From the early 19th century, Percy Bysshe Shelley is recognized as one of the most influential writers of the Romantic Period whose work is characterized by his use of imagery and symbolism. Such examples can be found in his poems such as "Ode to the West Wind,"" "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,"" and "Ozymandias."" In Shelley's view, "the poet is a dreamer, a visionary- who uses these dreams and visions to "persuade men to shake off the chains of the past, of custom, of selfishness, and to press onward to the vital task of constructing a world characterized by kindness, generosity, and love- (Shairp, Shelly as a Lyric Poet 164) .
In "Ode to the West Wind," Shelley attempts 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 the last phase of vegetation but also as the last phase of life in the individual, the imagination, civilization and religion. 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 inspiration 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).