المساهمات : 156
نقاط التميز : 37
طالب بقسم : لغه انكليزيه
السنة الدراسية : 3
العمر : 28
الدولة : سوريا
البرج الصيني :
|موضوع: The Ode To The West Wind By Percy Bysshee Shelley 15/12/09, 12:27 am|| |
The Ode To The West Wind By Percy Bysshee Shelley
The Ode of Imagery The Ode to the West Wind, by Percy Bysshee Shelley, is a poem of spiritual power. The power is demonstrated through the use of visual, auditory, and kinetic (motion) imagery. The poem was written on a day that the “tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at once mild and animating, was collecting the vapors which pour down the autumns rains [Shelly’s notes].” The poem uses terza rima to portray a very rhythmic rhyming pattern. This pattern is used to describe five very distinct and different stanzas, which describe: autumn, rainstorms, the sea, man merging with the wind, and man being the sound of the wind. Shelley uses three types of imagery in each of these stanzas. His use of visual, auditory, and kinetic imagery is demonstrated in each of the five stanzas throughout Ode to the West Wind. In the first stanza of Shelley’s poem, Shelley describes autumn and the changing of colors. “Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes,” is a visual imagery of the leaves that change colors in the fall. “Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth,” is a strong auditory image of the wild west winds blowing in as autumn arrives. “Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere,” is kinetic imagery, which describes the energy, and the force that drives the spirited west wind. In stanza two Shelley talks of the effects that the west wind has on a rainstorm. “Angels of rain and lightning there are a spread On the blue surface of thine aery surge, Like the bright hair uplifted from the head,” is a very vivid and colorful use of visual imagery. These lines do a great job of imaginatively taking the reader to the front of the wind to see its power on a storm. “Black rain and fire and hail will burst: O hear,” is a great line used by Shelley to fuel the readers thoughts of how powerful the sound of the wind and storm are. “Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,” is a form of kinetic imagery that describes the motion of the wind and its power to shake down rain from the sky. In the third stanza, Shelley describes the spirit of the wind and its effects on the sea. “While far below The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear The sapless foliage of the ocean,” is a line used in this stanza that portrays colors of the sea. This is a form of visual imagery. “Know thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear, And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear,” is an example of auditory imagery describing the effect of the wind blowing mercilessly on the sea. “For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers Cleave themselves into chasms,” is a powerful use of kinetic imagery allowing the reader to imagine the tremendous strength of the wind and the force it has to produce huge, powerful waves that come crashing down with great force. In Shelley’s forth stanza he has a desire to merge, or become one with the west wind. He wants only for the west wind to have more power and freedom than himself. “If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear, If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee,” is a beautiful way that he uses visual imagery to describe himself as an object that could travel about with the west wind with all the freedom in the world. In “A wave to pant beneath thy power,” Shelley uses auditory imagery to make his readers hear the strength and feel that they are one with the wind. Shelley uses kinetic imagery in “Oh! Lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud! I fall upon the thorns of life!” This line describes how the poet wants to be physical lifted up to fly and become one with the powerful west wind. In the final stanza Shelley has the desire to be the harp of the wind. He wants to be the music and sound the wind makes as it blows through the trees. “What if my leaves are falling like its own,” is a line of visual imagery giving the reader a view of the forest and the beautiful leaves that fall in the Autumn. That line is followed by, “The tumult of thy mighty harmonies,” which allows the reader to imagine the sound of the wind as it blows through the trees, knocking the leaves off and their descent to the forest floor. “Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth Ashes and sparks,” is an example kinetic imagery used by Shelly to describe the awesome power that sweeps the wind through the sea of trees. Throughout all five stanzas, Shelley uses three types of imagery in Ode to the West Wind. He uses visual imagery, which is the thought portrayed by the vision of an object. He uses auditory imagery, which is the thought of something through a sound, and he uses kinetic imagery, which is a vision of something by motion, or a powerful force. The use of imagery in this poem creates a feeling that the poem is alive. By using the three types of imagery the wind is given such powers that it feels like the reader is a simple object in the path of such a great force-------
The speaker invokes the “wild West Wind” of autumn, which scatters the dead leaves and spreads seeds so that they may be nurtured by the spring, and asks that the wind, a “destroyer and preserver,” hear him. The speaker calls the wind the “dirge / Of the dying year,” and describes how it stirs up violent storms, and again implores it to hear him. The speaker says that the wind stirs the Mediterranean from “his summer dreams,” and cleaves the Atlantic into choppy chasms, making the “sapless foliage” of the ocean tremble, and asks for a third time that it hear him.
