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Life's Not A Breeze Essay

1874 words - 7 pages

It has been said that each and every one of us experience different seasons of life throughout our time here on Earth. One might experience times of deep despondency and a lack of faith, which stay true during the winter months, but then be rejuvenated by the promises of new life and beauty that the spring brings. The poem “Ode to the West Wind,” by Percy Shelley is an irrefutable representation of these seasons of life and what the speaker does in order to ensure that he is delivered from a desperate time. Shelley’s poem paints a melancholic picture of a man who has completely lost his way in life and in his time of utter hopelessness seeks guidance from the West Wind. The speaker acknowledges that the Wind is one of the most powerful forces of nature and he pleads with the Wind to just listen to his cries in hopes that others will be effected by what he is feeling and exclaiming. Shelley utilizes an anomalous structure and rhyme scheme, picturesque imagery, mythological, geographical, and biblical allusions, and many instances of figurative language throughout his poem in order to evoke precise emotions from the reader and elucidate the importance of understanding that tomorrow is a new day.
Shelley constructed his poem in a very unique way that is unrecognizable to most. “Ode to the West Wind” is a collection of five cantos which are the Italian poetry equivalent of chapters (Shmoop Editorial Team). These so-called “chapters” each contain fourteen lines of four-three line stanzas and a one-two line couplet signifying the end of the present canto. The rhythm throughout the poem is clearly iambic pentameter, which, along with the fourteen lines in each canto, resembles that of an English sonnet. There is a diversion, however, that distinguishes the English sonnet from “Ode to the West Wind,” the rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme of a Shakespearian sonnet is most commonly a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g, while the rhyme scheme of “Ode to the West Wind” is a-b-a-b-c-b-c-d-c-d-e-d-e-e. This unique choice of rhyme is called terza rima, which means “third rhyme” (Shmoop Editorial Team). Terza rima is an Italian novelty, first utilized by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem the Divine Comedy, in the early fourteenth-century (Cummings Guide Editorial Team). Terza rima literally means that the fourteen lines of the sonnet are broken up into groups of three and the middle rhyme of the first set becomes the first outside rhyme of the next set until it ends with lines thirteen and fourteen being a couplet of the previous set’s middle rhyme (Shmoop Editorial Team). Shelley seems to have added this hint of chaos when constructing his poem in accordance to the purpose of his writing “Ode to the West Wind.” The structure of fourteen lines and iambic pentameter meter is convincing evidence that this poem will resemble that of a common sonnet; Shelley diminishes those expectations, however, by installing a foreign type of rhyme scheme. Shelley could have been...

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