How is "Ode to the West Wind" a revolutionary poem?

"Ode to the West Wind" is a revolutionary poem in expressing Shelley's longing to spread his radical ideas far and wide. He writes of wishing to "scatter ... sparks" that will lead to widespread change, and "to quicken a new birth" that will transform the world. He yearns to be "The trumpet of a prophesy" that will herald in a new "Spring," a metaphor for a better world.

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To answer this question, it best to turn to Shelley's beliefs. Though the son of a vastly wealthy family, Shelley's ideas were revolutionary for his time. He supported the ideals of the French Revolution, an event that filled most people of his class with fear and loathing. He aligned himself with radicals such as Thomas Paine, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, whose daughter he married. He and his Romantic cohorts, such as Lord Byron, happened to be wandering around in Switzerland and Italy because in the Napoleonic War period, England swung right and held radicals like Shelley, who advocated for republicanism, women's rights, and Irish independence—and thought the rich should be solely responsible for paying the national debt brought on by war—in deep suspicion as potential traitors.

Within this context, and knowing that some of Shelley's writing, such as A Philosophical View of Reform, was blackballed and never published while he was alive, we can better understand the...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1183 words.)

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