The speaker says that if he were a dead leaf that the wind could bear, or a cloud it could carry, or a wave it could push, or even if he were, as a boy, “the comrade” of the wind’s “wandering over heaven,” then he would never have needed to pray to the wind and invoke its powers. He pleads with the wind to lift him “as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!”—for though he is like the wind at heart, untamable and proud—he is now chained and bowed with the weight of his hours upon the earth.
The speaker asks the wind to “make me thy lyre,” to be his own Spirit, and to drive his thoughts across the universe, “like withered leaves, to quicken a new birth.” He asks the wind, by the incantation of this verse, to scatter his words among mankind, to be the “trumpet of a prophecy.” Speaking both in regard to the season and in regard to the effect upon mankind that he hopes his words to have, the speaker asks: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Each of the seven parts of “Ode to the West Wind” contains five stanzas—four three-line stanzas and a two-line couplet, all metered in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme in each part follows a pattern known as terza rima, the three-line rhyme scheme employed by Dante in his Divine Comedy. In the three-line terza rima stanza, the first and third lines rhyme, and the middle line does not; then the end sound of that middle line is employed as the rhyme for the first and third lines in the next stanza. The final couplet rhymes with the middle line of the last three-line stanza. Thus each of the seven parts of “Ode to the West Wind” follows this scheme: ABA BCB CDC DED EE.
The wispy, fluid terza rima of “Ode to the West Wind” finds Shelley taking a long thematic leap beyond the scope of “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” and incorporating his own art into his meditation on beauty and the natural world. Shelley invokes the wind magically, describing its power and its role as both “destroyer and preserver,” and asks the wind to sweep him out of his torpor “as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!” In the fifth section, the poet then takes a remarkable turn, transforming the wind into a metaphor for his own art, the expressive capacity that drives “dead thoughts” like “withered leaves” over the universe, to “quicken a new birth”—that is, to quicken the coming of the spring. Here the spring season is a metaphor for a “spring” of human consciousness, imagination, liberty, or morality—all the things Shelley hoped his art could help to bring about in the human mind. Shelley asks the wind to be his spirit, and in the same movement he makes it his metaphorical spirit, his poetic faculty, which will play him like a musical instrument, the way the wind strums the leaves of the trees. The thematic implication is significant: whereas the older generation of Romantic poets viewed nature as a source of truth and authentic experience, the younger generation largely viewed nature as a source of beauty and aesthetic experience. In this poem, Shelley explicitly links nature with art by finding powerful natural metaphors with which to express his ideas about the power, import, quality, and ultimate effect of aesthetic expressio
The Heroic, Visionary Role of the Poet
In Shelley’s poetry, the figure of the poet (and, to some extent, the figure of Shelley himself) is not simply a talented entertainer or even a perceptive moralist but a grand, tragic, prophetic hero. The poet has a deep, mystic appreciation for nature, as in the poem “To Wordsworth” (1816), and this intense connection with the natural world gives him access to profound cosmic truths, as in “Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude” (1816). He has the power—and the duty—to translate these truths, through the use of his imagination, into poetry, but only a kind of poetry that the public can understand. Thus, his poetry becomes a kind of prophecy, and through his words, a poet has the ability to change the world for the better and to bring about political, social, and spiritual change. Shelley’s poet is a near-divine savior, comparable to Prometheus, who stole divine fire and gave it to humans in Greek mythology, and to Christ. Like Prometheus and Christ, figures of the poets in Shelley’s work are often doomed to suffer: because their visionary power isolates them from other men, because they are misunderstood by critics, because they are persecuted by a tyrannical government, or because they are suffocated by conventional religion and middle-class values. In the end, however, the poet triumphs because his art is immortal, outlasting the tyranny of government, religion, and society and living on to inspire new generations.
