Ode to the West Wind

LIFE: (1792/1822)
A Romantic poet of the SECOND GENERATION.

1.He was born into a rich, conservative family;
2.He studied at Oxford;
3.He met William Godwin, a radical philosopher;
4.He fell in love with the daughter of Godwin, Mary but he was married with Harriet that killed herself;
5.He died in Italy, during a sea trip;
6.He is a poet of the second generation of Romantic poets (his themes are Nature, Beauty, Love, Freedom seen as metaphysical concepts)

POETRY = Something divine, because it presents the record of the best and happiest moments of the best minds. The poet has a great social commitment, he has to favour a social general progress by awakening human souls.
POET = A prophet, a man that can see things that the other men can't; with his words he announces a change, a renewal. Shelley still believes in equality, freedom, brotherhood, the ideals of the French Revolution.

WINTER = industrial revolution
SPRING = freedom

Testo a cura di Giordana Sassi (a.sc.: 2000/2001)



. An ode is a celebration, in this case of a natural element.
This ode is made up of 5 very complex sonnets with 5 stanzas, each of them with 4 tercets and a final couplet. Each stanza is written in "Dante's Terza rima".
-The first three sonnets are the invocation to the wind: they start with an invocation to the wind and they finish with "O hear":

1.The action of the wind on the earth; the wind is called destroyer and preserver; the images are the decaying leaves.
2.The action of the wind in the air; the wind is compared to a Dirge (a funeral song) and the image is that of the clouds shaken (like decaying leaves) from the boughs of Heaven and Ocean.
3.The action of the wind at sea; there is no exact definition, but he is seen as a powerful strength; the images are:
A - The Mediterranean sea (quiet, peaceful);
B - The Ocean (violent, the plants there change their colour because of the cold);

-The last two sonnets are a prayer:
1.Individual prayer, linked with the first three parts; there is the explanation of his personal situation, his own sorrow and grief, he is suffering (he falls "upon the thorns of life" and he bleeds). Childhood (freedom and illusion) vs Adult age (period of pain).
2.Social prayer; there is a social commitment, the poet's aim is to make a prophecy of regeneration and the Nature (wind) becomes a means that helps him to make his duty.

Testo a cura di Giordana Sassi (a.sc.: 2000/2001)

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