Ode To The West Wind: Blow My Mind

1015 words - 4 pages

Tone plays a most pivotal role in the conveyance of meaning in Percy Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”. While many other factors contribute to the meaning of the work as a whole and how the work is perceived, tone is the dominant device manipulated by Shelley to portray his anguish and internal sense of inferiority. However short his life may have been, Shelley was able to accomplish more in his thirty years than most people accomplish in a lifetime. He attended Oxford University, he rescues his first wife, Harriet, from the grip of her abusive father, and had a nice family with her (Marshall 729-741). Many things influenced his poetry such as ideas of revolution and a utopian society. He included many natural motifs from his childhood including water, trees, and grass to symbolize the simplistic power these things possess (Tomalin 1-30). Alongside his achievements are his shortcomings. Soon after he was admitted to Oxford he was expelled due to his openly atheistic views. In consequence, his family disowned him; however, he still maintained his idealistic and optimistic view towards life. Next he ran away from his wife with Mary Godwin. Leaving behind his suicidal wife and his young children, he married Mary and had a few children with her (Marshall 729-741). Pain and suffering accompanied Shelley during these years, but the fault is all his own. These self-inflicted tortures greatly affected his poetry, morphing his perspective into romantic understanding from his previous view of naïve hope (Tomalin 1-30).
Even as a man of brilliance, Shelley struggled greatly with inferiority complexes and a fear of the inability to express himself. Obviously he had nothing to fear, because his poems would not be cherished today if he were unable to express his thoughts (Bloom (1-22). His poem, “Ode to the West Wind” has a central theme of his inability to express his revolutionary ideas to the rest of the world in a comprehendible way. He begs for assistance and wishes that the mighty power of the “West Wind” could aid him with his troubles. The major irony about this work is that in writing about his, “inabilities” he was able to convey his great gift of poeticism and eloquence (Bloom 1-22).
“Ode to the West Wind” is a poem, broken up into five separate sonnets with a meter of iambic pentameter and a terza rima , or chain rhyme scheme. This rhyme scheme was used to symbolize the hope of progress, or the idea that no matter happens the world will always keep moving forward (TTM’s Guide). Also, the fact that, in the poem, Shelley is directly addressing the wind signifies the personal tie Shelley has to this poem. “O Wild West Wind … thou on whose stream … know thy voice…” is an example of how direct Shelley is towards the Wind. This symbolizes how desperate he is for the Wind’s help. He also ends the first three sonnets with the words “O hear!” which also contributes to the understanding of...

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