Analysis of Percy Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”

             In 'Ode to the West Wind,' Percy Bysshe Shelley tries to show his desire for transcendence, by explaining that his thoughts and ideas, like the 'winged seeds' are trapped. The West Wind acts as a force for change and forward movement in the human and natural world.
             Shelley sees winter not just as the last season of vegetation but as the last phase of life. Shelley observes the changing of the weather from autumn to winter and its effects on the environment. Shelley is trying to show that a man’s ideas can spread and live on beyond his lifetime by having the wind carry his 'dead thoughts' which through destruction, will lead to a rebirth in the imagination, and in the natural world. Shelley begins his poem by addressing the 'Wild West Wind'. He then introduces the theme of death and compares the dead leaves to 'ghosts'. The imagery of 'Pestilence-stricken multitudes' makes the reader aware that Shelley is addressing more than a pile of leaves. His claustrophobic mood is shown when he talks about the 'wintry bed' and 'The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low/ Each like a corpse within its grave, until/ Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow'. In the first line, Shelley used the phrase 'winged seeds' which presents images of flying and freedom. The problem is that they lay 'cold and low' or uncared for. He compares this with a feeling of being trapped. The important word is 'seeds' because it shows that even in death; new life will grow out of the 'grave.' The phrase 'winged seeds' also brings images of religion, like angels. Heavenly images are depicted by his use of the word 'azure' which besides being a sky-blue color, is also defined, as an 'unclouded vault of heaven.' The word 'azure,' coupled with the word 'Spring,' helps show Shelley's view of rejuvenation. The word 'Spring' besides being a literary metaphor for rebirth also means to rise up. In line 9, Shelley uses soft sounding phrases to communicate th...

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Analysis of Percy Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:36, January 19, 2017, from