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Please explain in detail about the last two lines of "Ode to the West Wind".I want to...

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monisha | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 1, 2009 at 8:10 PM via web

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Please explain in detail about the last two lines of "Ode to the West Wind".

I want to speak on it in my colloege. so please tell in detail.

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

Posted July 1, 2009 at 9:03 PM (Answer #1)

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"The trumpet of a prophecy!  O, Wind/

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"

The closing lines of Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" highlights several themes of Romanticism as well.  One explanation behind the last two lines is that it speaks of hope and optimism.  Shelley seems to be saying that the wind carries with it the belief that something better lies ahead.  For example, if one feels the wind in winter, one knows that spring is nearby.  Shelley is saying that the movement of the wind and its freedom bring with it a spirit of limitless freedom.  There is a sense of unlimited potential with this wind, and the "trumpet" that sounds is the sound that indicates while things might be difficult or bad, there is something else that might lie ahead which can be hopeful and optimistic.

When you read these two lines, remember that the first line sets up the second line.  It is this closing line that becomes very powerful for Shelley.  Some say that he wrote these lines in the wake of the death of his son, while others say he wrote to expres his hopeful vision for political revolutions.  If we take both ideas at face value, we see that the explanation of meaning for both of these lines is one of hope and progress, the idea that change can happen despite what might be in front of us.  We can change what is to what can be when we know that "spring" cannot be far behind.

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ramlakshmi | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted November 25, 2009 at 12:54 AM (Answer #2)

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Taken together, these two lines seem to project a contradiction. On one hand, we come across Shelley's self-proclaimed 'prophecy' which can be perceived only by seers and prophets.On the other, the MESSAGE is a simple fact(that Spring follows Winter at close heels) which can be discerned  even by the lesser mortals.But, when viewed closer, there appears to be no contradiction.For, it is always the too obvious thing that escapes common observation and identification.Hence, it requires a prophet to provide a timely reminder about  the obvious fact.By imploring the West Wind to spread his message, the poet implies that he is thinking about the radical changes to reform an otherwise conservative society rather than about his own personal setbacks and the necessary self-assurance.         

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