The Power of Nature
Like many of the romantic poets, especially William Wordsworth, Shelley demonstrates a great reverence for the beauty of nature, and he feels closely connected to nature’s power. In his early poetry, Shelley shares the romantic interest in pantheism—the belief that God, or a divine, unifying spirit, runs through everything in the universe. He refers to this unifying natural force in many poems, describing it as the “spirit of beauty” in “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” and identifying it with Mont Blanc and the Arve River in “Mont Blanc.” This force is the cause of all human joy, faith, goodness, and pleasure, and it is also the source of poetic inspiration and divine truth. Shelley asserts several times that this force can influence people to change the world for the better. However, Shelley simultaneously recognizes that nature’s power is not wholly positive. Nature destroys as often as it inspires or creates, and it destroys cruelly and indiscriminately. For this reason, Shelley’s delight in nature is mitigated by an awareness of its dark side.
The Power of the Human Mind
Shelley uses nature as his primary source of poetic inspiration. In such poems as “The Mask of Anarchy Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester” (1819) and “Ode to the West Wind,” Shelley suggests that the natural world holds a sublime power over his imagination. This power seems to come from a stranger, more mystical place than simply his appreciation for nature’s beauty or grandeur. At the same time, although nature has creative power over Shelley because it provides inspiration, he feels that his imagination has creative power over nature. It is the imagination—or our ability to form sensory perceptions—that allows us to describe nature in different, original ways, which help to shape how nature appears and, therefore, how it exists. Thus, the power of the human mind becomes equal to the power of nature, and the experience of beauty in the natural world becomes a kind of collaboration between the perceiver and the perceived. Because Shelley cannot be sure that the sublime powers he senses in nature are only the result of his gifted imagination, he finds it difficult to attribute nature’s power to God: the human role in shaping nature damages Shelley’s ability to believe that nature’s beauty comes solely from a divine source.
Shelley sets many of his poems in autumn, including “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” and “Ode to the West Wind.” Fall is a time of beauty and death, and so it shows both the creative and destructive powers of nature, a favorite Shelley theme. As a time of change, autumn is a fitting backdrop for Shelley’s vision of political and social revolution. In “Ode to the West Wind,” autumn’s brilliant colors and violent winds emphasize the passionate, intense nature of the poet, while the decay and death inherent in the season suggest the sacrifice and martyrdom of the Christ-like poet.
Ghosts and Spirits
Shelley’s interest in the supernatural repeatedly appears in his work. The ghosts and spirits in his poems suggest the possibility of glimpsing a world beyond the one in which we live. In “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” the speaker searches for ghosts and explains that ghosts are one of the ways men have tried to interpret the world beyond. The speaker of “Mont Blanc” encounters ghosts and shadows of real natural objects in the cave of “Poesy.” Ghosts are inadequate in both poems: the speaker finds no ghosts in “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” and the ghosts of Poesy in “Mont Blanc” are not the real thing, a discovery that emphasizes the elusiveness and mystery of supernatural forces.
From his days at Oxford, Shelley felt deeply doubtful about organized religion, particularly Christianity. Yet, in his poetry, he often represents the poet as a Christ-like figure and thus sets the poet up as a secular replacement for Christ. Martyred by society and conventional values, the Christ figure is resurrected by the power of nature and his own imagination and spreads his prophetic visions over the earth. Shelley further separates his Christ figures from traditional Christian values in Adonais, in which he compares the same character to Christ, as well as Cain, whom the Bible portrays as the world’s first murderer. For Shelley, Christ and Cain are both outcasts and rebels, like romantic poets and like himself.
For Shelley, Mont Blanc—the highest peak in the Alps—represents the eternal power of nature. Mont Blanc has existed forever, and it will last forever, an idea he explores in “Mont Blanc.” The mountain fills the poet with inspiration, but its coldness and inaccessibility are terrifying. Ultimately, though, Shelley wonders if the mountain’s power might be meaningless, an invention of the more powerful human imagination.
