What does spring symbolize in "Ode to the West Wind"?

In "Ode to the West Wind," spring symbolizes rebirth and is associated with "living hues" and "sweet buds."

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In discussing what spring symbolizes in "Ode to the West Wind ," it might help to first examine things in the poem which are associated with the West Wind. The speaker calls this force "wild" and points to the way it makes "dead" leaves disappear in autumn. The West...

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In discussing what spring symbolizes in "Ode to the West Wind," it might help to first examine things in the poem which are associated with the West Wind. The speaker calls this force "wild" and points to the way it makes "dead" leaves disappear in autumn. The West Wind is associated with colors such as "black" and "hectic red" as it transports seeds to the "graves" below the earth. The West Wind, therefore, is symbolic of death and burial.

In the third stanza, the speaker contrasts this imagery to that of an "azure ... Spring." Blue connotes feelings of peace, imagination, and freedom. When spring arrives, the earth is filled with "living hues" which contrast autumn's colors of death, and "sweet buds" cover the earth once more.

Before the colors of spring can emerge with new vibrancy, those seeds must first die a winter's death, and that process is initiated by the winds of autumn. While they rest underneath the surface of the earth, their dormancy prepares them for a rebirth at the beginning of spring.

Spring therefore symbolizes new beginnings and a new order. It demonstrates that life is possible after bitter losses and that the winds of destruction are sometimes needed for a total restoration. The beauty of spring is only possible because of the "Wild Spirit" of the West Wind, and the speaker thus begs to be like a "wither'd" leaf in order to hasten his own "new birth."

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