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Ode to the West Wind

             Content Ode to the West Wind was conceived and chiefly written in a wood beside the Arno, near Florence. It is divided into two parts; the first one, consisting of the first three stanzas, deals with the effects of the wind on the land, the sky and the sea, through the different seasons, and Shelley addresses the wind personally as if it were a deity. The second part, on the contrary, consisting of the final two stanzas, deals with the poet's identification with the wind, the force and power of which he summons, both to give new energy to his work and for the political regeneration of Europe. Shelley, in fact, is concerned with the regeneration of himself poetically, spiritually and of Europe politically. The west wind is seen as the force necessary to effect this generation.
             As already pointed out, stanza 1 describes the effect of the wind on the land first in autumn and then in spring. In the former season the wind is presented as a destroyer of the previous season and its action is characterized by images of death. This function changes in spring when the wind is seen as a preserver, thus restoring the life that autumn had taken away from the land. The images change accordingly and words which evoke rebirth and life are introduced. Right from stanza 1 the wind is addressed directly, through the use of the second-person pronoun thou. This personification is further developed through the attribution to the wind of verbs denoting human faculties, like wakest, hear, etc.
             In stanza 2 the action of the wind shifts from the land to the sky, but the images the poet uses are still linked to the preceding ones. The clouds in fact are compared to leaves and boughs. These clouds are angels, in the sense of messengers, of the rain and lightning that will come at nightfall. Also in this case, however, the wind is presented in autumn and its function is a destructive one, because it deals with rain, hail and storm.

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