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Ode To The West Wind Percy Shelley English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1094 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This work reflects how the younger generation of Romantic poets who 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 articulate his ideas about the power, import, quality, and ultimate effect of aesthetic expression. The flowing stanzas of “Ode to the West Wind” find Shelley embarking on a long thematic journey and incorporating his own art into his meditation on beauty and the natural world. Shelley invokes the wind magically, describing its power and role as both “destroyer and preserver,” and asks the wind to sweep him out of his torpor state of mind. In the fifth section, the poet ‘s role shifts. transforming the wind into a metaphor for his own art 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 ideologies Shelley hoped his art would stimulate in the human mind. Shelley asks the wind to be his metaphorical spirit, a poetic talent, which will play him like a musical instrument, the way the wind strums the leaves of the trees.

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This poem has different literary devices that help to illustrate the poet’s feelings effectively for the reader. It contains a rhyming scheme that helps with fluidity of the words over an ode/bard tale. It contains personification of the wind spirit in relation to the metaphoric spirit of the poet. It also has a first person point of view in which the poet is directly writing about himself within the ode. It makes use of apostrophes throughout the entire piece and describes detailed imagery as well. All of these devices help illustrate a creative and effective way that the emotions can be revealed to the reader with ease.

The Daffodils  By: William Wordsworth

This poem revisits the familiar subjects of nature and memory with a musical eloquence. The plot depicts the poet’s wandering and his discovery of a field of daffodils by a lake, the memory of which pleases and comforts him when he is lonely, bored, or restless. The speaker is metaphorically compared to a natural object, a cloud and the daffodils are frequently personified as human beings. This technique implies an inherent unity between man and nature, making it an effective method for instilling the feeling the poet so often describes himself as experiencing in the reader. It illustrates mankind’s identify is found through nature.

The poem contains many literary devices that also help to illustrate the poet’s feelings towards the found unity between man and nature. Some of which are used by the poet are: rhyme scheme, first person point of view, personification, mood, imagery, and diction. All of these help create a poem that flows smoothly and read with a harmonious rhythm. This helps to capture the harmonious essence of nature within the art.

Another subject that romantics express is the need for a radical reformation of humankind and its social and political world. This followed the enthusiasm for the Revolution and its high excitement of a religious awakening through the Hebrew/Christian apocalyptic scriptures promised restored paradise through a short retributive, cleansing period – the Enlightenment. However, the romantics believed this universal peace could be achieved through the quiet revolution of the moral and imaginative nature of the human race rather than a violent political insurrection. The opposition to Industrialization was also expressed in their poems and the dehumanizing factors that it brought to the cities. The romantics often express how the beauty of nature was becoming eclipsed by the urban society and that man can only find his true identity through nature.

Medievalism & Exoticism

The Romantic movement brought back aspects of history that were relatively insignificant to earlier society. They focused on their newly acquired material on the taboo beliefs and radical medieval era actions to produce romantic poetry. At that time, superstitions and supernatural existence were acknowledged. These poems re kindled an interest in the mystic and unearthly realms; producing the Gothic poetry and writings. Writers began integrating many mythological creatures into their poems for regenerating interest in the lost era.

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At the same time, the industrial age promoted movement with the newly invented steam powered engine that allowed explorers to discover new, exotic lands and build new colonies throughout the world. With these new possibilities, writers often set their stories in far-off lands, and poets would vividly describe a scene of a distance place to illustrate to those who could not go themselves. Although these descriptions were intense, they did not substituted for seeing the lands personally and therefore often inspired people to seek ways to travel for the experience.

Nature poetry in the Romantic Age portrayed many significant aspects of the human mind; through symbolically representing the poet’s emotions and thoughts with spiritual, natural, or supernatural themes. Nature was not viewed as a backdrop to the newly urban changing society, but rather as a separate world. The poets treated this fantastical world in awe and described it as precisely as previous bards had. Nature represented the truest form of divinity, untouched by the corruption of the growing industrial menace that was reshaping humanity. The romantics also believed that God was ubiquitous being and encompassed all life rather than being separate from humanity. This particular thinking was opposed by the Neo-Classicists of the period, who examined science as the logic behind the complex world and the enlightened puritans that deemed it as a form of heresy.

The Neo-Classicists associated more with urban values as Europe’s cities represented man’s great achievements in art and the taming of nature. The Romantic era in contrast, focused more on the importance and beauty of the natural country side that was being overshadowed by urban development as well as the ability it contained to help man find his true identity. Nature Poetry also took on the aspect of meditation for the poets. They could reflect on their emotions and the events of the surrounding environment that contributed to their stress. Nature poetry is considered an outlet for poets through this method.


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