The west wind is the funeral song of the dying year. The third stanza opens With an iridescent picture of the other west wind. The zaffers of the ancients, who produced flowers and fruits by the sweetness of his breath. The fourth and fifth stanzas are reflective and have personal application of the theme.

In the fourth stanza his own sense of oppression and constraint is related to the freedom of the wind and its strength.

The poet wishes if he were a dead leaf born by the west wind or swift cloud blown alone with it or a wave breathing and parting heavily under the influence and could share the impulse of its strength. In his wild freedom the poet would be the second top none other than the uncontrollable west wind. That moment the poet imagines that the power of the wind was his own, he feels timeless and swift but he has been crushed by the weight and burden of the world and he says, “O World! O Life! O Time, on whose last steps I climb.

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The poet wishes to be swift away by it like a dead leaf. The poet feels that the West wind has a power to destroy but it is not the final destructions. It has also the power of regeneration.

The last stanza is a prayer. The poet praise to the West wind to make its lyre and play to its tune. The poet feels as a force of birth and rebirth, the wind is one manifestation of the creative principle that runs through the whole university. The poet says “Make me the lyre, even as the forest is, what if my leaves are falling like its own. Shelley takes up the dead leaves image the opening lines and gives a new turn. Death is the only presence to renewed life. And the poem ends with the cycle of the season, “If winter comes can spring before behind.

Ode to the West Wind is a flawless and powerful Ode of Shelley. It is the epitome of Shelley’s poetic art. It is the best examples of the economy of phrase, the rigid exercise of self control and self criticism. What is more, it is remarkable for its vivid, imagery, striking, similes and metaphors. This ode is prophetic in character. It embodies Shelley’s optimism.



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