From Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind," choose three metaphors, giving their meaning and line number.

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Michael Otis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Ode to the West Wind" Shelley addresses (and personifies) the tempestuous wind of his Tuscan holiday as a force that would carry his words to the four corners of the earth. The poem is replete with metaphors. Here are three of them:

In the first stanza the poet addresses the west wind as if a living being who in the Autumn drives the dead leaves "like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing." At line 7 the poet compares "winged seeds" to flying creatures which repose in the earth, corpselike, until Spring reawakens them.

In the final stanza of the poem - entirely the poet's fervent plea to the wind to bear his lifegiving and liberating words across the universe - at line 57 he compares himself to a lyre, a stringed instrument played like the forest by the powerful wind. 

Finally, at lines 68-69 the poet compares his voice to the trumpet of prophecy "to unawaken'd earth." In other words, he wants the wind to be the chief agent in disseminating his words to an oppressed humanity.  Through these metaphors, and others not discussed, Shelley reveals the inner meaning of the west wind: It is a mighty current of the Spirit blowing where it wills to bring rebirth to the longings of humanity -  "O Wind,/If winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"    



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Ode to the West Wind

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