Ode to the West Wind, First Stanza Analysis

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In Shelley's poem "Ode to the West Wind" His call of revolution and change is very strong. He portrays the deterioration of humanity and he invokes individuals to wake up. He also hopes for a millennial future, of a major transformation to the better. The poet believes that the society declined to its "grave". He describes the people as dead leaves. He uses the colors of dead flesh to describe the leaves "Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red". He also describes the society as "ghosts…fleeing" from their unjust government. He also describes them as "wingèd seeds" which are very weak and fragile and are lying in their graves like corpses. Shelley, in this poem, is calling the West Wind "Destroyer and preserver". It destroys the old leaves and preserves the new seeds (of hope of a better life) by preserving (planting) them underground. He sees hope in the upcoming "azure ... spring" that will bring everything back to life. The prophesy of a better future is clear when he awaits the spring to blow the "clarion" and to bring everything back to life which is a Biblical image of resurrection. He describes the earth as dreaming and the dead leaves and seeds turn into buds. The Mediterranean in Shelley's poem symbolizes regeneration and the cycle of life. He describes the wind disturbing the calm peaceful water. He believes that the upcoming revival so powerful that it will even shake the plants under the sea.

The poet believes that he would have helped his society better if he were as impulsive and uncontrollable as he was in his boyhood. He would have been the wind's companion in its travels over the skies and its strength over the oceans. He wishes to be a dead leaf, a cloud or even a wave to accompany the wind in its travels and share its strength. Shelley appeals to the West Wind to be part of it for he confesses to be too weak to reform the society by himself. He is weakened by all the hardship he has been through in his life. He has suffered from the...
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