Please explain how "Ode to the West Wind" shows Shelley's use of the intangible and ethereal as subject matter.
Shelley often chose as a subject matter of his poetry the intangible and ethereal. Describe in at least four sentences how, in the central symbol of the poem and in many of the symbols, "Ode to the West Wind" illustrates this fact.
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Shelley is reflecting on the circle of life in "Ode to the West Wind." He is contemplating the way in which all changes are related to each other, all connected and interdependent, whether one is thinking of objects in the natural world or of the lives of humans.
He begins by considering the "winged seeds" blown by the "wild West Wind" to the landing places where
they lie cold and low, Each like a corpse within its grave, until Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow.
He goes on to speak of how the earth, the sky, the Mediterranean Sea are renewed and remade with the changes of time and the powers driven by "all thy congregated might."
He considers how much more his poetry, his "leaves," could have been shared with the larger world if he had been able to unite with the West Wind and be blown "over the universe Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!" He wishes that the wind would "scatter...my words among mankind!"
The poem ends with the hopeful affirmation that Spring and new life follows the Winter death being blown in by the West Wind of Autumn. The cycle is not something that can be held or stopped or seen, but it is very real and continues on, carrying all with it.
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