The West Wind
Shelley uses the West Wind to symbolize the power of nature and of the imagination inspired by nature. Unlike Mont Blanc, however, the West Wind is active and dynamic in poems, such as “Ode to the West Wind.” While Mont Blanc is immobile, the West Wind is an agent for change. Even as it destroys, the wind encourages new life on earth and social progress among humanity.
The Statue of Ozymandias
In Shelley’s work, the statue of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II, or Ozymandias, symbolizes political tyranny. In “Ozymandias,” (1817) the statue is broken into pieces and stranded in an empty desert, which suggests that tyranny is temporary and also that no political leader, particularly an unjust one, can hope to have lasting power or real influence. The broken monument also represents the decay of civilization and culture: the statue is, after all, a human construction, a piece of art made by a creator, and now it—and its creator—have been destroyed, as all living things are eventually destroyed.
1. How does Shelley’s treatment of nature differ from that of the earlier Romantic poets? What connections does he make between nature and art, and how does he illustrate those connections?
Answer for Study Question 1 >>
Whereas older Romantic poets looked at nature as a realm of communion with pure existence and with a truth preceding human experience, the later Romantics looked at nature primarily as a realm of overwhelming beauty and aesthetic pleasure. While Wordsworth and Coleridge often write about nature in itself, Shelley tends to invoke nature as a sort of supreme metaphor for beauty, creativity, and expression. This means that most of Shelley’s poems about art rely on metaphors of nature as their means of expression: the West Wind in “Ode to the West Wind” becomes a symbol of the poetic faculty spreading Shelley’s words like leaves among mankind, and the skylark in “To a Skylark” becomes a symbol of the purest, most joyful, and most inspired creative impulse. The skylark is not a bird, it is a “poet hidden.”
2. How and why does Shelley believe poetry to be an instrument of moral good? What impact does this belief have on his poems, if any?
Answer for Study Question 2 >>
As Shelley explains in his essay A Defence of Poetry, he believes that poetry expands and nurtures the imagination, and that the imagination enables sympathy, and that sympathy, or an understanding of another human being’s situation, is the basis of moral behavior. His belief that poetry can contribute to the moral and social improvement of mankind impacts his poems in several ways. Shelley writes his poems in fulfillment of the responsibility to exercise the imagination and provide it with beauty and pleasure; thus his poems become whimsically imaginative in content and manner. The sense of this “responsibility” also adds urgency to Shelley’s poetic product, and makes the widespread reading of the poems a central and explicit goal: thus Shelley’s speaker makes declarations such as those in “Ode to the West Wind” and “To a Skylark”, expressing his desire that his words will spread amongst humanity.
3. Many of Shelley’s poems include a climactic moment, an instant when the poet’s feelings overwhelm him and overwhelm his poem. What are some of these moments? How do they relate to the poems as wholes? How are they typical of the poetic personality Shelley brings to his writing?
Answer for Study Question 3 >>
The most obvious example of such a climactic moment is the speaker’s collapse at the beginning of the third stanza of “The Indian Serenade”; one might also include the poet’s cry “I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!” in “Ode to the West Wind,” and “To a Skylark” as accounts of such moments sustained for an entire poem and distilled from all feelings of lesser intensity. These moments show both the power of the outside world to affect Shelley’s inner feelings, and the power of these feelings in and of themselves—Shelley responded very intensely to the world, and in his poems the world is a place to which one can respond only intensely.
4. Think about Shelley’s use of the sonnet form in “England in 1819” and “Ozymandias.” How does he shape the form to his own purposes? How does his use of the sonnet form break from the established traditions of the early 1800s?
5. Shelley was a political radical who never shied away from expressing his opinions about oppression and injustice—he was expelled from Oxford in 1811 for applying his radicalism to religion and arguing for the necessity of atheism. What do we learn about Shelley’s ideal vision of the human condition, as based on his political poems? With particular attention to “Ode to the West Wind,” how might a sense of his social hopes emerge from even a non-political poem?
