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In "Ode to the West Wind" give three examples of metaphors, and explain what each one...

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azjo | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 5, 2009 at 6:10 AM via web

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In "Ode to the West Wind" give three examples of metaphors, and explain what each one means.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 5, 2009 at 7:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Shelley's poem is incredibly complex and there is much happening within the poem to connect both his description of this storm and how the process of nature embodies both creation and destruction and governs all human beings.

A metaphor to describe this is in the second stanza,  where Shelley describes and compares the gathering of the storm clouds moving across the sky as being similar to the movement and focus of the Greek Maidens, Maenads, who were known for their wild and intense nature. 

Another metaphoric comparison employed in the poem is when Shelley compares the changing of seasons to winter to a "vast sepulchre" (tomb), indicating that there is a certain level of death that is to accompany changing of seasons. 

Finally, Shelley strikes a note of comparison between the objects that endure winter and his own hopes for poetic immortality.  Shelley compares his own state of unappreciation as "dead thoughts", hoping for them to "scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth," and believes that as the Earth undergoes a rebirth in Spring, Shelley compares his own hopes for fame and immortality:  "Be through my lips to unawakened earth."  Just as Spring follows Winter, and the creative forces subsume those of destruction, Shelley hopes that poetic glory will follow a period of under appreciation.

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