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"Ode to the West Wind" Essay

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The wind is one of the most powerful forces known to man. It can do things that man has been envious of and also terrified of throughout the centuries. It is no wonder why Shelley decided to write a poem of praise in its name. Shelley writes this poem with the speaker being a poet himself frustrated that he can not tell the world the things that he feels the world needs to know. Throughout the poem he continually is describing what the wind can do and what he wishes the wind could do for him. It may be better to describe Shelley before I try to interpret the poem. Shelley was an intelligent man who studied at Oxford before being kicked out for refusing to admit authorship of The Necessity of Atheism. He continued to write and express…show more content…
Shelley was bringing “…his two countries closer together with the structure of a poem.”(Shmoop Editorial Team) It could also be argued that Shelley was using the terza rima to emulate Dante since he was one the great writers of that time. Although these are very plausible thoughts on what this structure could mean, we still may never know what exactly was meant by it. After a first read of the poem many literary techniques that Shelley used to catch the eye of the reader. The imagery that is used in this poem is matched by no other poem that I have read, using scenes of “yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red” (Shelley 4) leaves and of the “crystàlline streams” (Shelley 31) to give a clear mental picture of exactly what Shelley wants to portray. Metaphors are also a huge contributing factor to his ability to be able to describe what exactly he wants to describe. Throughout the poem he refers to his thoughts being leaves that are dead and withered and that he wishes the west wind could take these leaves of his and disperse them like it does the literal leaves of the fall. Along with the imagery and metaphors he also uses allusions to Greek mythology describe how the wind is powerful enough to move the clouds “Like the bright hair uplifted from the head/ Of some fierce Mænad” (Shelley 20-21). His word choice throughout the poem is mainly to credit for the way that his message is portrayed. The poem is
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