6. In some ways Shelley is a creature of contradictions: he was an atheist who wrote hymns, a scandalous and controversial figure who argued for ethical behavior, an educated aristocrat who argued for the liberation of humankind, and a sensuous Romantic poet whose fondest hope was that his poems would exert a moral influence over the human imagination. How can one resolve these contradictions? (Are they even resolvable?) How do they manifest themselves in his poetry?
7. Shelley lived a fascinating and turbulent life among fascinating and turbulent people, from Lord Byron, the most famous, controversial, and popular poet of the era, to his wife Mary, the author of Frankenstein. How does a knowledge of Shelley’s biography (and early death) affect your appreciation of his poetry? Or does it affect it at all? Is it necessary to know about Shelley’s life and times in order to fully understand the poetry?
Analysis of Shelley's Ode To the West Wind
In "Ode to the West Wind," Percy Bysshe Shelley tries to gain
transcendence, for he shows that his thoughts, like the "winged seeds" (7) are
trapped. The West Wind acts as a driving force for change and rejuvenation in
the human and natural world. Shelley views winter not just as last phase of
vegetation but as the last phase of life in the individual, the imagination,
civilization and religion. Being set in Autumn, Shelley observes the changing
of the weather and its effects on the internal and external environment. By
examining this poem, the reader will see that Shelley can only reach his
sublime by having the wind carry his "dead thoughts" (63) which through an
apocalyptic destruction, will lead to a rejuvenation of the imagination, the
individual and the natural world.
Shelley begins his poem by addressing the "Wild West Wind" (1). He
quickly introduces the theme of death and compares the dead leaves to "ghosts"
(3). The imagery of "Pestilence-stricken multitudes" makes the reader aware
that Shelley is addressing more than a pile of leaves. His claustrophobic mood
becomes evident when he talks of the "wintry bed" (6) and "The winged seeds,
where they lie cold and low/ Each like a corpse within its grave, until/ Thine
azure sister of the Spring shall blow" (7-9). In the first line, Shelley use
the phrase "winged seeds" which presents images of flying and freedom. The
only problem is that they lay "cold and low" or unnourished or not elevated.
He likens this with a feeling of being trapped. The important word is "seeds"
for it shows that even in death, new life will grow out of the "grave." The
phrase "winged seeds" also brings images of religions, angels, and/or souls
that continue to create new life. Heavenly images are confirmed by his use of
the word "azure" which besides meaning sky blue, also is defined, in Webster's
Dictionary, as an "unclouded vault of heaven." The word "azure," coupled with
the word "Spring," helps show Shelley's view of rejuvenation. The word
"Spring" besides being a literary metaphor for rebirth also means to rise up. In
line 9, Shelley uses soft sounding phrases to communicate the blowing of the
wind. This tercet acts as an introduction and a foreshadow of what is to come
Shelley goes on to talk of the wind as a "Destroyer and Preserver" which
brings to mind religious overtones of different cultures such as Hinduism and
Native Indian beliefs. The poem now sees a shift of the clouds which warns of
an upcoming storm. This helps Shelley begin to work towards a final climax.
He then writes of the mourning song "Of the dying year, to which this closing
night/ Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre/ Vaulted with all they congregated
might" (23-25). Again, the reader feels somewhat claustrophobic. The "closing
night" feels as if it is surrounding the author as he writes and the reader as
he or she reads. The "closing night" is used also to mean the final night.
Shelley shows how he cannot have a transcendence even in an open sky for even
the sky is a "dome." The "sepulchre" is a tomb made out of rock and his
imagination and the natural world will be locked and "Vaulted" tight. But in
following lines Shelley writes how this "sepulchre" will "burst" (28). In that
sense, "Vaulted" takes on the meaning of a great leap and even a spring.
Shelley uses the phrase "congregated might" not just to mean a collaborative
effort, but to represent all types of religion. Shelley seems to use obtuse
phrasing to frighten the reader and to show the long breath of the wind.
