Identify the structural and linguistic devices that contribute to making the poem  "Ode to the West Wind" effective and artistic.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Structurally, "Ode to the West Wind" has five stanzas in terza rima sonnet, which comprises fourteen lines of four triplets and an ending couplet of two lines. The rhyme scheme for the fourteen lines of each terza rima sonnet is ABA BCB CDC DED FF. It is an interlocking rhyme scheme because the second rhyme of each triplet carries over as the first and third rhyme of the next triplet, until the couplet, which has its own repeated FF rhyme. Shelly thus establishes a strong rhythmic sense with a particular focus on the couplet as it is set apart by its own rhyme scheme.

Shelly uses the trope of personification throughout "Ode to the West Wind." [A trope is a non-literal (figurative) figure of speech meant to create meaning different from the literal meaning of the words used. One of the four classic tropes is metaphor and personification is a category of ontological metaphor that relates human traits to inanimate objects.] In various manners, Shelly speaks of the West Wind as though it had personal, animate, traits, as though it were a sensate person; e.g., "Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams  / The blue Mediterranean..." (lines 29, 30). The imagery Shelly creates within the personification discourses are leaves, clouds and ocean.

[For more detailed informatioin, see "Ode to the West Wind" (Materplots II: Poetry, Revised Edition) and Daniel Chandler's discourse Rhetical Tropes, Prifysgol Aberystwyth University, UK.

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Ode to the West Wind

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