Ode to the West Wind Summary Questions Answers

Summary of Ode to the West Wind

Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the most revolutionary poets of the Romantic Revival. Ode to the West Wind was written near Florence in 1819. According to Shelley's note, "this poem was conceived and chiefly written in a wood that skirts the Arno, near Florence, and on a day when that tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at once mild and animating, was collecting the vapours which pour down the autumnal rains". Shelley chose the West Wind as it seemed to him to be symbolic of a revolutionary force that would bring about change in the world order.

Shelley addresses the west wind as the very breath of autumn. The west wind drives away the withered leaves. So it is the destroyer of the dead leaves. It also acts as a preserver as it scatters the seeds underground where they lie buried all the winter. These seeds shoot forth into lively plants in spring and fill the plains with fragrant and colourful flowers.

The west wind is like a rushing, impetuous power. The leaf-like clouds are shaken on the current of west wind. These clouds are like the locks of stormy wind, as wild as those on the head of Maenad, a female worshipper of the Greek God of wine Bacchus. Thick vapours that congregate in the sky on a stormy night look like the vault of the tomb for dead year, while the west wind seems to sing the dirge of the dying year.

The poet also describes the influence of the west wind on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Mediterranean Sea sees in Dream the palaces of ancient Rome. It also makes a passage through the Atlantic and the trees at the bottom tremble and shed their leaves in fear of the mighty impact of the west wind.

The poet wants to share the impetuous strength and energy of the west wind as he has suffered greatly from the sorrows and sufferings of life. The burden of life's misery has crushed his impetuous spirit and energy.

Lastly, the poet implores the west wind to make him its lyre so that his prophetic ideas now lying dead in his mind may spread over the whole world for a better and regenerate world.

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Manoj Mondal

Manoj Mondal

Educator and Blogger

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