Shelley wants the reader to visualize the "dome" as having a presence like a
volcano. And when the "dome" does "burst," it will act as a "Destroyer and
Preserver" and creator. The use of the words "Black rain and fire and hail..."
(28) also helps the reader prepare for the apocalyptic climax which Shelley
As the rising action continues, Shelley talks of the "Mediterranean"
(31) and its "summer dreams" (30). In the dream, the reader finds the sea
laying "Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay/ And saw in sleep old palaces and
towers/ Quivering within the wave's intenser day" (32-34). Shelley implants
the idea of a volcano with the word "pumice." The "old palaces and towers" stir
vivid images of ancient Rome and Greece in the readers mind. Shelley also uses
these images in the sea's dream to show that the natural world and the human
social and political world are parallel. Again, he uses soft sounding words,
but this time it is used to lull the reader into the same dream-like state of
the Mediterranean. The "pumice" shows destruction and creation for when the
volcano erupts it destroys. But it also creates more new land. The "pumice" is
probably Shelley's best example of rebirth and rejuvenation. The word
"Quivering" is not just used to describe the reflection of images in the water.
It is also used to show a sense of fear which seems to be the most common mood
and emotion in this poem. Is Shelley perhaps making a comment that at the root
of people's faith is fear of vengeful god? Maybe, but the main focus of this
poem is not just religion, but what religion stands for which is death and
rebirth. Could line 34, also be a comment on Shelley himself?
In the final stanzas, Shelley has the wind transforming from the natural
world toward human suffering. Shelley pleads with the wind: "Oh! lift me as a
wave, a leaf, a cloud!" (54). He seeks transcendence from the wind and says:
"I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed" (55). Shelley shows Christ not as a
religion, but as a hero of sacrifice and suffering, like the poet himself. He
again pleads for the wind: "Drive my dead thought over the universe...to
quicken a new birth!" (63-64). He asks the wind to "Scatter, as from an
unextinguished hearth/ Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!/ Be through
my lips to unawakened Earth" (66-68). The words "unextinguished hearth"
represent the poets undying passion. The "hearth" is also at the centre of the
earth which helps make the connection between humanity and nature. Both are
constantly trying to reinvent themselves. When one scatters "ashes" it's at
one's death and that person becomes one with the earth. When one scatters
"sparks" it is these sparks that create new fires of creation and destruction.
These new "sparks" arise when the "dome" explodes and abandons old ways. Can
one ever escape the roots of creation? Shelley has many Blakean overtones of
creation and destruction in the final tercet of this poem. Shelley's says that
his lips are the "trumpet of prophecy" (69). And many say that Wordsworth is
egotistical? Again, he uses biblical sounding words to add drama and importance
to his prophetic vision. And it definitely helps achieve Shelley's intended
climax when he asks with hope: "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
(70).This sentence could be rewritten substituting the word death, for the word
"Winter," and the word rebirth, could take the place of "spring."
Shelley, like all of the Romantic poets, constantly tries to achieve a
transcendence to sublime. In "Ode to the West Wind," Shelley uses the wind as
a power of change that flow through history, civilization, religions and human
life itself. Does the wind help Shelley achieve his transcendence? It seems
it has in some sense, but Shelley never achieves his full sublime. In poems
such as "Stanzas written in Dejection Near Naples" Shelley uses images of
"lightning" (15) and "flashing" (16) which help demonstrate that he can only
attain a partial sublime unlike a poet like William Wordsworth. Perhaps that's
why he tries to give rebirth to his individual imagination. One can never
restart totally new. Even the trees that will grow from "the winged seeds" are
not totally new, but that is the point Shelley is trying to make. He feels
himself to be part of a continuing cycle. Since Shelley is an atheist the only
way his soul can live on is through the "incantation" of his words. So, if his
transcendence is to live on in eternity and create inspiration and change in
others like the West Wind, then he has achieved something greater than he could
have imagined. But whether he grasped a complete transcendence for himself
while he was alive remains to be answered. It seems that it is only in his
death that the "Wild Spirit" (13) could be lifted "as a wave, a leaf, a cloud"
to blow free in the "Wild West Wind"