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Ode to the West Wind_Shelley
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Ode to the West Wind_Shelley


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Lecture notes ppt for the Ode by Percy B. Shelley.

Lecture notes ppt for the Ode by Percy B. Shelley.

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  • 1. Structure of the poemODE TO THE WEST WIND
    Ode - a “rhymed lyric”
    - in the form of an address
    - dignified in subject, feeling and style
    - elaborately structured poem
    - musicality (repetition,alliteration; rhetorical device)
    - divided into five stanzas
    - each is sonnet, made up of 14 lines
    - all stanzas have same rhyme scheme :
    aba bcb cdc ded ee
  • 2. The poet
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
    - highly imaginative
    - intellectually active -
    - strong presence in his works
    The Cenci (poetic drama)
    Ode to Liberty
    To a Skylark Ozymandias
  • 3. Shelley’s Idealism in the west wind
    Poet - a revolutionary in nature,
    • Shelley was dissatisfied with the existing order
    • 4. Rebelled against political tyranny, orthodox religion war - made the life of mankind unhappy and miserable
    • 5. Shelley sought to liberate mankind from the shackles of political, religious, and intellectual slavery:
    (clear in “Ode to the West Wind)
    • Shelley believed in the perfectibility of human nature Ode to the West Wind - shape and expression of this ideal
  • The poem
    “Ode to the West Wind”
    conceives a world as seen in a forest at the edge of wild, boisterous waters
    the stormy West wind was collecting the vapors of the Autumnal rains
    The poet imagines an ideal dialogue with the Natural elements: The wind (personification)
  • 6. Summary
    activities of the WW on the land are described.
    The WW drives the dead leaves of various colours – yellow, black, pale and red-
    scatters the winged seeds far and wide
    buries leaves and seeds under the earth - like dead bodies in their graves, until spring
    Then they sprout and bear flowers to fill the valley with sweet fragrance
    The WW depicted as
    destroyer(of dead leaves)
    preserver(of seeds buried under ground)
  • 7. Stanza-2:
    west wind active in the air
    carries loose clouds as the dead leaves
    clouds floating with the WW are messengers of rain and lightning (symbolism – quench,regeneration,activity,turbulence from whence new life comes forth)
    the approaching storm – civil awareness
    The stanza also describes WW as the harbinger of the end - song of the dying year, a new era preannounced
    stanza illustrates the abstract qualities of Shelley’s poetry.
  • 8. Stanza-3:
    WW in action on water
    awakens the blue Mediterranean from a long torpor/sleep – inaction as in a dream - of ruined palaces and towers (now submerged in water), once they stood majestically on its shores.
    On those ruins – marine vegetation, moss and plants with flowers now growing
    The WW blows over the Atlantic in such a fury(rebelling spirit)
    rising waves give way to the mighty “Wind” so the vegetation on the bottom of the ocean trembles with fear and is uprooted
  • 9. Stanza-4:
    After describing the effects of WW on the earth, sky and sea,
    the poet turns to himself and identifies his own personality(role) with that of the West Wind
    recalling his swift, energetic, and uncontrollable childhood (innocence to perceive more profoundly the state of matters as they truly are)
    the poet feels like the WW and could accompany it on its wandering over the sky
  • 10. Stanza-4:
    4. But adversities of life have crushed him (defeat of intent)
    5. He is bleeding on the thorns of life
    (Christ figure of salvation/sacrifice for the new order/beliefs)
    6. Poet needs inspiration from WW for support
    7. Powerless and helpless, he desperately appeals to WW to uplift him
    (elevation to a new perceptive consciousness which he will share with the world)
  • 11. Stanza-5:
    The poet appeals to WW to make him his acolyte - a lyre and blow/sing through him like it blows on the forest
    Like the forest, he sees the autumn of our era
    He entreats WW to become one with him and to scatter his thoughts over the world to be the harbinger of new period in human history
    The present miserable condition must give place to a happier and brighter new order
    The last line of the poem is a clear expression of Shelley's idealism - belief in the perfectibility of human nature.
    • Destroyer
    • 13. Preserver
    • 14. Agent of Change
    • 15. Wild, uncontrollable, swift and tameless
    • 16. Musician
    • 17. Harbinger (herald) of the Golden Age of mankind
    The poem has several symbolic layers of meaning-
    The west wind is symbolic of destruction (of the old order) and preservation (of new one).Thus a symbol of change/renewal.
    dead leaves and seeds – all material things are subject to change – as is the hope for a new world order
    The west wind also embodies the poet himself.
    West wind a symbol of the powerful influence and forces that will announce the new order of mankind.
  • 18. Similes and Metaphors
    STANZA - I
    Breath of autumn’s being
    the winged seeds
    destroyer and preserver
    Like ghost from enchanter
    each like corpse
    Angels of rains and lightning
    some fierce Maenad
    dome of a vast sepulture
    clouds like earth’s decaying leaves
    like the bright hair uplifted
  • 19. STANZA - III
    the coil of his crystalline streams
    Atlantic level powers
    Like ghost from enchanter
    each like corpse
    thorns of life
    The comrade of thy wandering
    STANZA - V
    the trumpet of prophecy
    as from an unextinguished hearth ashes and sparks.